2008.01.24: January 24, 2008: Headlines: Directors - Vasquez: Figures: Directors: United Nations: Diplomacy: Orange County Register: Gaddi Vasquez champions efforts to end hunger

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Gaddi Vasquez champions efforts to end hunger

Gaddi Vasquez champions efforts to end hunger

Vasquez's political obituary was written. But the fealty to the Republican party that had nurtured him – and a $100,000 donation from his campaign coffers to the Republican national committee in 2000 – helped heal old wounds. Vasquez was appointed director of the Peace Corps (over some objections) in 2002, and then to the U.N. ambassador post in 2006. He and wife Elaine live in a cobblestoned section of Rome near the Colosseum. "The first day I went to work at the U.N., I was led into the governing council's meeting room for my first meeting," Vasquez said. "You see the nameplates around the table – France. U.K. Italy. United States of America. That's one of those moments you stop in your tracks and reflect on where you've been and what you're doing," Vasquez said. "I am fortunate, and blessed." Vasquez's job is to help coordinate, and champion, the United States' efforts to eradicate hunger, disease and poverty around the world. "My life is transformed, make no mistake about it," he said. Former Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez is U.S. ambassador to U.N. food agencies based in Rome.

Gaddi Vasquez champions efforts to end hunger

Gaddi Vasquez champions efforts to end hunger
Vasquez's job is to help coordinate, and champion, the United States' efforts to eradicate hunger, disease and poverty around the world.
By TERI SFORZA
The Orange County Register
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Talk about comeback kids. Here is Gaddi Vasquez – U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome – talking to an empathetic crowd of "I-knew-him-whens," saying things like "somewhere in the world, a child dies of hunger every five seconds" and "over 840 million people suffer from chronic malnutrition."

Some in this luncheon audience at the Irvine Marriott – local movers and shakers in their own right – remember Vasquez as a fresh-faced rookie cop at the Orange Police Department. Others see the GOP's rising Hispanic star addressing the 1992 presidential convention in Houston. And still others will never forget how he looked on Dec. 6, 1994, after he and the other county supervisors declared the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history.

We're all toast, he told his colleagues then.

Vasquez's political obituary was written. But the fealty to the Republican party that had nurtured him – and a $100,000 donation from his campaign coffers to the Republican national committee in 2000 – helped heal old wounds. Vasquez was appointed director of the Peace Corps (over some objections) in 2002, and then to the U.N. ambassador post in 2006. He and wife Elaine live in a cobblestoned section of Rome near the Colosseum.

"The first day I went to work at the U.N., I was led into the governing council's meeting room for my first meeting," Vasquez said. "You see the nameplates around the table – France. U.K. Italy. United States of America. That's one of those moments you stop in your tracks and reflect on where you've been and what you're doing," Vasquez said. "I am fortunate, and blessed."

Vasquez's job is to help coordinate, and champion, the United States' efforts to eradicate hunger, disease and poverty around the world. "My life is transformed, make no mistake about it," he said.

The U.S. spent about $23 billion on foreign assistance last year – $1 billion of it on food aid – and part of Vasquez's job is to make sure that money is spent as wisely as possible. He has visited more than 60 countries over the past five years, "from the jungles of Madagascar to the desert dunes of Timbuktu, from Morocco to Mongolia." He has seen orphaned children fending for themselves on the streets of Mali, patients with HIV abandoned by their families and facing lonely deaths, the life-changing impact of a $150 business loan in Afghanistan. "My hope is to raise your awareness," he told the crowd at the Orange County Forum event as they picked guiltily at slices of Oreo cheesecake. "Consider how you can contribute to this effort."

One great challenge of 2008, he said, will be the soaring prices of food around the world. "Stay tuned."

Contact the writer: 714-796-6910 or tsforza@ocregister.com.




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Headlines: January, 2008; Gaddi Vasquez; Gaddi Vasquez (Director 2002 - 2006); Figures; Peace Corps Directors; United Nations; Diplomacy





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Story Source: Orange County Register

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Directors - Vasquez; Figures; Directors; United Nations; Diplomacy

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