Red Cross elects first female president

Mirjana Spoljaric Egger has extensive experience as a Swiss diplomat and UN official. Keystone / Peter Schneider

The Swiss-run International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has elected Mirjana Spoljaric Egger as its next president.

This content was published on November 25, 2021 - 10:54

The ICRC’s governing body, known as the Assembly, announced on Thursday that it had elected Spoljaric Egger to take over from Peter Maurer, who will step down from September 2022 after ten years in office.

She is the first woman to hold the position since the ICRC was founded almost 160 years ago.

In a statementExternal link, Spoljaric Egger said she would work hard to “embody the humanitarian values that the organisation is built on” to help communities affected by conflict and violence.

Maurer, who like Spoljaric Egger was a former top Swiss diplomat, said she would bring to the organisation “strategic vision, strong international experience and an extensive diplomatic background”.

“She is an accomplished leader, and I am confident that she will be a powerful and compassionate advocate for people affected by armed conflict and violence,” he said in a statementExternal link.

Spoljaric Egger is currently assistant secretary-general and assistant administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). She heads the UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

She previously worked as head of the United Nations and International Organisations Division at the foreign ministry in Bern, where she helped shape Swiss UN policies and priorities.

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