Gichd
Position Honorary President

Email
cornelio.sommaruga(at)bluewin.ch

Working Languages English, French, German, Italian

Biography

1932Born in Rome, as son of Swiss parents from Lugano (Ticino/Switzerland)
Schools in Rome and Lugano, High School diploma in literature and humanities
Studies at the Universities of Zurich, Paris and Rome
1957Graduated with a doctorate in law from the University of Zurich (magna cum laude)
1957-59Banking in Zurich
1960-68Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs (diplomatic posts at The Hague, Bonn, Rome)
1969-73Deputy Head of the Swiss Delegation to EFTA, GATT, UNCTAD and ECE/UN in Geneva
1973-75Deputy Secretary General of EFTA in Geneva
1976-83Federal Office for External Economic Affairs in Berne (Minister plenipotentiary, Ambassador, Delegate of the Swiss Government for Trade Agreements)
1984-86State Secretary for External Economic Affairs in Berne
1987-99President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Geneva
2000Honorary Member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
2000Member of the Panel on UN Peace Operations
2000-01Member of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS)
2000-07Chairman of the Karl Popper Foundation, Zug
2000-07Member of the Board of the Open Society Institute, Budapest (Hungary)
2000-07President, then member, of the Council of the Swiss Foundation Caux - Initiatives of Change
2000-08President of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)
2000-09Member of the Board of the Accentus Foundation, Zurich
2004-05President of the Graduate Institute for International Studies, Geneva
2006-09Chairman of the Board of the International Cancer Foundation, Geneva
2006-11Member of the Board of the Foundation for the Future, Amman (Jordan)
2007Honorary Chair of the International Association Initiatives of Change, Caux (Switzerland)
2008Honorary Chair of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)

Honorary Doctorates 

University of Fribourg (Switzerland), 1985; University of Minho, Braga (Portugal), 1990; University of Bologna (Italy), 1991; University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis (France), 1992; Seoul National University (Republic of Korea), 1992; University of Geneva (Switzerland), 1997; Webster University of Saint Louis (USA), 1998; Università dell’Insubria, Como (Italy) 2008.   

Presidential Awards 

University of Tel Aviv (Israel); Comenius University, Bratislava (Slovakia); Karl's University, Prague (Czech Republic); Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award, Tufts University, Boston (USA), 2003; University for Peace, San José (Costarica), 2009.

1996Prize of the International Human Rights Society, Berne
2001North - South Prize of the Council of Europe
2003 Prize of the Foreign Press Association in Switzerland for the most popular Swiss personality
2008Prize of the Cardinal Van Thuàn Foundation of the Pontifical Council Justitia et Pace, Vatican 
2009Henry Dunant Medal of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, Nairobi
2011Prix de la Tolérance Marcel Rudloff, Strasbourg
             
1977-78President of the UN Economic Commission for Europe
1982-84Co-Chairman of the Commissione consultiva culturale Italo-Svizzera


State Decorations of Belgium, France, Holy See, Italy, Iceland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Sweden

Red Cross and Red Crescent Awards from numerous National Societies

Married, four daughters, two sons, 16 grandchildren.

Conferences and publications