The World Food Program is known simply for distributing food to those who need it. Behind the scenes, the work of WFP is complex. It entails complicated logistics, communicating across languages and cultures, negotiations among parties with competing interests, unpredictable natural and political events, finding the best solution possible under difficult circumstances and time pressure.
It is the dedication of the WFP staff worldwide that have earned the organization the Nobel Peace Prize. I salute colleagues at the organization, and I hope that this prize inspires many more people to get involved in the UN’s work.
This first challenge of my career—and many others—shows that one does not necessarily need to be at a senior-level position in the UN to make a difference! I was a rookie who had yet to complete my probationary requirements when I undertook the mission to Dar. Hard work and a judicious application of one’s experience, knowledge, and good sense can prove to make the difference.
The author is Mr. Tun Myat, a former career UN veteran of 27 years, who started at WFP Headquarters in Rome, Italy in 1978. He became he became Chief of Staff to the then Executive Director of WFP in 1988, Director of the Logistics Division in 1991, and Director of the Resources and External Relations Division in 1997. In April 2000 he was appointed by the then UN Secretary-General as UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq and was later transferred to UN Headquarters as UN Security Coordinator in July 2002. He retired in September 2004 at age 62. He now lives in retirement in Yangon, Myanmar with his wife of 55 years.