Audio interview with Ertharin Cousin

Feeding the hungry.

Ertharin Cousin has been called one of the world’s most powerful women, and rightly so. For five years, she was Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, the largest humanitarian agency in the world solving hunger. During her tenure, Ertharin oversaw a 15,000 person global staff who provided food to people in need in more than 70 countries. Her mission today remains the same: solving hunger in her lifetime. Ertharin is now a Lecturer at Stanford University and a Distinguished Fellow at the Center on Food Security and the Environment, as well as the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. 

Ertharin spoke with Anne-Marie Slaughter about resilience as it pertains to the intersection between hunger and society, and what she thinks governments around the world, the private sector and everyday citizens need to do to combat the effects of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable communities. It’s an inspiring conversation that will leave you wanting to step up and do your part to help make the world better.

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Ertharin Cousin

Ertharin Cousin is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Georgia Law School, and the University of Chicago Executive Management Finance for Non-Financial Executives program.

Cousin has more than thirty years of national and international non-profit, government, and corporate leadership experience focusing on hunger, food and resilience strategies.

She is currently a Distinguished Fellow, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and Visiting Scholar, Stanford University, Center on Food Security and Environment. Cousin co-chaired the CCGA 2019 publication, “From Scarcity to Security: Managing Water for a Nutritious Food Future.”

During her recent tenure at Stanford University, she initiated and led a research project exploring a theory of change for reducing malnutrition in poor and underserved communities through investment in market-based innovation solutions including agtech and foodtech. Her research led to the creation of the non-profit Food Systems Future. Cousin functions as the CEO and President.

In 2009, she was nominated and confirmed as the US Ambassador to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome. From 2012-2017 Cousin led the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), guiding it in meeting urgent food needs while championing longer-term solutions to food insecurity and hunger. Prior to that, Cousin helped lead the U.S. domestic fight to end hunger while serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of America’s Second Harvest—now Feeding America.

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