Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Executive Director of UNICEF

Ann M. Veneman

Ann M. Veneman became UNICEF’s fifth Executive Director on May 1, 2005 after serving as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture during George W. Bush's first term as President. She served as UNICEF director through 2010.

Appointed by the United Nations Secretary General, the Executive Director works on behalf of the United Nations children’s agency to help children around the world survive and thrive by advocating for and protecting their rights.

She had been unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn in as the 27th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on January 20, 2001.

Veneman, an attorney, was raised on a peach ranch in Modesto, California. A graduate of Thomas Downey High School in Modesto, she earned her bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California at Davis, and a master's degree in public policy from the University of California at Berkeley, and a juris doctorate degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law. In her personal life, she currently serves as a board member of the Close Up Foundation, a nonpartisan civic education organization, based in Washington, D.C.

Her father was John G. Veneman, who served as Undersecretary of Health, Education and Welfare in the Nixon administration, and was a state assemblyman from the Modesto district for many years.

Link: UNICEF Biography Page

Link: Wikipedia Entry

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President George W. Bush Thanks

Secretary Veneman - Nov. 14, 2004

Statement by the President

Ann Veneman has been a strong advocate for America's farm and ranch families. As Secretary of Agriculture, she has been a valuable member of my Cabinet, working to ensure that we promote economic opportunities for farmers and ranchers, ensure a safe and wholesome food supply, and sell American farm products all around the world.

I commend Ann for her efforts to enact and implement a responsible farm bill with strong conservation provisions. I greatly appreciate Ann's leadership in ensuring that we responded quickly and effectively to protect the American food supply following the discovery of BSE in the United States and following September 11th. She has helped ensure commonsense forest management and skillfully implemented the Healthy Forests Initiative. She has played a key role in opening markets and in ensuring a level playing field for America's farm products.

Ann has served our country with distinction and integrity. I appreciate her fine work and wish her well.