Mirjana Spoljaric Egger assumed the presidency of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Saturday, 1 October, succeeding the outgoing president, Peter Maurer.
Upon taking up her new role, President Spoljaric said:
“I am honoured and humbled to be stepping into the role of president of the International Committee of the Red Cross. At a time when new and protracted conflicts trigger immeasurable human tragedy, and as climate change assails the most vulnerable, the humanitarian work of the ICRC and our International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners is sorely needed.
“It is not acceptable to me that people flee conflict in fear, go hungry or face abuse. The ICRC president works for these communities, and I pledge to represent their voices and needs to those with the power to act. While the world’s attention can wane, the ICRC must work to aid and protect people for as long as needed, and we must rely on and promote the protective power of international humanitarian law to do so.
“I have long admired the practical, lifesaving, community-based work that ICRC staff and the staff and volunteers of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement carry out. I am beyond thrilled to join them. Over the coming months it will be a priority for me to listen to community members in conflict-affected areas and to our hard-working staff around the globe.”
Ms Spoljaric most recently served as the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator of the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), and director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Earlier Ms Spoljaric served in several assignments in the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in Bern, and as Counsellor and Head of the Political Team at the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations in New York.
From 2010-2012, Ms Spoljaric was seconded to the Office of the Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as senior adviser covering organizational development, management reforms, and external relations. Earlier in her career Ms Spoljaric worked in the Embassy of Switzerland in Cairo, Egypt, and was desk officer at the Foreign Economic Affairs Directorate (International Finance Institutions) of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
Ms Spoljaric studied philosophy, economics and international law at the Universities of Basel and Geneva and holds a master’s degree. From 2004-06 she was a part-time lecturer on global governance at the University of Lucerne. Ms Spoljaric speaks fluent German, English, French and Croatian.