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Bekele Geleta

Geleta Bekele
Website: Personal profile at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Bekele Geleta is the Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.Having worked with vulnerable populations for more than 20 years, Bekele has extensive experience in policy advice, management and administration in humanitarian organizations. However, it is his first-hand knowledge – having been a political prisoner and refugee himself – that helps him truly understand the people served by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.Bekele’s involvement with the Movement began when he served as Secretary General of the Ethiopian Red Cross from 1984-88. Under his leadership, the organization improved its operational efficiency and was able to help significantly more people affected by drought - increasing the number of beneficiaries supported from 100,000 to one million.From 1974 to 1977, he worked as General Manager of the Franco-Ethiopian Railway Company. However, he was then held as a political prisoner in his home country from 1978 to 1982. After his release, he worked as an Urban Development Officer for Irish Concern International. After three years (1989-1991) as Vice Minister of Transport and Communications, he joined the Ethiopian government’s diplomatic section, and held the position of Ambassador of Ethiopia to Japan in 1992.In addition to his experience with the Movement, Bekele worked as a programme manager with Care International in Kenya in 1994. In this role he worked closely with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to develop community self-management practices, introduce public education and awareness systems, and support relief and development activities.Further along in his career, Bekele worked for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (1995-2007) where from 2004-2007 he was the Head of Regional Delegation for South East Asia in Bangkok and from 1995-2003 served as the Head of Africa Department.In 2007 he was appointed General Manager of International Operations for the Canadian Red Cross at its headquarters in Ottawa. He was responsible for overseeing international programmes and activities including disaster and emergency response, development projects and overseas personnel.On 1 July 2008, Bekele took over the position of Secretary General of the IFRC, after being appointed by its Governing Board.Bekele holds a Masters in economics from Leeds University and a BA in politics and economics from Addis Ababa University.