Geneva – AFP
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced on Thursday the appointment of Swiss diplomat Mirjana Spolyaric Egger as its president, making her the first woman to hold the organization’s presidency.
The organization said in a statement that the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Development Program, Mirjana Spolyaric Iger, will be president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, succeeding Peter Maurer when he steps down next September.
Maurer, who will leave his post after ten years, welcomed the appointment, saying that Spolyaric Egger “will bring a strategic vision, strong international experience and a broad diplomatic background to this position.”
“She is an accomplished leader and I am sure she will be a sympathetic and strong advocate for the rights of people affected by armed conflict and violence,” he added.
For her part, Spolyaric Egger said, “It is a great honor and responsibility to be appointed to lead an organization that I have always admired for its inspiring and fundamental international mission.”
“I will seek to highlight the most vulnerable needs and to do justice to the significant impact of ICRC teams in conflict zones around the world,” she added.
She previously headed the United Nations and International Organizations Department at the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in addition to carrying out diplomatic missions in Bern, Cairo and New York.
She also worked with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
She studied at the Universities of Basel and Geneva and holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy, Economics and International Law.