Sheeran, for­mer Wash­ing­ton Times ed­i­tor, will lead U.N. food pro­gram

The Washington Times Weekly - - World - By Betsy Pisik

NEW YORK — U.N. Sec­re­tary­Gen­eral Kofi An­nan on Nov. 6 nom­i­nated Josette Sheeran, a se­nior State De­part­ment of­fi­cial and for­mer man­ag­ing ed­i­tor of The Wash­ing­ton Times, to be ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the World Food Pro­gram.

The five-year ap­point­ment was ap­proved by the WFP ex­ec­u­tive board. Miss Sheeran is ex­pected to take up her du­ties as head of the Rome-based agency, which ad­min­is­ters nearly $3 bil­lion in an­nual food aid, early next year.

At the State De­part­ment, where she has served since Au­gust 2005 as un­der­sec­re­tary of state for busi­ness, eco­nomic and agricul- tu­ral af­fairs, Miss Sheeran is charged with pro­mot­ing the in­ter­ests of U.S. farm­ers and busi­ness own­ers in global pol­icy dis­cus­sions, ac­cord­ing to her of­fi­cial bi­og­ra­phy.

Be­fore that, she served as deputy in the of­fice of U.S. Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Robert B. Zoellick, where she ne­go­ti­ated agree­ments with African, Asian and Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries.

From 1997 to 2000, Miss Sheeran was pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Em­power Amer­ica, where she was a high­pro­file pres­ence on the me­dia, aca­demic and fundrais­ing cir­cuits. She was an ed­i­tor of The Wash­ing­ton Times from its found­ing in 1982 un­til she left as man- ag­ing ed­i­tor of The Times in 1997 to join Em­power Amer­ica.

Miss Sheeran, 52, was se­lected by Mr. An­nan last year to sit on a panel ad­vis­ing the United Na­tions on how to more ef­fec­tively de­liver hu­man­i­tar­ian re­lief and de­vel­op­ment as­sis­tance.

The re­port of the High-Level PanelonSys­tem-wideCo­her­ence,a group that in­cludes lead­ers of Pak­istan,Mozam­bique,Nor­wayand­se­nior min­is­ters of sev­eral other coun­tries, was re­leased Nov. 8.

Miss Sheeran was cho­sen for the WFP post from a short list, which was never for­mally an­nounced but was said by Sec­re­tariat of­fi­cials to have in­cluded WFP Asia di­rec­tor Tony Ban­bury, an Amer­i­can with ties to the Clin­ton White House; Swiss de­vel­op­ment min­is­ter Wal­ter Fust; and Robert Fowler, a for­mer Cana­dian am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions.

But the ap­point­ment of Miss Sheeran, the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion’s nom­i­nee, had been ex­pected: Wash­ing­ton con­trib­utes about one-third of the WFP’s $2.9 bil­lion bud­get and of­ten ap­plies pres­sure to en­sure its nom­i­nees are suc­cess­ful. An Amer­i­can has man­aged the WFP for about the past 15 years.

The WFP is one of the United Na­tions’ most prom­i­nent agen­cies, with pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity for feed­ing the vic­tims of con­flicts, nat­u­ral dis­as­ters and long-build­ing famines. Last year, the agency fed nearly 100 mil­lion peo­ple in 82 coun­tries.

Josette Sheeran

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