Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday September 14, 2010

Professor Catherine Bertini Named to Lead Maxwell's International Relations Program

For more information, please contact:

Jill Leonhardt
The Maxwell School announced today that Catherine Bertini, professor of practice in public administration, will become chair of the School’s international relations program for the remainder of the fiscal year, effective October 1, 2010.  She succeeds Donald Planty, who has led IR since 2008.

In making the announcement, Maxwell’s interim dean Michael Wasylenko pointed to Bertini’s vast experience in the international arena and her leadership of major international organizations.   “Over 10 years, as executive director of the U.N.’s World Food Program, Catherine transformed the agency into the world’s largest and most responsive humanitarian relief organization, for which she was awarded the prestigious World Food Prize.  Following that, she served as Undersecretary-General for Management of the U.N., with responsibility for the organization’s $3 billion biennial budget.   Her understanding both of international policy matters and of organizational management makes her a stellar choice to lead the IR program through a time of exceptional growth and change,” Wasylenko says.  “I am very grateful that she has agreed to take on this new role.”

“I also want to acknowledge Don Planty for his leadership during the past two years and his work to enhance the stature of Maxwell’s international relations program and increase its admissions.   We thank him and wish him well in his new endeavors,” adds Wasylenko.

Bertini joined the Maxwell School in 2005, where she has taught courses in humanitarian action, U.N. management, girl’s education, and post-conflict reconstruction, drawing on the experience she gained during her years of leadership in public sector management, international organizations, humanitarian relief, nutrition policy, and agricultural development. “I appreciate the confidence that the School has in me, and I look forward to this new opportunity to work with our outstanding international relations students, the faculty that support our program, and the IR staff during the exciting year ahead,” Bertini says. 

Just last month, Bertini was appointed to the Committee on World Food Security’s steering committee, serving as the group’s sole U.S. representative.  She is a member of two US AID Advisory Committees:  the Board of International Food and Agricultural Development and the Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid; a board member of the Stuart Family Foundation; a juror of the Hilton Foundation Humanitarian Prize; and a member of the Advisory Council at Rockefeller College on Public Affairs and Policy and also at the William Jefferson Clinton School of Public Service.  She is co-chair of the Global Agriculture Development Initiative for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and chair of the Council's Girls in Rural Economies project.   She recently served as a Senior Fellow in Agricultural Development at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where she advised on the development of the foundation's new agricultural portfolio, which strives to improve the well-being of poor farmers in Africa and South Asia.

Bertini holds a degree from SUNY Albany and has received 11 honorary degrees from universities in four countries.  She is the 2003 World Food Prize Laureate and, in 2007, was awarded the Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Nutrition. 

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The Maxwell School of Syracuse University is the premier academic institution in the United States committed to scholarship, civic leadership, and education in public and international affairs. Maxwell is home to Syracuse University’s social science departments and to numerous nationally recognized multidisciplinary graduate programs in public policy, international studies, social policy, and conflict resolution. Maxwell's graduate program in public administration -- the first of its kind in the nation -- is ranked consistently the leading graduate public affairs program in the country.