US Ambassador Cindy McCain has been named director of the UN World Food Program, the world’s largest humanitarian organization that aims to help nearly 150 million people facing conflict, disaster and the impacts of climate change this anus.

The appointment of McCain, widow of Arizona Senator and 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain. was jointly announced by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and the Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Qu Dongyu.

McCain has been the US envoy to the Rome-based WFP and FAO since November 2021, with UN and FAO chiefs calling her “a champion of human rights” with “a long history of giving voice to those who have no voice.

McCain will succeed David Beasley, a former South Carolina governor who led WFP for the past six years, including during the COVID-19 pandemic and the global food crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Beasley was in charge when the World Food Program was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020, in part for being «a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.»

Guterres and Qu praised Beasley for his «deep compassion.»

“She has humanized for the world the women and children most affected by hunger and has used her powerful voice to generate awareness and substantial resources in the face of one crisis after another,” they said in the joint statement.

Beasley’s term ends April 4 and McCain assumes the role of chief executive. His appointment was made after consultation with the WFP executive board.

The chairman of the board, Polish Ambassador Andrej Pollok, welcomed his election, saying he takes office «at a time when the world is facing the most serious food security crisis in modern history.»

An advocate for children, McCain has served on the board of directors of Operation Smile, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing facial deformities in children around the world, which has visited India, Morocco and Vietnam, according to the joint announcement.

McCain also founded the American Volunteer Medical Team which provides emergency medical and surgical care to impoverished children around the world, the UN and FAO chiefs said. And he traveled extensively in his personal capacity on behalf of WFP, visiting maternal and child feeding programs in Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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