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Jakob Kellenberger Edit Profile

Organization president

Jakob Kellenberger is a former Swiss diplomat and former president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Background

Jakob Kellenberger was born in the Swiss canton of Appenzell in 1943.

Education

Kellenberger studied French and Spanish literature at the University of Zurich. During his studies, he spent some time in Tours, France, and Grenada, Spain. He wrote his undergraduate dissertation on Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his doctoral thesis on the Spanish playwright Pedro Calderón de la Barca. He completed his studies with a doctorate in literature from the University of Zurich.

Career

Jakob Kellenberger entered the Swiss diplomatic service in 1974. He was posted to Madrid, then to Brussels and subsequently to London. From 1984 to 1992, he headed the joint office of the Swiss Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs in charge of the relations to the European Union and EFTA, and in 1988, he was promoted from the diplomatic rank of minister to that of ambassador. From 1989 to 1991, he headed the transport negotiations (transit) with the European Community on the Swiss side. In 1992, Kellenberger was appointed Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. From 1992 to 1999, he held the posts of Secretary of State and head of the Directorate of Political Affairs within the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. From 1994 to 1998, he was also coordinator and chief negotiator for Switzerland's sector-by-sector bilateral negotiations with the European Union.

On 1 January 2010, Jakob Kellenberger was appointed president of the ICRC, a humanitarian organization that, as of July 2011, has some 13,000 staff and a network of over 200 delegations. The scope of the ICRC's operations expanded considerably during his term in office.

Jakob Kellenberger set great store by a clear strategy for the organization and the adoption of clear positions in a rapidly changing environment. He made a major contribution to achieving those goals.

Jakob Kellenberger lectures at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University of Salamanca.

Achievements

  • Jakob Kellenberger set great store by a clear strategy for the organization and the adoption of clear positions in a rapidly changing environment. He made a major contribution to achieving those goals.

Works

  • article

    • International Humanitarian Law and Other Legal Regimes: Interplay in Situations of Violence. In: International Review of the Red Cross. 851/2003. ICRC, S. 645-653, ISSN 1560-7755

    • Verantwortung in einer solidarischen Weltgemeinschaft, Frank-Walter Steinmeier und Jakob Kellenberger im Gespräch, in: Mensch, wo bist Du? 32. Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag, Bremen 2009. Gutersleh Verlagshaus, Gutersleh 2009

    • The ICRC's response to internal displacement: Strengths, challenges and constraints, in: International Review of the Red Cross, September 2009, Volume 91, Number 875

    • Politicisation of humanitarian work? in: the Humanitarian Response Index 2010, DARA, Madrid 2010

  • book

    • Humanitäres Völkerrecht, Verlag Huber, Frauenfeld/Stuttgart/Wien 2010

  • Interview

    • Jakob Kellenberger, Diplomat und IKRK-President, im Gespräch mit Hansjörg Erny, Zytglogge Verlag, Bern 2006

    • Gespräch mit Hans Magnus Enzensberger (Die Lügner des Gutes), in: Robert Dempfer Das Rote Kreuz. Von Helden im Rampenlicht und diskreten Helfern, Dentike, Wien 2009, S. 204-222

Connections

While still a student, Kellenberger married Elisabeth Jossi. They have two daughters, Eleonore and Christina.

wife:
Elisabeth Kellenberger-Jossi

daughter:
Eleonore

daughter:
Christina