Former UNICEF Executive Director; Secretary of U.S. Department of Agriculture
Ann M. Veneman has a distinguished career in public service. Most recently she served as Executive Director of UNICEF from May 2005 to April 2010. Previously she was U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 2001 to 2005. While at UNICEF, Veneman worked to advance issues to support child health and nutrition, quality basic education for all, access to clean water and sanitation and the protection of children and women from violence, exploitation and HIV/AIDS. During her UNICEF tenure she traveled to more than seventy countries to review the plight of children, witnessing the progress being made but also the devastation caused by natural disaster, conflict, disease and exploitation. In 2009, Veneman was named to the Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women list, ranking 46th. She holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, Davis; a master’s degree in public policy at the University of California, Berkeley; and a juris doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Veneman serves as co-chair of Mothers Day Every Day, a bipartisan campaign to raise awareness and resources to improve the health of mothers and newborns globally. She also serves on the Board of the Close Up Foundation.