Ertharin Cousin

Founder & CEO, Food Systems for the Future


Ambassador Ertharin Cousin is a US diplomat and internationally renowned expert on food and agriculture. She was Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme from 2012 to 2017 and served as US Ambassador to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome from 2009 to 2012.   Cousin is currently Distinguished Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Visiting Scholar at the Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and the co-founder and President of the Food Systems for the Future Institute. Since 2019, she is a member of the supervisory board of Bayer S.A.   Before serving as an ambassador in Rome, Cousin worked as Executive Vice President and CEO for the aid organization America's Second Harvest (2009­2006) and as Senior Vice President for the US supermarket chain Albertsons (19972002). From 1994 to 1997, Cousin worked as the White House Liaison to the US State Department.   Cousin earned a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a doctorate in law from the University of Georgia, School of Law. She received numerous awards and honorary doctorates, and has been listed on as one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” (2014) and Forbes “100 Most Powerful Women” (2015, 2016).

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