UNITED NATIONS (APP): Cindy McCain, wife of the late U.S. Republican Senator John McCain, will head the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), a Rome-based United Nations agency, according to a UN announcement

Ms. McCain is currently the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations agencies for food and agriculture. She will replace David Beasley, a former Republican governor from South Carolina, who steps down after six years in the role.

In a statement, Ms. McCain said she was “deeply honoured” to be appointed, noting that the agency has been “part of my life for decades”.

The President of WFPs Executive Board, Polish Ambassador Artur Andrzej Pollok, welcomed her appointment, saying that she was taking over “at a moment when the world confronts the most serious food security crisis in modern history and this leadership role has never been more important.”

Ms. McCain is the former Chair of the Board of Trustees of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. She has a long track record in non-profit and humanitarian work, having served on the Board of Directors of Project C.U.R.E., CARE, Operation Smile, the Halo Trust and the advisory boards of Too Small To Fail and Warriors and Quiet Waters.

“I am ready to roll up my sleeves and spend time both in Rome and in the field, deepening my understanding of WFP’s vital work, and making sure it continues to grow to meet the needs of a hungry world”, said Ms. McCain.

“I can’t wait to work with the incredible team at WFP – their dedication and commitment to a better world is an inspiration to me, and to us all.”

She added that although “the road ahead is daunting, and hunger is on the rise”, she was confident that “when we come together as one world, we can save lives.”

Announcing the appointment at the regular press briefing in New York, UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “deeply grateful for Beasley, the outgoing WFP chief’s “important contribution and service” to the agency.

Ms. McCain, he said, was a “champion for human rights” who has “a long history of giving a voice to the voiceless through her humanitarian and philanthropic work.”

“The increasing number of conflicts, climate shocks and economic turmoil have led to a sharp rise in the number of acutely food-insecure people struggling to get enough food to feed their families – up almost 200 million since before the coronavirus pandemic”, noted WFP in a press release announcing Ms. McCain’s appointment.

WFP provided more than 158 million people with food, cash and vouchers last year, more than in any previous year, and received a record $14 billion in funding, the agency noted.

In 2020, the emergency food agency was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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