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USDA under secretary to head new Washington-based Global Food Institute

U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Stacy Dean will become the inaugural executive director of the Global Food Institute at George Washington University. Photo courtesy of George Washington University Global Food Institute
1 of 3 | U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Stacy Dean will become the inaugural executive director of the Global Food Institute at George Washington University. Photo courtesy of George Washington University Global Food Institute

June 19 (UPI) -- U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Stacy Dean will become the inaugural executive director of the Global Food Institute at George Washington University.

The position at the private university in Washington is also backed by celebrity chef, author and advocate José Andrés and was confirmed publicly Thursday.

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Andrés co-founded the GFI, which is "dedicated to leveraging interdisciplinary research and teaching across the pillars of policy, innovation, and humanity to address global food challenges."

Dean was named deputy under secretary in 2021 and has led the department's food and nutrition policy and programs. During her time there, she "published frequent reports on how federal nutrition programs affect families and communities and developed policies to improve them," according to department biography.

Overall, Dean has spent 30 years as a policymaker in the food sciences world. The University of Michigan graduate will be tasked with championing the institute's mission to change the world through the power of food.

"I am honored to join the Global Food Institute at this critical moment," Dean said in a statement issued Thursday.

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"Together, we will pave the way for innovative solutions to food insecurity, malnutrition, climate change, and the myriad global challenges we face. Our collective efforts will turn our aspirations for a more equitable and sustainable food system into reality."

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack applauded Dean for her accomplishments with the Department of Agriculture

"Under the leadership of Stacy Dean, USDA's Food and Nutrition Service has been innovative and forward-looking in their efforts to enhance nutrition security and put healthy food on dinner tables and in school lunchrooms across the country, resulting in some of the most significant milestones in the food and nutrition space in decades," Visack said in the GFI statement.

"American families are better off thanks to Stacy's work, and will continue to be in her new role."

Andrés years ago joined the global fight against food insecurity across the world and has made it his life's work. The 54-year-old native of Spain in 2010 founded the nonprofit World Central Kitchen, which has responded to numerous natural disasters including Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

In March, Andrés testified in front of a group of Senators during a Capitol Hill briefing about getting food aid into Gaza, Haiti and Ukraine.

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The session focused on WCK's global work to get food into areas where systems are disrupted by war and natural disasters.

"The enormity of challenges before our global food system demands a passionate leader of Stacy's caliber, with a profound understanding of the issues and the drive to effect change," Andrés said in the Thursday statement.

"I'm thrilled to work with her (Dean) as we usher in a new era of impact for the institute."

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