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ICRC names new president

19-10-2011 News Release 11/216

Geneva (ICRC) – At its meeting on 17 October, the Assembly of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the organization's governing body, appointed Peter Maurer as the ICRC's next president.

Mr Maurer succeeds Jakob Kellenberger, the ICRC president since 2000, who expressed the wish to retire at the end of his third term as head of the organization. The incoming president will take up his responsibilities on 1 July 2012 for a renewable four-year term.

Mr Maurer is currently Switzerland's State secretary for foreign affairs, a position he has held since January 2010. In this position, he directs the activities of the Swiss diplomatic service at its Berne headquarters and in its approximately 150 embassies and other diplomatic missions around the world.

Mr Kellenberger will be leaving after three terms in office. He will have served as president from 1 January 2000 to 30 June 2012, a period during which the nature of armed conflict changed significantly and the ICRC had to adapt its activities accordingly.

Under Mr Kellenberger's presidency, the ICRC expanded its operations and broadened their scope to enhance the humanitarian services it provides for victims of armed conflict and other violence. In addition, it significantly internationalized and diversified its staff, both at headquarters and in the field, to be able to provide a swifter, more professional, and more appropriate humanitarian response in complex emergencies.

Short biography of Peter Maurer:

Peter Maurer was born in Thoune, Switzerland, in 1956. He studied history and international law in Berne, where he was awarded a Ph.D. In 1987 he entered the Swiss diplomatic service, where he held various positions in Berne 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 division in charge of human security at the headquarters of Switzerland's foreign ministry in Berne.

In 2004 Mr Maurer was appointed ambassador and permanent representative of Switzerland to the United Nations in New York. In this position, he endeavoured to integrate Switzerland, which had only recently joined the United Nations, into multilateral networks. In June 2009, the General Assembly elected Mr Maurer chairman of the Fifth Committee, in charge of UN administrative and budgetary affairs. In addition, he was elected chairman of the Burundi Configuration of the UN Peacebuilding Commission. In January 2010 Mr Maurer took up his current duties as Switzerland's State secretary for foreign affairs.

Mr Maurer is married and is the father of two children.

For further information, please contact:
Carla Haddad Mardini, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 05 or +41 79 217 32 26


Peter Maurer 

Peter Maurer