Foundation and Board
The purpose of the Foundation and therefore the aim and the fields of activity of cinfo are:
- Preparing and disseminating information and specialist knowledge on conditions and developments in the international cooperation labour market, in particular in development cooperation, humanitarian aid, development policy, the promotion of peace as well as human rights policy
- Regular information and documentation for public occupational advisory services, the media and other agencies in Switzerland in the above areas, including the government, cantons, communities and the private sector
- Advising interested parties and clients on professional opportunities in the field of international cooperation
- Holding regular information conferences and courses for further education and training for interested individuals and organisations on the requirements on activities in the area of international cooperation
Angelo Gnaedinger, President
Angelo Gnaedinger, lawyer and former OSCE Special Ambassador for the Southern Caucuses, worked previously for the NGO Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in the area political mediation. Until 2010 he worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross, his last position as Director General. Prior to that he worked in the Middle East and Africa, where he experienced the armed conflicts of the last decades first hand and learnt the challenges of modern management. Originally, Angelo Gnaedinger completed a law degree, was admitted to the Bar and worked for several years as a coroner.
Employees’ personal and professional qualities are decisive assets in humanitarian and development organisations. 30 years of international experience has convinced me of this. Now I want to contribute this knowledge as a member of the cinfo Foundation, so that these assets are fostered over the long-term and personnel posted abroad can optimise their competencies.
Margrit Schenker, Vice-President
Margrit Schenker was working since 2001 as Head of the Asia / Europe section of the Swiss Red Cross. For many years prior to this, she was responsible for programmes in different countries of Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe / CIS. Margrit Schenker has been a member of cinfo’s Foundation Board since 2002.
As a long serving member of the Foundation Board, I now want to help with the introduction of new Foundation members so that, when implementing the programmes 2017–2019, cinfo’s management and staff can rely on the most competent support from the Board – and ensure, as a result, that the clients and member organisations of the cinfo network are satisfied with the service provision.
Christine Beerli, Vice-President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was born in 1953. She began her professional career as a lawyer and her political career as a member of the City Council of Biel, from 1980 to 1983. From 1986 – 1991, Christine Beerli served in the Bern cantonal parliament. In 1991, she was elected to the Council of States, to which she belonged until 2003. She was, inter alia, President of the Foreign Affairs Committee and President of the Social Security and Health Committee. Christine Beerli left politics in 2003. Since 2006, she has been President of the Agency Council of Swissmedic. Previously, she was Director of the Department of Engineering and Computer Science at the Bern University of Applied Sciences for ten years.
In both humanitarian aid and development cooperation it is vital to post the right person in the right place. Technical skills and professionalism are essential but are not in themselves sufficient. Human qualities like empathy, cultural sensitivity and modesty are very important. The breadth of experience can also play a significant role. I believe cinfo can provide valuable assistance to individuals and institutions and I am very pleased to be able to contribute to the Foundation Board.
David Keller is currently Head of International Affairs at the Zurich University of the Arts. Prior to that, he served as director of the African Innovation Foundation (AIF), a private foundation active in the areas of entrepreneurial innovation, venture philanthropy and good governance. Previously, he worked for SDC, where he was responsible for the Public-Private Partnership programme, and for E2 Management Consulting AG, advising companies and foundations on sustainability and CSR strategies. David Keller lived for six years in Latin America, where he worked for the AVINA Foundation. He completed a law degree in Zurich, a global executive MBA in St. Gallen and an MBA in Toronto. Originally, David Keller trained as an opera singer.
Through my involvement in the Foundation Board, I wish to promote private sector actors as a recognised target group and stakeholders of cinfo.
Jean-Noël Wetterwald originally studied law at the University of Neuchâtel. He worked for the UN for 32 years, 30 of which he represented the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Asia, Latin America and Europe. He worked for two years in New York for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and was responsible for procuring financial resources.
Through my involvement with cinfo, I can make my experience in the multilateral world available to all Swiss interested in working in international cooperation or for the UN.
Erich Wigger, economic historian, has held the position of Head of Finance & Services and has been in the management of HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation since 2011. Prior to this, he worked for nine years as a member of the Executive Board of INTERCOOPERATION. Erich Wigger originally completed a business apprenticeship, followed by a degree in economic history in connection with economics at the University of Zurich, where he worked for several years and wrote his doctoral thesis. He subsequently worked for the Swiss Metal and Watch workers Association (SMUV) and for Movendo, the Educational Institute of Trade Unions. Erich Wigger has been involved in the Foundation Board of cinfo since 2002.
I want to bring to cinfo my extensive, professional experience of sending personnel abroad. It is equally important to me to contribute, as a Foundation Board member, to cinfo’s sustainable business management.
Anne Zwahlen taught for several years at the beginning of her career, including six years in Africa (Algeria and Niger). She then studied ethnology at the University of Neuchâtel, after which she changed career to development cooperation. She has held several positions at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) including Gender Programme Officer, member of the Section Evaluation and Controlling and, most recently, Deputy Head of West Africa.
My participation in the Foundation Board allows me to advocate and promote the profession of development cooperation, an issue of particular importance to me. I have held many different functions in SDC, but the need to acquire specific competencies to enhance basic skills has proved itself time and again. These include leadership skills, the spirit of partnership and understanding the challenges of this profession.