James T. Morris is probably best known in Central Indiana for his service in Indianapolis city government and leadership positions with The Lilly Endowment, the Indianapolis Water Company, and Pacers Sports & Entertainment. But, from 2002 to 2007, Morris served as the tenth Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme and as an Under Secretary General within the United Nations. As head of the World Food Programme (WFP), Morris oversaw the world’s largest food aid organization, which annually reaches out to over 100 million hungry people in more than 80 countries who have been victims of war and natural disasters, families affected by HIV/AIDS, orphans who have lost parents, and school children in poor communities.
Shortly after Morris became executive director of the WFP, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed him to be Special Envoy for Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa. In this capacity, he led the effort to unite U.N. and humanitarian agencies to address the threats of food insecurity, HIV/AIDS, and the loss of capacity facing at least 15 million people in Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique. Morris also led the first U.N. humanitarian mission to Sudan and Darfur in 2003 and oversaw the distribution of food to some 27 million Iraqis.
While dedicated to the solving the problems of food insecurity, Morris has given special attention to the issue of child hunger worldwide. In 2006, WFP fed 56 million children. He has worked to build a global partnership of WFP, UNICEF, and the High Commission for Refugees to End Child Hunger.
Morris now serves as honorary co-chair of the Alliance to End Hunger, an organization of corporations, non-profit groups, universities, individuals, and religious bodies devoted to fostering strategic partnerships, building political will, and creating global connections to address the hunger crisis facing people around the world.