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  • Former U.N. Official to Speak Feb. 13

Former U.N. Official to Speak Feb. 13

 Former U.N. Official to Speak Feb. 13


Catherine Bertini, considered by many to be the driving force behind reform of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) as its chief executive from 1992 to 2002, will speak Thursday, Feb. 13, at SUNY Cortland.

Bertini, a professor of public administration at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs since 2005, will discuss “An International Career with the United Nations” at 4:30 p.m. in Moffett Center, Room 2125.

Presented by the College’s International Studies Program and the Clark Center for International Education, the lecture is free and open to the public.

Bertini, considered a leader in public sector management, international organizations, humanitarian relief, agricultural development, gender programming and nutrition policy, will discuss options for those considering a career in international affairs or in global organizations such as the World Food Programme. 

A Cortland native, Bertini’s career spans public service at international, national, state and local levels and includes university teaching and leadership roles in private and non-profit sectors.

Currently she is senior fellow and co-chair of the Global Agricultural Development Initiative of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

During Bertini’s U.N. tenure, the WFP’s institutional changes in the area of efficiency, effectiveness and accountability were cited as a model of U.N. reform by the 36-government WFP Executive Board and the U.S. government. In 2001, more than 8,000 WFP staff members provided food aid to 77 million people in 82 countries.

For two years, she was senior fellow for agricultural development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. There, she advised on the development of the foundation’s new agricultural portfolio, which strives to improve the well-being of poor farmers in Africa and South Asia.

A graduate of the University at Albany, Bertini was honored by the State University of New York with a 1999 honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at SUNY Cortland’s undergraduate Commencement ceremony. She was chosen as the 2003 World Food Prize Laureate and received the 2007 Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Nutrition.

A founding board member of the Global Humanitarian Forum, she serves on the boards of International Food and Agricultural Development and the Stuart Family Foundation. She has been a juror for the Hilton Foundation Humanitarian Prize, a member of the Advisory Council at Rockefeller College on Public Affairs and Policy, and a member of the Advisory Council at William Jefferson Clinton School of Public Service.

For more information, contact International Studies Program coordinator and Clark Center Director Alexandru Balas at 607-753-4823.