You are here: About Us:Who We Are


Leaders and Thinkers for the World of Humanitarian Need

The Global Humanitarian Forum is a small group of individuals, based at Villa Rigot in Geneva, who are committed to finding innovative ways to solve the toughest humanitarian challenges in the world. Some of us are experts in the issues we deal with. Some are organizers. Some are communicators. All are thinkers, and all work hard to set a tone and provide a platform for humanitarian discussion that can result in bold and effective action.

The president of the Global Humanitarian Forum is former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.


Day-to-day leadership comes from CEO and Director General Walter Fust, former director general of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation.



The Forum is guided by its Foundation Board, consisting of two dozen of the world’s leading thinkers and actors on humanitarian issues.

The staff of the Global Humanitarian Forum come from 13 countries.


Although the working language is English, work is often conducted in French, German and other languages.


Staff members hold graduate degrees in fields ranging from international relations and politics to journalism, business and oceanography.


Before coming to the Forum, staff members worked for businesses, governments and non-profit organizations around the world.



A non-profit foundation under Swiss law, the Forum was launched in late 2007 by Kofi Annan and Swiss Foreign Minister and then President, Micheline Calmy-Rey. 

The idea to create a Global Humanitarian Forum arose from a study commissioned by the Swiss foreign ministry and carried out by the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Geneva.


The study aimed at identifying ways of strengthening the links between the various international communities in Geneva. One of its recommendations was the creation of a Forum able to reflect on how to boost the performance of the humanitarian system as a whole while reinforcing links between wide-ranging international actors.


The Secretariat is based in Geneva, home to the European Headquarters of the United Nations and a large number of humanitarian, trade, health, development, scientific, information and communication organizations, as well as 161 diplomatic missions.


The Secretariat is housed in the eighteenth century Villa Rigot, which was a gift to Geneva from John D. Rockefeller. The Villa is sited just steps away from the Place des Nations in the heart of international Geneva.

Read about some of the history of Villa Rigot.(pdf, 1.07 MB)

Terms of Use | Legal | Copyright 2009 by Global Humanitarian Forum | Login