UN World Food Programme speaker coming to Madison

Efforts to combat hunger around the world will be highlighted March 8-9, as Bettina Luescher, chief North American spokesperson for the United Nations World Food Programme, comes to the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus for a series of presentations.

As the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger, the World Food Programme (WFP) must overcome a myriad of challenges, as it works collaboratively in more than 75 countries to address issues that affect food security, including health, education and poverty.

Luescher, who has an M.A. in political science from UW-Madison (1985), also will talk about her personnel journey from the UW campus to CNN to the United Nations and what it takes to work in the international arena.

Since joining the WFP in 2004, Luescher has worked in crisis areas around the globe, including Darfur, Afghanistan, Gaza, Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya and the tsunami regions of Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Before that, she worked for 15 years as an anchor, reporter and field producer for CNN International, based in Atlanta, Frankfurt and Berlin. As a member of CNN’s 2002 investigative team, she won first place in the National Headliner Award for ‘Attack on America – 9/11.’

Luescher, who also has won two Fulbright Scholarships, began her career in Germany, working with a local radio station and newspaper. She then became an anchor for German ARD television before joining CNN. She was born in Hamm, Germany and grew up in Munich.

Here is a schedule of her presentations, which are free and open to the public.

Thursday, March 8

  • Noon–1 p.m. Brown Bag talk, Department of Political Science, North Hall, Room TBA
  • 4:30-5:30 p.m. Holy Cow! From the UW to CNN to the UN, Memorial Union, Tripp Commons
  • 7-8 p.m. Quakes, Wars & Celebs—Fighting Hunger Worldwide, Memorial Union, Tripp Commons

Friday, March 9

  • 1:30-2:30 p.m. Global Hotspots: Globetrotting to end Hunger, Pyle Center, Auditorium. Due to limited space, registration requested. Click here to register.

Luescher’s campus visit is hosted in partnership with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences-International Programs, Global Health Institute, Global Studies, International Student Services-Millennium Development Goals Awareness Project, United Nations Association-Dane County, Wisconsin Alumni Association and Wisconsin Union Directorate-Global Connections