January 30, 2012: UN World Food Program leader comes to Capilano University

      Monday, January 30, 2012
      Contact: Shelley Kean at 604.983.7596

      (NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—Douglas Coutts, leader of the World Food Program for the United Nations, will be a guest speaker at Capilano University over a period of three days from Tuesday, January 31 to Thursday, February 2. Coutts will be speaking predominately to students; however, he will be giving a free public presentation on January 31 in the Library building, room 322 from 7 – 9 p.m.  Everyone is welcome to attend.

      Coutts was based previously in Washington, D.C., and charged with working with institutions in North America as part of the new global Child Hunger Initiative being developed by WFP in conjunction with UNICEF and the World Bank. Within this framework, he was supporting efforts to launch an outreach and advocacy program with institutions of higher learning. He was also part of a team formulating a strategy for corporate partnership development in North America in support of WFP humanitarian and development operation worldwide.

      Coutts has more than 24 years of experience with WFP, more recently as country director for Bangladesh, where he oversaw the organization's single-largest development operation in the world – embracing integrated food security, school feeding and refugee operations, nutritional support and HIV/AIDS awareness/community health programs. He has represented WFP around the world, including a stint in 1997-98 as the UN's first humanitarian coordinator for North Korea, responsible for implementing what, at the time, was WFP's biggest emergency operation. While based in New York, Coutts also served as WFP country director in Nepal and Namibia, and as WFP's representative to the United Nations, USA and Canada.

      An Eagle Scout, he has been active in the Boy Scouts of America for many years as a Scoutmaster of BSA troops in Kathmandu, Nepal and Dhaka, Bangladesh. He has also coached ice hockey and rollerblade hockey in Westchester County, NY, North Korea and Nepal.

      Before joining the United Nations, Coutts worked as a founding member of the professional staff of the Select Committee on Hunger in the US House of Representatives, and as an economist with the US Department of Agriculture. Previously, he has also managed international education programs at both Carnegie Mellon University and Georgetown University. He holds masters' degrees from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and Université Laval in Quebec, Canada and a bachelor's degree with honour from Michigan State University (Justin Morrill College).