David Miliband, Former UK Foreign Secretary, Takes Helm of International Rescue Committee

Sep 03, 2013, 07:45 ET from International Rescue Committee

NEW YORK, Sept. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- David Miliband begins his new role today as President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian organization assisting millions of people in war and disaster zones around the world. He succeeds George Rupp, who stepped down after leading the IRC for the past 11 years.

Miliband has had a distinguished 15-year political career in the United Kingdom, during which time he served as its youngest foreign secretary in three decades (2007-2010), spearheaded education reform, forged groundbreaking environmental protection policies and became a leading voice for the world's disadvantaged and vulnerable populations.

At the International Rescue Committee, Miliband will be overseeing humanitarian aid and development programs in 40 countries, a global staff of 12,000 and 1,300 volunteers, and an annual budget of $450 million.

"My personal and political values and story come together in the mission of the International Rescue Committee," says Miliband, whose parents were refugees who fled to Britain in the 1940s. "I'm honored by the opportunity to lead this remarkable organization and its efforts to help uprooted people survive, recover and rebuild in the midst of conflict and strife."

Over the summer, Miliband visited IRC programs for Somali and Sudanese refugees in Kenya and Syrian refugees in Jordan.  The IRC's extensive relief efforts throughout the Syria region will be a focus of Miliband's work from day one.

"The daily civilian horror stories from Syria and the mass upheaval in the region represent a humanitarian catastrophe that's on a scale comparable to Iraq, the Balkans, Rwanda and Afghanistan," says Miliband. "I'm proud to be joining an organization at the forefront of the response inside Syria, throughout the region and in many other countries in crisis. Now is the time, in Syria and elsewhere, to take global humanitarian efforts to a new level, and I look forward to contributing to that."

Miliband resigned from Parliament last April after accepting the IRC position in late March.  In announcing his appointment, Sarah O'Hagan and Thomas Schick, co-chairs of the IRC's board of directors said, "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.  In David Miliband, we have found such a leader."

About the International Rescue Committee: A global leader in humanitarian assistance for 80 years, the International Rescue Committee works in 40 countries offering help and hope to refugees and others uprooted by disaster, conflict and oppression. 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. The IRC also helps resettle refugees given sanctuary in the United States. A tireless advocate for the most vulnerable, the IRC is committed to restoring hope, dignity and opportunity. For more information visit www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on twitter, @theIRC / @IRCpress.

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SOURCE International Rescue Committee