There are many world renowned activists and global social changers, men and women of immense strength and passion towards the alleviation of the suffering of the world’s poorest. One of such renowned crusaders is Saint Louis City Icon: Jacques Diouf an Anti-Hunger Crusader against global hunger. A man whose passion for improved food security in Africa catapulted him from the backwaters of Saint Louis to the global stage as Director-General of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
In his own words “One billion hungry people, that is one out of every group of six persons in the world… as well as five children die every 30 seconds. Beyond the numbers, this means that suffering for each of these human beings is a loved child, mother, father, brother, sister, family relative, friend and neighbour. This is our tragic achievement in these modern days when our technology allows us to travel to the moon and to space stations”.
Dr. Jacques Diouf was born in the beautiful city of Saint-Louis on August 1, 1938. He had both his primary and secondary education in Saint Louis. Diouf later traveled abroad for his Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degrees in Agriculture, Tropical Agronomy and Agricultural Economics, respectively. He speaks four languages eloquently: Wolof, French, English and Spanish. At the early age of 25, Diouf began his career as Director of the European Office and the Agricultural Program of the Marketing Board (Paris/Dakar). His talent and work ethics were recognized that he was invited by the Nigerian government to become the pioneer Director of the African Groundnut Council, an organization established to promote groundnuts produced in the Gambia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sudan and Nigeria.
Diouf is not a prophet without honour at home. He served his fatherland in various influential positions within government and parliament. After serving as helmsman at the West Africa Rice Development Association in Monrovia, Diouf returned home to serve in the Senegalese parliament. He thereafter went on to serve as Special Adviser to the President as well as to the Central Bank for West African States. He also served as Ambassador, Senegalese Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York.
Jacques Diouf got to the peak of his career when he was elected Director-General of the Food and Agricultural Organization in 1993. He served meritoriously for twelve years during which he received numerous awards for his work in championing the cause of the billions of poor people around the world who go to bed hungry.
Diouf received national honours from Japan, Monaco and France. Perhaps the most significant of these awards was the prestigious Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur (National Order of the Legion of Honour). This is a French order award established by the great Napoleon Bonaparte on 19 May, 1802. It is France’s highest national honour.
Dr. Diouf’s anti-hunger crusade did not restrict his mission as FAO’s Director General to only ending world hunger. Despite being a practising Muslim, he actively participated in a special synod involving cooperation between the Catholic Church and the UN. Issues relating to African health care, conflict resolution and achieving lasting peace were thrashed out during his parley. Dr. Diouf also participated in many other international meetings across the globe where he represented his country as well as the West Africa sub-region.
Indeed, Dr. Jacques Diouf is a worthy icon from Saint Louis who has not only done well for himself and country but whose mission to ending hunger worldwide has catapulted his native Saint Louis from obscurity to worldwide prominence. What a blessing!
At the 2009 World Food Summit on Food Security in Rome, Dr Diouf delivered this remarkable closing remarks: By adopting the Declaration prepared by Member Nations before us today and making sure it translates concretely into improving the living conditions of the poor and hungry in the world, 70 percent of whom live in rural areas, we will cross a historic milestone in achieving our goal – a world without hunger.
Afro Tourism salutes Dr. Jacques Diouf, a renowned global food security crusader, national icon and distinguished diplomat.
Did You Know?
- Jacques Diouf was born on August 1, 1938 in Saint Louis, Senegal
- He is married to Aissatou Seye and blessed with five children
- He is multi-lingual, with proficiency in four languages (French, English, Spanish and Wolof)
- He has over 40 national honours from various countries across the continents
- He has over 10 international publications to his credit and
- He has also received at least 14 honorary doctorate degrees from various higher institutions of learning across the world.
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Sam Adeleke is a Writer, Photographer and Brand Strategist at Afro Tourism.