26 September 2012, New York -FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva yesterday invited Peruvian First Lady Nadine Heredia Alarcón de Humala to act as an FAO Special Ambassador for the International Year of Quinoa.
The FAO chief, in New York for the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, noted that the invitation "comes in recognition of Mrs. Heredia's work in support of the role of this crop in the eradication of poverty and boosting food and nutritional security."
The nomination ceremony, tentatively scheduled for the 29th of October, will take place UN headquarters in New York in conjunction with the official launch of the International Year of Quinoa, established by the UN General Assembly following an initiative of Bolivian President Evo Morales. The Year's motto, "A future sowed thousands of years ago," aims to highlight the enormous nutritional potential that quinoa had for pre-Colombian Andean civilizations.
The International Year of Quinoa is intended to attract world attention to the role of this Andean crop and promote its production as a nutritional alternative, given its great versatility. In light of the challenge of feeding the world population within the context of climate change, quinoa, a highly-nutritious grain-like crop, offers an alternative to countries suffering from food insecurity.
Graziano da Silva reiterated that the effort that FAO is taking to promote quinoa at the global level forms part of an ample work plan that the Organization is implementing in order to tap the potential of traditional or "forgotten" crops as a means to healthy nutrition.
For her part, the first lady noted that "the International Year of Quinoa offers Peru the opportunity to promote greater consumption of this Andean crop, and by doing so, contribute to the fight against chronic child malnutrition." What's more, she added, quinoa can become a vital support in the UN's Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) program, an initiative of Secretary General Ban Ki Moon forming part of a global strategy to fight against child malnutrition.
"We are certain that quinoa can be the perfect food for contributing to this fight in which we are all committed," Heredia said. The Peruvian first lady is one of 27 world leaders forming part of the SUN movement.
With her nomination, Nadine Heredia becomes the newest participant in FAO's Goodwill Ambassadors Program, joining Bolivian President Evo Morales, who was named Special Ambassador for the Year of Quinoa last June.
As FAO Special Ambassador for the Year of Quinoa, Mrs. Heredia will work to draw attention to quinoa's great potential, underline the contribution of indigenous Andean communities as custodians of quinoa, and promote greater production of the crop.