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Inside the Middle East: Q&A with Peter Maurer

Apr. 30, 2014 Series: Inside the Middle East

In this installment of “Inside the Middle East: Q&A,” Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, discusses the challenges to providing humanitarian assistance in Syria, the action (and inaction) of the UN Security Council in the crisis, and the politicization of aid. You can watch the interview, conducted by Jennifer Quigley-Jones, editor at the Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy, here:


Peter Maurer was born in Thun, Switzerland, in 1956. He studied history and international law in Bern, where he was awarded a doctorate. In 1987 he entered the Swiss diplomatic service, where he held various positions in Bern and Pretoria before being transferred to New York in 1996 as deputy permanent observer at the Swiss mission to the United Nations. In 2000 he was appointed ambassador and head of the human security division in the political directorate of the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs in Bern.

In 2004 Mr. Maurer was appointed ambassador and permanent representative of Switzerland to the United Nations in New York. In this position, he worked to integrate Switzerland, which had only recently joined the United Nations, into multilateral networks. In June 2009, the UN General Assembly elected Mr Maurer chairman of the Fifth Committee, in charge of administrative and budgetary affairs. In addition, he was elected chairman of the Burundi configuration of the UN Peacebuilding Commission. In January 2010 Mr. Maurer was appointed secretary of State for foreign affairs in Bern and took over the reins of the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs, with its five directorates and some 150 Swiss diplomatic missions around the world. He succeeded Jakob Kellenberger as ICRC president on July 1, 2012.

“Inside the Middle East: Q&A” is a co-production of the Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy and the Middle East Initiative. The Q&A video series brings together political scientists, policymakers, academics, politicians, historians and other social scientists for discussions of critical issues in the Middle East.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:Inside the Middle East: Q&A with Peter Maurer.” News, , April 30, 2014.