Deputy Director-General and Head of the Humanitarian Aid Department, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Berne, Switzerland
Since October 1st, 2011, Ambassador Manuel Bessler is the Head of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Department and Vice Director of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Between 1991 and 2000, Mr. Bessler worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in different field missions, including as Legal Advisor and Head of Sub-Delegation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, Liaison and Information Delegate in Haiti, Head of Mission in Chechnya, and Head of Delegation in Iraq. In 1994 he served as Military Assistant to the Force Inspector General of the UN Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR). From 2000 to 2011, Mr. Bessler worked with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) at the UN headquarters in New York and in different field missions, including Liberia, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the occupied Palestinian territories and Pakistan. Before his work with the ICRC and the UN he practiced law in Zurich, Switzerland. Mr. Bessler is the author of several UN publications. He holds degrees from the University of Zurich and Harvard Law School.