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Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture appointed to UNICEF post

Veneman Executive Director

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

NEW YORK, NY – California native Ann M. Veneman, who late last year resigned as Secretary of Agriculture in the U.S. cabinet, has been appointed Executive Director of the United Nations’ childrens’ fund (UNICEF). She will succeed Carol Bellamy whose ten-year tenure concludes on April 30.

Ms. Veneman will become UNICEF’s fifth Executive Director, continuing an unbroken line of Americans at the helm of the agency since its founding in 1946. Under UN policy, agency heads may serve no more than two five-year terms.

A 20-year veteran of the U.S. and California departments of agriculture, Veneman earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at Davis, and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California at Berkeley. She also holds a juris doctorate degree from the UofC’s, Hastings College of Law.

Veneman’s Dutch ancestors farmed in South Dakota in the 1890s. She was raised on her family’s peach farm in Modesto, California. Her father John G. Veneman was a one-time California assemblyman who had worked in the Nixon administration as Under Secretary at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Before being appointed Secretary of Agriculture in 2000, Veneman had held a similar position on the state level in California. Previously, she already had served in a number of capacities at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, from 1991 to 1993 as Deputy Secretary.