Director-General  QU Dongyu
A statement by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu

Employee Recognition Awards ceremony

Remarks by Director-General Dr QU Dongyu

17 December, 2020

As delivered


1. Hello everyone, my dear colleagues, and friends, and employees,

2. Today is your day, greetings to you all! 

3. It is wonderful to be here with all of you around the world.

4. December 18 of 2019, we held the first ceremony of DG annual recognition in headquarters in the FAO history with restricted participation from field colleagues because of limits in connecting virtually.

5. This is no longer the case! Today, we are all connected globally! Now it’s more than 1.4k so 1,400 participants. That is 3 or 4 times more than last year.

6. That is true evolution!

7. 2020 is a year of pandemic we prevailed together and indicated our tenacity;

8. 2020 is a year of FAO efficiency when we have been so much visible and with tangible results to harvest;

9. 2020 is a new era of Digital FAO when we have so many FIRSTs in the history;

10. 2020 is a year of big family with new dynamics and big empathy;  

11. 2020 is a year of transforming, development and solidarity in FAO system. A new FAO is emerging with contribution and cooperation of all employees as a place for hard working, healthy mood and happy life.

12. We are here to recognise colleagues in this annual event, who have been chosen by all employees – that is true participation and transparency, recharging ourselves.

13. You were asked to identify 100 young colleagues who bring a fresh and youthful perspective to FAO as well as 100 young at heart and more seasoned colleagues that have experience and historical perspective to offer.

  • 600 nominations were received across streams and offices, 200 of these were selected in the Organization-wide poll that was carried out.
  • 92 nationalities from 81 duty stations are represented today.
  • About 1/3 are from Headquarters and 2/3 are from our offices worldwide.
  • 42% are men and 58% are women.
  • ALL categories and types of contract are represented.

14. And this year, we are adding something new and special! I am so proud and encouraged to see change happen.

15. Behind every success at FAO, there is a TEAM.

16. Teams that are working together, breaking down silos, reaching across geographic locations and cutting across the Organization. 

17. So this year, we recognise individuals as well as teams that have demonstrated remarkable performance under extraordinary circumstances in an exceptional year.

18. Ten teams have been selected:

  • First, the Digital FAO Team
  • Second, the extended Crisis Management Team (CMT)
  • Third, the Hand-in-Hand Initiative Team
  • Fourth is the Locust Control Team
  • Fifth, the Agri-environment and Food System Team
  • Sixth, the ES-Flagships and G20 Team
  • Seventh, the One Health Team
  • Number eight is the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Team
  • Number nine is the Private Sector Strategy formulation team
  • Last, not least is number ten the Country teams in Level 3 crisis contexts
    A special mention must go to our teams who, in the midst of conflicts, COVID-19 and climate extremes, have tirelessly worked to deliver humanitarian livelihood- and life-saving assistance to millions of the most vulnerable people in the world.

19. As I have said from my very first day in office, learning, working and contributing together with unprecedented success.

20. In teams, you do exactly this and together we can accomplish the thinkable and the unthinkable!

Dear Colleagues,

21. Our employees are our greatest asset and new gold mine.

22. The young are the future and the more experienced colleagues provide context and guidance.

23. We are here to celebrate all of you today.

24. You keep this organization vibrant, efficient and dynamic. As individuals and as teams.

25. Together, we are building an FAO that is modern and transparent, accountable and deliverable, with a people-centred, people driven approach to our work and success.

26. It is an FAO focused on professional recognition and development.

27. Your integrity, agility and diligence are reshaping this Organization, making it deliver better and with more impact.

28. Be inspired by each other!

29. Emancipate the mind! Be open to new ideas and to changing your mind-set.

30. Seek truth from facts! Apply a professional and scientific methodology, investigate things holistically, and learn by doing and comparing!

31. Let solidarity and inclusiveness guide you!

Dear Colleagues,

32. As you may know, I have a passion for Chinese calligraphy and poems.

33. So I have handwritten my own personal special congratulations in Chinese calligraphy for this year’s awardees.

34. There is one dedicated to the teams and one dedicated to the individuals which will be shared with you now. You can sign your name and make it out by your own with paper, wood or metals. If you have gold, you can make it out golden.

[Slide showing the Director-General’s Calligraphy]

35. So you can see on the screen, this is my special heartfelt congratulations to the recipients of this year. And this is a special souvenir for you, so you can enter your name on it to make it special, individually styled as you like. I respect your personality and preference.

36. My heartfelt congratulations to the recipients of this year’s Employee Recognition Awards!

37. And my appreciation to all employees!

38. I wish you happy holidays and a restful break with your beloved ones.

Thank you.