The World Food Prize Foundation


Dina Esposito

Assistant to the Administrator, Bureau for Resilience, Environment, and Food Security at USAID

Dina Esposito serves as the Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau for Resilience, Environment, and Food Security (REFS) at USAID, Feed the Future Deputy Coordinator for Development, and the Agency’s Global Food Crisis Coordinator.

Most recently, Dina served five years at Mercy Corps (MC), a global organization focused on helping build more resilient, inclusive communities in some of the most fragile contexts in the world through development, humanitarian response, and peacebuilding programs. She served there as Vice President for Technical Leadership, guiding a team of subject matter experts who provide strategy, program design and technical support for Mercy Corps’ global vision and for country teams in more than 40 countries. Economic development (with a focus on agriculture and youth employment), food security, water security, and conflict and governance were her areas of focus. She also directed the MC Research and Learning team, which prioritized research on “what works” in terms of building resilience and advancing peace in areas impacted by climate change and conflict, particularly within the framework of food security programs.

Before joining Mercy Corps, she was the Director of USAID’s Office of Food for Peace, (now part of the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance), where she oversaw for six years the Agency’s then $2.8 billion relief and development food assistance portfolio. There she provided strategic direction for the delivery of life-saving food assistance globally, including in Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and the Sahel, and guided the office through a period of dramatic change. This included ushering in the scaling of cash-based food assistance, and the reformulation of 21 new or improved food aid products to better meet the nutritional needs of vulnerable populations—including the incorporation of Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods into the USAID food aid basket for the first time. She guided the creation of a ten-year strategy that committed Food for Peace to focus not only on saving lives and livelihoods but also on transforming systems and communities to reach sustained improvements in food and nutrition security. She also served as the Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian response overseeing Sudan, South Sudan, the 2015 El Nino agency-wide drought response, and the food assistance portfolio. In that capacity she served as co-Chair of the Agency Resilience Leadership Council. Prior to this, she worked for a nongovernmental organization, living and working in Ethiopia and Kenya, where she focused on governance, conflict, and peacebuilding programs. 

Throughout her career she has focused on the challenges of delivering relief and development assistance in fragile and conflict-affected states and worked to advance collective action and multi-disciplinary solutions to complex challenges. She began her career as a Presidential Management Fellow and Refugee Officer at the U.S. State Department (Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration); and as an officer in the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and the Office of Transition Initiatives. She holds a Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, School for Advanced International Studies, and a Bachelor’s degree from Williams College. She is married and has three children.

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