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Topic / Poverty, Inequality and Opportunity

Interview with David Beasley, Former Executive Director of the World Food Programme

On February 6, 2024, HKS Student Policy Review Senior Editor Ala’a Kolkaila spoke with David Beasley, the former Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP). The conversation focused mainly on food security and Beasley’s time at the WFP.

As the former Executive Director of the WFP, David Beasley continued his life’s work bridging political, religious and ethnic boundaries to champion economic development and education. At WFP, Beasley put to use four decades of leadership and communications skills to mobilise more financial support and public awareness for the global fight against hunger. These efforts were recognised when WFP was awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

Before coming to WFP in April 2017, Mr. Beasley spent a decade working with high profile leaders and on-the-ground programme managers in more than 100 countries, directing projects designed to foster peace, reconciliation and economic progress. He travelled to as many as 30 countries a year, organizing, leading or participating in conferences and missions in Kosovo, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen, among others.

As Governor of the U.S. state of South Carolina from 1995 to 1999, Mr. Beasley guided the state during years of economic transformation, helping to reshape the state’s economy into a healthy, diverse and robust market. The work led to one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, with a dramatic increase in private sector capital investment. Mr. Beasley was the first Governor in South Carolina to make a public push for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the state capitol dome, a move that earned him the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.