A woman who’s Undersecretary General of the United Nations has won the 2003 World Food Prize. The prize was established in 1986 by Iowa businessman John Ruan as a sort of Nobel prize for food and agriculture. Catherine Bertini receives a quarter-of-a-million dollars for being named this year’s World Food Prize laureate. Bertini is credited with transforming the U-N’s World Food Programme into a humanitarian relief organization. She was with the organization for a decade, oversaw a staff of eight-thousand, and helped distribute food to over 700 MILLION starving people in over 100 countries during those 10 years. Former President George Bush — a member of the World Food Prize Council of Advisors — says Bertini worked “logistics miracles” when she helped distribute food during an African drought and during a severe winter in Afghanistan in 2001. Going against the Taliban, she made sure the food was distributed to and through Afghani women. U-N Secretary General Kofi Annan says Bertini has become a “household name among the leaders and the needy” in the Horn of Africa. Bertini grew up in New York, worked in the U-S-D-A during the Reagan Administration, and once ran an unsuccessful campaign for an Illinois congressional seat. She became the U-N’s Undersecretary of Management in January of this year. Bertini is scheduled to be in Des Moines in October for the 2003 World Food Prize symposium.
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