The president and vice-presidents of the ICRC
The ICRC has a president and two vice-presidents. The president, who bears primary responsibility for the ICRC’s external relations, represents the ICRC on the international scene and, in close cooperation with the directorate general, handles the ICRC’s humanitarian diplomacy. At the internal level, he attends to the cohesion, smooth running and development of the organization.
Peter Maurer was born in Thun, Switzerland, in 1956. He studied history and international law in Bern, where he was awarded a doctorate. In 1987 he entered the Swiss diplomatic service, where he held various positions in Bern and Pretoria before being transferred to New York in 1996 as deputy permanent observer at the Swiss mission to the United Nations. In 2000 he was appointed ambassador and head of the human security division in the political directorate of the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs in Bern.
In 2004 Mr Maurer was appointed ambassador and permanent representative of Switzerland to the United Nations in New York. In this position, he worked to integrate Switzerland, which had only recently joined the United Nations, into multilateral networks. In June 2009, the UN General Assembly elected Mr Maurer chairman of the Fifth Committee, in charge of administrative and budgetary affairs. In addition, he was elected chairman of the Burundi configuration of the UN Peacebuilding Commission. In January 2010 Mr Maurer was appointed secretary of State for foreign affairs in Bern and took over the reins of the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs, with its five directorates and some 150 Swiss diplomatic missions around the world. He succeeded Jakob Kellenberger as ICRC president on 1 July 2012.
Christine Beerli was born in 1953. A member of a law firm in Biel, Ms Beerli began her political career on that city's municipal council, where she served from 1980 to 1983. From 1986 to 1991 she was a member of the legislative assembly of the Canton of Bern.
In 1991 she was elected to the upper house of the Swiss parliament, where she remained until 2003, chairing the foreign affairs committee (1998-99) and the committee for social security and health (2000-2001). Ms Beerli chaired the caucus of the Free Democratic Party in Switzerland's federal assembly from 1996 to 2003. She also served on committees dealing with security policy and economic and legal affairs. She retired from politics in 2003. Since 1 January 2006 she has headed Swissmedic, the Swiss supervisory authority for therapeutic products. She is a former director of the School of Engineering and Information Technology at Bern University of Applied Sciences.
Olivier Vodoz was born in 1943. He is a barrister and a member of the board of directors of the Union Bancaire Privée, a private investment bank in Geneva. He is also on the board of directors of the Swiss insurance company Helvetia Patria and Geneva's Heritage Bank & Trust. He is a senior member of the foundation for the theology faculty at the University of Geneva and is active in various other cultural and humanitarian foundations.
Mr Vodoz became a member of the ICRC in 1998. He serves on the ICRC's Audit Committee and its Recruitment Commission. He also heads the Empress Shôken Fund. Since 1 January 2006 he has been serving as ICRC vice-president, a task he shoulders in addition to his professional activities.
Mr Vodoz is a past president of the Geneva Liberal Party. From 1977 to 1989 he was a member of Geneva's cantonal Parliament and from 1989 to 1997 a member of the cantonal State Council. He has also been a member of the council supervising the practice of psychiatry and has headed the commission supervising the conduct of the Geneva police force.