David Miliband, Former UK Foreign Secretary, Appointed President of International Rescue Committee

Mar 27, 2013, 03:00 ET from International Rescue Committee

NEW YORK, March 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The International Rescue Committee (IRC) today announced the appointment of David Miliband, 47, former Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, as its president and CEO, effective September this year. He will succeed George Rupp, who has led the global humanitarian relief and development organization since stepping down as president of Columbia University in 2002. 

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Over the last 15 years, Miliband has had a distinguished political career in the United Kingdom. From 2007 to 2010, he served as the youngest U.K. Foreign Secretary in three decades, driving advancements in human rights and representing the United Kingdom throughout the world. In 2006, as U.K. Secretary of State for the Environment, he spearheaded the groundbreaking Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill, establishing the world's first legally binding framework for reducing carbon emissions.

"I am deeply honored to have been appointed president of the IRC," Miliband said. "Thanks to the leadership of George Rupp, the dedication of its staff and the confidence of its donors, the IRC today is strong, effective and widely respected, and I am committed to helping the IRC team build on their great work. The IRC's mission is personal for me because my own parents were refugees who arrived in Britain in the 1940s. I look forward to honoring the memory of those who helped my parents by leading the IRC as it continues to offer help today to uprooted people around the world. I will bring to the IRC a passionate commitment to social justice and international cooperation. I am eager to listen to the stories of its diverse staff, beneficiaries, partners and funders, and adding ideas of my own, as we chart a confident future for an organization that has an inspirational past."

"David is an experienced world leader and a man of both action and character," Rupp said, "as his record as Foreign Secretary—including his work for conflict resolution in the former Yugoslavia, his leadership in calling for a political settlement in Afghanistan, and his drive for education reform in Pakistan and human rights in Sri Lanka—attests. His insights, ability and commitment will be tremendous assets. I look forward to witnessing this next exciting chapter of the IRC's incredible journey of helping the most desperate people move from harm to home."

"The IRC was looking for a proven leader with the ability to project our message, deepen our partnerships and build on our record of innovation on behalf of displaced people around the world," said Sarah O'Hagan and Thomas Schick, co-chairs of the IRC's Board of Directors. "In David Miliband we have found such a leader."

During the last decade, the IRC has responded to a wide range of humanitarian crises, including those associated with the civil war in Syria, the war in Iraq, the conflict in Darfur, the drought and famine in the Horn and East Africa and more recently the Sahel, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2008 cyclone in Myanmar and earthquakes in Pakistan, Haiti and Japan. The IRC has also carried out major development and assistance programs in Afghanistan, Congo, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Thailand and elsewhere. In addition, the agency has helped more than 75,000 refugees begin new lives in the United States over the last decade. Founded in 1933 at the suggestion of Albert Einstein to help victims of the Nazis, the IRC today has operations in more than 40 countries. Its staff includes more than 12,000 men and women around the world, and nearly 1,300 volunteers in its 22 U.S. refugee resettlement offices. The IRC's budget is expected to exceed $440 million during the current fiscal year. 

David Miliband is currently Member of Parliament representing South Shields. He is Co-Chair of the Global Ocean Commission. Before serving as Foreign Secretary and Secretary of State for the Environment, he was Minister for Communities and Local Government (2005–2006); Minister for Schools (2002–2004); and Head of Downing Street's Number 10 Policy Unit (1997–2001).

Miliband graduated from Oxford University in 1987 with a first class degree in philosophy, politics and economics, and received his master's degree in political science in 1989 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which he attended as a Kennedy Scholar. He is married to the violinist Louise Shackelton and they have two sons. His office will be located at the IRC's global headquarters in New York.

About the International Rescue Committee

A global leader in humanitarian assistance for 80 years, the International Rescue Committee works in more than 40 countries offering help and hope to refugees and others impacted by violent conflict and disaster. During crises, IRC teams provide health care, shelter, clean water, sanitation, learning programs for children and special aid for women. As emergencies subside, the IRC stays to revive livelihoods and help shattered communities recover and rebuild. Every year, the IRC also helps resettle thousands of refugees admitted into the United States, in 22 cities across the country. A tireless advocate for the most vulnerable, the IRC is committed to restoring hope, dignity and opportunity. For more information, visit http://www.rescue.org.

Forbes named the IRC as one of five "all-star" charities in its November 2012 list of the 100 largest charities. The watchdog groups Charity Navigator and CharityWatch, formerly the American Institute of Philanthropy, give the IRC their highest ratings, and it meets all standards of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance. 

SOURCE International Rescue Committee