Welcoming Ertharin Cousin

Photograph of Ertharin Cousin

Our New General Counsel

The Foundation is pleased to welcome our new general counsel, Ertharin Cousin. Ambassador Cousin will be the second general counsel in the Foundation's history as she takes over for Westbrook Murphy, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Ambassador Cousin has worked with a number of Truman Scholars and has served on selection panels for the past several years. She brings to the Foundation not only her expertise in non-profit and governmental management, but also her understanding of program and grants management. Ambassador Cousin's unique skills and appreciation of the work of the Foundation will allow her to be both an effective general counsel as well as an inspiration to our Scholars.

Ambassador Cousin currently serves as the CEO and Managing Director of Food Systems for the Future, a nutrition impact investment fund; a Distinguished Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; a Bosch Academy, Robert Weizsäcker Fellow; and as a Visiting Scholar at the Stanford University, Center on Food Security and Environment.

From 2012 until 2017, she led the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). As Executive Director, Ambassador Cousin guided the 14,000-member WFP team feeding more than 80 million people each year; while, she identified and championed longer-term, more sustainable solutions for global food insecurity and hunger.

In 2009, she was nominated and confirmed as the US Ambassador to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome. Prior to her global hunger work, Ambassador Cousin helped lead the U.S. domestic fight to end hunger including service as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of America’s Second Harvest - now Feeding America.

Ambassador Cousin is currently a member of the Bayer AG Supervisory Board, the Mondelez International Board of Directors, the Royal DSM Sustainability Board, and a Trustee of the African agriculture thinktank Academia2063.

She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago; the University of Georgia Law School and the University of Chicago Executive Management Program-Finance for NonFinancial Executives. She has been listed numerous times on the Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women List, as the Fortune Most Powerful Woman in Food and Drink, on Time’s 100 Most Influential People list, and as one of the 500 Most Powerful People on the Planet by Foreign Policy magazine.