Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty Responds to World Food Programme Leadership Transition

May 2, 2023

On April 5, David Beasley ended a six-year term as Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). The WFP is the world’s largest organization offering humanitarian assistance to people experiencing poverty, war, and natural disaster. Ambassador Beasley was appointed to the position in 2017. Under his leadership, the WFP received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020 for combatting global hunger. Beasley oversaw the organization’s efforts to mitigate food crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war against Ukraine.

In September 2021, Beasley visited the Baylor University campus and spoke to attendees of the Forum on Global Hunger, a joint project of the WFP and the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty (BCHP). At the event, he explained that ending hunger around the world is a sacred calling to love our neighbors but that it also serves to mitigate conflict, destabilization, and mass migration.

The Forum on Global Hunger sparked deeper partnerships between the WFP and BCHP, leading to a joint initiative called “Guatemala Sin Hambre”, which translates to “Hunger Free Guatemala.” The initiative will use BCHP’s tools of multi-sectoral collaboration to strengthen food security in Guatemala. A more official announcement about the project is forthcoming.

While at Baylor, Beasley was also honored for his work by Baylor University at McLane Stadium during the football game against Texas State.

Ambassador David Beasley being honored at Baylor Football Game.

Jeremy Everett, BCHP’s Executive Director, said, “David Beasley has worked tirelessly in some of the world’s most dangerous places to ensure that people have enough food to survive and thrive. He has helped us all see how migration, poverty, and war are interconnected with food, and has led the international community during some of the most disruptive global events in over a half-century.” Everett added, “The Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty is better positioned to fulfill our mission of cultivating scalable solutions to end hunger because of Ambassador Beasley’s work.”

Before taking the reins at the WFP, Beasley served as the 113th Governor of South Carolina.

As Ambassador Beasley’s term came to an end, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Food and Agriculture Director-General Qu Dongyu appointed Cindy McCain to the position. McCain previously served as President Biden’s Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture. Before that, she was involved in business advocacy for numerous human rights issues.

On McCain’s appointment, Everett added, “Cindy McCain, like Ambassador Beasley and her late husband, Senator John McCain, is known around the world for the courage of her convictions. She brings to the position steadiness, a wealth of wisdom, and the awareness that hunger is a human issue, not a partisan one. The Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty is excited about her appointment and eager to work alongside her to fulfill the United Nations Sustainable Development and White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health goals to end hunger by 2030.”

McCain takes over during a time when global conflict and climate change continue to threaten food security for millions. She oversees an organization with headquarters in Rome and over 22,300 staff around the world.

The WFP executive director is appointed for fixed five-year terms. Mr. Beasley’s term was extended a year due to the ongoing food crisis caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.