Ertharin Cousin served as the twelfth Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme from 2012 to 2017. Following the completion of her term, Cousin accepted an appointment as a Distinguished Fellow with The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and as Trustee on the UK based Power of Nutrition Board of Directors.
Cousin served from 2009-2012 under President Barack Obama as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, serving in Rome, Italy, and chief of the United States Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome.
Before that, she worked in a variety of public and private sector positions, first as a Democratic Party official, later specializing in the food industry and related charities from the late 1990s on. In 2014, Cousin was ranked number 45th on the Forbes Magazine’s List of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women and she was named to the TIME 100 most influential people in the world list.