The head of the Nobel Prize-winning UN World Food Program resigns

ROME – The executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, which won the Nobel Peace Prize two years ago, says he will step down at the end of a six-year tenure at the helm of the world’s largest humanitarian organisation.

David Beasley, a Republican, served one term as South Carolina’s governor from 1995 to 1999. In a statement Saturday, Beasley said he would step down from his role at the end of his tenure in April 2023.

“Serving in this capacity has been the greatest joy and heartache of my life,” said Beasley. “Thanks to the generosity of governments and individuals, we have fed so many millions. But the reality is that we have not been able to feed them all – and the tragedy of extreme hunger in an affluent world continues.”

Beasley was appointed to the UN post by then-US President Donald Trump in 2017 and recommended for the post by Nikki Haley, another former South Carolina governor. Haley also served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump administration. Beasley succeeded Ertharin Cousin, an American attorney and former US Ambassador.

The World Food Program received the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for fighting hunger and trying to end its use as a “weapon of war and conflict” at a time when the coronavirus pandemic threatened to worsen hunger.

In March 2022, Beasley’s term was extended for another year under the Biden administration. In September, he said when he began his role in 2017, only 80 million people around the world were starving. But climate issues, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine pushed that number up to 135 million.

The Rome-based World Food Program was established in 1961 at the behest of US President Dwight Eisenhower and has provided assistance during several crises, including the 1984 famine in Ethiopia, the 2004 Asian tsunami and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Beasley said the process to select his successor has already begun. The head of the Nobel Prize-winning UN World Food Program resigns


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