Ann Veneman becomes UNICEF Executive Director
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 2 May 2005 – Ann M. Veneman, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, assumed the leadership of UNICEF today, becoming the fifth Executive Director to lead the UN children’s agency in its 60-year history.“It is a great honor to have the opportunity to lead UNICEF, which is truly one of the world’s great institutions,” Ms. Veneman said Monday on her first official day at UNICEF headquarters in
Veneman, who was appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to succeed outgoing Executive Director Carol Bellamy, said that among her top priorities will be ensuring that UNICEF works to advance the Millennium Development Goals.
“The Millennium Development Goals reflect the wishes and the will of governments around the world,” Veneman said. “And because they place such important emphasis on the well-being of children, UNICEF has a vital role to play in helping meet the goals.”
Key to UNICEF’s continued success will be strengthening existing partnerships and building new collaborations with governments, fellow UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups and communities, Veneman said.
“Strengthening our collaboration with partners around the world can advance the goals of reducing poverty, malnutrition and disease, as well as helping to protect children from abuse and violence,” she said.
Having directed one of the largest and most complex departments of
As the 27th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture prior to joining UNICEF, she directed a department of 111,000 employees; a program level of $113 billion that would rank sixth-largest if it were a
While at the USDA, Veneman directed programs that included school meals, nutrition assistance and nutrition education, foreign food aid, and development assistance both at home and abroad.
Much of Veneman’s career has been focused on child nutrition, public health, and alleviating hunger, including new approaches to help fight malnutrition around the world.
She previously served in various positions at USDA and in
Ms. Veneman earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the
For nearly 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 158 countries to help children survive and thrive from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for poor countries, UNICEF works to advance the Millennium Development Goals by supporting child health and nutrition, quality basic education for all boys and girls, access to clean water and sanitation, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of governments, businesses, foundations and individuals.
For more information:Alfred Ironside, UNICEF