Catherine Bertini

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Distinguished Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture

An accomplished leader in international organization reform and a powerful advocate for women and girls, Catherine Bertini has a distinguished career improving the efficiency and operations of organizations serving poor and hungry people in the United States and around the world. She has highlighted and supported the roles of women and girls in influencing change. She was named the 2003 World Food Prize Laureate for her transformational leadership at the World Food Programme (WFP), which she led for ten years, and for the positive impact she had on the lives of women.

More recently, she co-chaired a successful effort to impact American policy supporting poor farmers in the developing world. As a United Nations Under Secretary General, she interacted with all UN agencies and their leadership through a variety of UN bodies in humanitarian, development, nutrition, security and management roles, and led UN humanitarian missions to the Horn of Africa and to Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel. With her World Food Prize, she created the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education to support programs to increase opportunities for girls and women to attend school.

She served as a senior fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation early in its new agricultural development program, on the jury for the Hilton Foundation Humanitarian Prize, and as a Rockefeller Foundation fellow.

Bertini is now the chair of the board of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). Concurrently, she is Distinguished Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She has been named a Champion of the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit. She is a professor emeritus at Syracuse University. She is an affiliated expert at the Lugar Center, a patron of Gender in Agricultural Partnership (GAP), a senior non-resident advisor to the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), an honorary advisor to the Global Child Nutrition Foundation, an advisory board member of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at the Bush School of Public Service at Texas A&M University, and a member of the Leadership Council of Compact 2025 of the International Food Policy Research Institute and of the ACIES End Hunger Sustainably Program advisory board.

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