Geneva, 11 December 2023: American humanitarian and businesswoman, Kate Forbes, was elected the new President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today.
Kate Forbes's election as President of the IFRC is a historic moment, marking her as only the second woman to hold this position. This milestone underscores the IFRC's continued commitment to diversity and gender equality in its leadership.
Upon her election, Forbes said, “Communities around the world are witnessing the impacts of climate change, geopolitical tensions and health emergencies. We know the challenges of our modern world demand addressing multiple issues at once. Now is the time to lean into our fundamental principles to deliver on our mission and make communities stronger.”
Forbes's presidency marks a pivotal shift towards addressing the complexities of the modern world. A key area of focus under her leadership will be tackling the urgent issues of climate change and migration. Local solutions and community empowerment are at the forefront of her agenda. She understands the critical role local actors play in humanitarian aid and is dedicated to working closely with local leaders to address their most pressing needs.
Additional priorities include youth engagement and financial sustainability. She aims to leverage the potential of young volunteers, acknowledging their crucial role in the organization. Strengthening relationships with governments and donors is a cornerstone of her vision for the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
The role of IFRC President is a volunteer position, one that Forbes is well-prepared for, given her extensive background. She comes with over four decades of experience with the IFRC network, beginning her journey as a local volunteer at the Phoenix chapter of the American Red Cross. These roles include Vice-Chairman of the American Red Cross Board of Directors and National Chairperson of Volunteers, where she managed over one million volunteers.
An auditor by training, Forbes has been a member of the IFRC Board for the past 17 years. She most recently served as Chairperson of the IFRC Audit and Risk Commission. In this role, she increased transparency, implemented stronger financial controls and established safeguarding policies across the organization. Kate Forbes's election as President is a significant step forward for the IFRC, signaling a new leadership ready to focus on integrity and accountability.
For more information or to request interviews with President Forbes, contact: [email protected]
Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67
Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06