Android App Now Available
About This App
About This App
About This App
© Southeast Georgia Today. - All Rights Reserved | Developed & Design: Web Wizad Workshop
Android App Now Available
About This App
About This App
About This App
© Southeast Georgia Today. - All Rights Reserved | Developed & Design: Web Wizad Workshop
Get the latest weather forecast!

July 9--  It's been a year since former Georgia Senator Tommie Williams of Lyons joined the Trump administration representing the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Rome as the U.S. Minister Counselor to the United Nations.

tommiewilliamsitaly"We deal with food security and feeding the hungry in the world through World Food Program.  I'm working on agricultural policy and how to help countries become food secure and feed 800 million people who don't have enough to eat everyday," Williams told us from his home in Rome.  "Most of those 800 million are in countries with conflict and just being able to get food to them is dangerous.  I haven't done a lot of travel to those places, but I'm probably going to do some in the upcoming year.  It's very interesting work and it's benevolent work teaching people how to feed themselves."

"Primarily the problems we're having are in Africa.  There are some undernourished people in Central and South America, but countries in Africa have lots of conflict and people just can't get beyond that to be able to feed themselves," he said.

During the first year of his appointment by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Williams visited China, where he lived 30 years ago, and was impressed with its farming techniques which have made it self sufficient in feeding it's people and now an exporter of food.  The same is true of India, he notes. 

He's excited about school feeding programs in countries like Guatemala where he visited and noted how it can help not only with better health and education for children, but can also create conditions to curb migration, "You know people sometime complain about how much we give, but they also complain about immigration.  If you can keep people secure in their homes and have their kids educated and be able to create the revenue of the local community through farming, they are more likely to stay and less likely to try and cross the border."

Just as he learned dealing with legislators while in the Georgia Senate, Williams says the key to getting things done is building relationships, "As in all walks of life, it's building relationships.  This past Sunday I went to church with a Nigerian ambassador who is one of the wisest people I've met in my life.  He and I have become friends and when we're dealing with problems related to Africa, I'm able to go to him.  The same is true about the ambassador from Zimbabwe.  He's a very conservative, Christian man I'm able to talk with about positions the African Union has taken.  It's all about building friendships and we're able to work together on things because we've built relationships."

For staff use only.