For Immediate Release

Office of Press Relations

Statement by Administrator Samantha Power

I offer my sincere congratulations to Ambassador Cindy McCain on her appointment by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Qu Dongyu as the new Executive Director of the World Food Program. Ambassador McCain began her current role as the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Agencies for Food and Agriculture just weeks before Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, triggering one of the largest food crises in recent memory. Ambassador McCain has worked tirelessly to ensure humanitarian aid reaches countries on the brink of famine, dissuade nations from exacerbating the crisis with export bans, and oversee the largest American contribution to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Agencies in our nation’s history. 

This work is only the latest chapter in Ambassador McCain’s lifetime of service – fighting for the rights and recognition of military families, working to end human trafficking, and supporting efforts to remove landmines from former combat zones in hundreds of countries. As the world’s largest contributor to the World Food Program since its inception in 1961, the United States is thrilled to have Ambassador McCain leading the agency.

I would also like to thank the indefatigable David Beasley for his profoundly impactful service. Executive Director Beasley significantly expanded and deepened the World Food Program’s work over his six years leading the organization, rallying the world to increase support for efforts to combat hunger and foster peace in conflict zones. It was under his leadership that the WFP team was fittingly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the tremendous work they do every day to offer relief and comfort to the world’s most vulnerable people. It is hard to overstate the difference that David Beasley has made, or the countless lives he has touched or saved.

Food and fertilizer prices remain inordinately high as Putin’s war in Ukraine rages and the climate crisis intensifies – drying out fields in the Horn of Africa and flooding them in southeast Asia. This has further strapped those already the most food insecure, cutting them off from basic nutritious food and causing them to slip toward severe hunger or even starvation. 

We are confident that Ambassador McCain’s deep experience in a range of domains will help her and her team lead the fight against world hunger. She will spearhead a relationship between the United States and the WFP that has accomplished what many thought was impossible – from averting famine in Somalia in the previous decade to feeding millions during the COVID-19 pandemic – and we are thrilled to make even more progress together under her leadership.

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