The World Food Prize Foundation


Catherine Bertini

2003 World Food Prize Laureate and Chair, Executive Board, Global Crop Diversity Trust

An accomplished leader in international organization reform, Catherine Bertini has a distinguished career improving the efficiency and operations of organizations serving poor and hungry people in the United States and around the world.

She was named the 2003 World Food Prize Laureate for her transformational leadership at the World Food Programme (WFP), which she led for ten years, and for the positive impact she had on the lives of women and girls. With the prize, she created the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education. 

While in the U.S. government, she expanded the electronic benefit transfer options for food stamp beneficiaries, created the food package for breast feeding mothers, presented the first effort to picture healthy diets and expanded education and training opportunities for poor women.

Currently, she manages the efforts of The Rockefeller Foundation around work to decrease hunger brought on by the global food crisis. She is chair of the board of Global Crop Diversity Trust.

She serves on the board of the Central New York Community Foundation and on the Cortland County Hunger Coalition. She is a professor emeritus at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University where she taught graduate students for thirteen years. She was a fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics for Fall 2021 and is a Distinguished Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.  

She has been honored by twelve universities in four countries with honorary degrees and by the Republics of Italy and Ireland. She has received multiple awards for her work to improve the lives of children, for her management of internal reform processes and for her advocacy for women and girls. She was appointed to senior positions by three UN secretaries general and five US presidents.
Catherine earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University at Albany. She lives in Homer NY and Chicago IL with her husband Tom Knobel. 

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