ANTALYA, NOVEMBER 6 – Italian lawyer and humanitarian, Francesco Rocca, was today elected the new President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) by his peers from 178 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies that were present at the IFRC General Assembly in Antalya, Turkey.
The new President paid tribute to the courage and dedication of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers around the world, and vowed to focus on ensuring they have greater support.
“We owe it to them to change and to strengthen our capacity,” he said. “One of the first things I will focus on is addressing any integrity issues within our network. We owe it to our volunteers who risk their lives every day. We owe it to the communities who look to us for support, when no one else can help. And we owe it to the people around the world who look to the Red Cross and Red Crescent as signs of hope.”
Mr Rocca’s election comes at a critical juncture for the IFRC and the wider humanitarian community. Aid organizations are responding to a range of complex and global challenges, and are struggling to respond to rising needs while balancing increasingly constrained budgets. The new President will play an important role in ensuring that Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies can continue to support the most vulnerable and isolated.
Mr Rocca joined the Italian Red Cross in 2008, taking over as National President in 2013. He has built the Italian Red Cross into the country’s pre-eminent humanitarian organization, with Red Cross volunteers and staff playing leading roles in response to earthquakes and the ongoing arrival of vulnerable migrants.
He has been a strong advocate on behalf of vulnerable migrants, calling consistently on political leaders to put the safety and dignity of people at the centre of their migration policies.
A lawyer by training, Rocca started his professional career fighting organized crime. He then moved into health administration. In 2013, he was elected Vice President for Europe of IFRC.
Mr Rocca will take over from Tadateru Konoé who is completing his second term.
The General Assembly also elected four Vice-Presidents: Mr Abdoul Azize Diallo (Senegal), Mr Miguel Angel Villarroel Sierraalta (Venezuela), Mr Chen Zhu (China) and Dr Kenem Kinik (Turkey). (@OnuItalia)