ROME, ITALY — The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Program (WFP) celebrated World Food Day 2011 on Oct. 17 with a series of speeches by visiting guests and performances by celebrity goodwill ambassadors.

FAO will also name British film star Jeremy Irons as its newest celebrity goodwill ambassador.

The theme for World Food Day 2011 is “Food prices - from crisis to stability.”

A number of high-level dignitaries will make statements during this year's ceremony, which also marks the 60th anniversary of the transfer of FAO to Rome. They include:

  • Michelle Bachelet, former president of the Republic of Chile and current UN Under-Secretary-General and executive director, UN Women.
  • Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, minister of state for agriculture, Equatorial Guinea.
  • Franco Frattini, Italian minister for foreign affairs.
  • Francesco Saverio Romano, Italian minister for agriculture, food and forestry policies.
  • Gianni Alemanno, Mayor of Rome.
  • Archbishop Luigi Travaglino, permanent observer of the Holy See to FAO will read a message from Pope Benedict XVI.

The heads of the three Rome-based UN food agencies will also speak:

  • Jacques Diouf, director-general, FAO.
  • Kanayo F. Nwanze, president, IFAD.
  • Josette Sheeran, executive director, WFP.

U.S. jazz artist Dee Dee Bridgewater, Italian singer and actor Massimo Ranieri, Senegalese griot musician Badara Seck and Brazilian classical guitarist Marcus Vinicius will perform during the ceremonies.