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Last modified: Thursday, February 14, 2002

IU Trustee named as executive director of U.N. food program

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Jacques Diouf announced today (Feb. 14) their appointment of Indiana University Board of Trustees President James T. Morris as executive director of the World Food Program (WFP). The announcement came following consultations with WFP's executive board of 36 member countries.

"I am genuinely overwhelmed by the opportunity to spend the next several years of my life working on this most important world issue. Every day there are over 800 million hungry people in the world, mostly children, thousands of whom are dying each day. This is a great and a humbling challenge," Morris said.

"I am very grateful for the encouragement and support I have received from the Indiana University family," he said.

"Jim Morris has been an outstanding leader for Indiana University and the state of Indiana over the years. I am certain those same leadership skills will make a difference for this vital program as well," said IU President Myles Brand.

Morris' term as a trustee runs through June 30. He said he intends to complete that term and will manage his calendar to the best of his abilities to participate in board meetings through June. He has served as an alumni-elected trustee since 1996.

Morris is chairman and chief executive officer of IWC Resources Co. and its principal subsidiary, the Indianapolis Water Co. From 1984 to 1989, he was president of the Lilly Endowment. He was chief of staff to current Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar from 1967 to 1973 when Lugar was mayor of Indianapolis. He earned his undergraduate degree from IU and an M.B.A. degree from Butler University.

He has been active in a wide variety of local, state and national organizations, including the United States Olympic Committee, United Way of Central Indiana and the American Red Cross.

In October, Morris was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies on Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. While awaiting confirmation as ambassador, he was chosen by U.N. officials as executive director of the World Food Program.

Morris succeeds Catherine Bertini, the first U.S. national to head the Rome-based program. Bertini's second five-year term will end in March.

Established in 1963, WFP is an autonomous joint subsidiary program of the United Nations and its Food and Agricuture Organization for emergency food assistance. In 2000, the program fed 83 million people in 83 countries, including most of the world's internally displaced people, delivering 3.7 million tons of food aid.