Brazilian elected to head U.N.’s food organization

A former Brazilian food security minister will become the first person from Latin America to head the Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations agency leading international efforts in the fight against hunger.

José Graziano da Silva, who has served as a senior regional official for organization since 2006, will take up the post of director general Jan.1 after beating five other candidates during voting Friday at the agency’s headquarters in Rome.

Graziano da Silva, received 92 votes from 180 votes cast by member states during the second round of balloting, narrowly defeating Miguel Ángel Moratinos Cuyaube, a former foreign minister of Spain.

Four other candidates, Franz Fischler of Austria, Indroyono Soesilo of Indonesia, Mohammad Saeid Noori Naeini of Iran and Abdul Latif Rashid of Iraq, all withdrew from the contest after receiving fewer votes during the first round of balloting .

Graziano da Silva, 61, will be only the eighth person to lead an agency that was established in 1945 and he will be the first person from his region.

Graziano da Silva’s term will expire on July 31, 2015, but he will be eligible to run for a second, four-year term. He succeeds Jacques Diouf, who has served as director general since 1994.

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