Sheila Sisulu was appointed Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme (Policy and External Affairs Department) in February 2003. In this role, she was responsible for overseeing the agency’s strategy, policy and programme support. She was also responsible for WFP’s Executive Board Secretariat and relations with other UN agencies and nongovernmental organisations.
In January 2008, Ms Sisulu was appointed Deputy Executive Director for Hunger Solutions in the Office of the Executive Director. Prior to joining WFP, Ms Sisulu was South Africa’s Ambassador to the United States. Her diplomatic career began in 1997 as Consul General in New York and as Ambassador to Washington two years later.
In addition to her diplomatic skills, Ms. Sisulu has 25 years’ experience in South African politics and government. With the end of apartheid and the advent of black majority rule, she moved from being a force for change from outside, to being an implementer of change from within – as a special adviser to the national minister of education and a member of the team assigned the task of drawing up new legislation. She was responsible in particular for policy on gender equity, youth development and early childhood care and education.
She holds a post-graduate degree as Bachelor of Education (University of Witwatersrand, 1990), as well as honorary doctorates from the University of Maryland and the City University of New York.