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Bertini joins new Global Humanitarian Forum
Bertini joins new Global Humanitarian ForumNovember 06, 2007Jill Leonhardtjlleonha@maxwell.syr.edu
Catherine Bertini, professor of public administration in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, has been named a founding board member of the new Global Humanitarian Forum launched Oct. 17 by former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan. In an announcement made in Geneva, Switzerland, where the organization will be based, Annan said the forum will focus on coordinating world efforts on climate change and its humanitarian consequences.
Bertini’s experience as a leader in humanitarian relief and nutrition policy made her a logical selection for this board, made up of leaders from all sectors and disciplines. Bertini was the driving force behind reform of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), where she served as the executive director for 10 years. She currently works as a senior fellow with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program team, researching agricultural development in Africa.
According to Bertini, humanitarian crises such as that in Sudan’s Darfur region are largely rooted in drought and food shortages resulting from changes in weather patterns. This link between climate change and international humanitarian issues affecting the poor and most vulnerable will be the primary focus of the Global Humanitarian Forum.
The organization’s overarching mission will be to foster dialogue and partnerships that strengthen the international community’s ability to address current and future humanitarian challenges. To accomplish its goals, the organization hopes to promote collaboration among individuals across all sectors and economic levels. “We are all in the same boat, and we all need to come together to resolve it,” Annan says. “One cannot be secure at the expense of the other. We need a two-pronged approach, and they must move ahead concurrently — mitigation, that is curbing greenhouse gases, and adaptation -making sure vulnerable communities are protected.”
Bertini, the 2003 World Food Prize laureate, is joined by 20 others on this prestigious board, including Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and Rajendra Pachauri, who heads the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The first annual meeting will be held in June 2008.