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Order: 12th Executive Director of the World Food Programme

Country: the United Nations World Food Programme

Term Start: April 5, 2012

Predecessor: Josette Sheeran (2007–2012)

Order 2: 9th

Ambassador From 2: United States

Country 2: the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture

Term Start 2: August 17, 2009

Term End 2: April 5, 2012

Predecessor 2: Gaddi Vasquez

Successor 2: David J. Lane (ambassador)

President 2: Barack Obama

Birth Date: 1957

Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois

Party: Democratic Party (United States)

Profession: Government , Charity executive

Ertharin Cousin (born 1957) is, since 2012, the twelfth Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme.
From 2009 to 2012, Ertharin Cousin served under President Barack Obama as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, serving in Rome, Italy, and chief of the United States Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome. Before that, she worked in a variety of public and private sector positions, first as a Democratic Party official, later specializing in the food industry and related charities from the late 1990s on. As of August 2012, Cousin was ranked #69 on the Forbes Magazine's List of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women.
Cousin grew up in the poor Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois along with her three sisters. Her mother, Anne Cousin, worked in the social services field and her father often engaged in volunteer community development work.
She earned a B.A. degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1979 and a J.D. degree from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1982. At the latter, she studied international law under former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk.
Cousin worked in Illinois as Assistant Attorney General and Western Regionals Office Director for the Illinois Attorney Generala??s office and as Deputy Director of the Chicago Ethics Board. In the private sector she was Director of Governmental Affairs for AT&T.
She is divorced and has one child.
Cousin moved to Washington, D.C., and during 1993 worked as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Democratic National Committee. She joined the Clinton administration in 1994 as the White House Liaison at the U.S. State Department. There she received a Meritorious Service Award. She served as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
In 1996 she stepped down from that post in order to run the Illinois operation of the Clintona??Gore presidential campaign. After the campaign's victory, she

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Ertharin Cousin Latest News

Ertharin Cousin

As a young girl growing up in a lower-income neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago, Ertharin Cousin understood from an early age the importance of a family’s ability to put food on the table. That innate conscience and connection with the plight of ...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 10:34 am

Creation of agribusinesses and 'agripreneurs' key topics at AGRF

“Farmers will do better when they know how to do better,” former World Food Programme Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, said during a session. Low-skilled agricultural labor is unattractive to most over the long term, so training must be tailored to ...
Posted: September 7, 2017, 8:00 am

Hunger Drives Refugees Back To Syria

Facing hunger, Syrian refugees in Jordan are forced to return to Syria to find food. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the World Food Programme. RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: We have heard a lot about the scarce resources in ...
Posted: October 18, 2015, 1:41 am

Meet Ertharin Cousin: the woman who feeds the world

Ertharin Cousin often wakes up at night, haunted by things she’s seen. It’s part of her job, as the executive director of the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP), to travel to some of the poorest countries in the world, and one particular ...
Posted: March 30, 2014, 8:39 pm

Ertharin Cousin: Forever learning is part of leadership

UN World Food Program executive director, Ertharin Cousin talks to Poppy Harlow about using skills she has acquired throughout her life to help others.
Posted: March 25, 2015, 6:29 am
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