The Global Initiative Network

GI-TOC Staff Member, GIN Member

Maria Anjos Sapina

Senior Executive in the conduct of Humanitarian Operations and Policy

Maria Anjos Sapina, a double Swiss and Portuguese national, joined the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in November 1990, serving the institution for 27 years in several senior executive positions both in the field and at the Headquarters in Geneva.

From her field missions such as the one in Somalia starting in 1991-1992, she developed a keen interest in understanding the emerging dynamics of armed groups in a stateless environment, their impact on the daily life of the population and the coping mechanisms put in place.

In 1998 she set up and developed the division for the strengthening of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. During the ensuing 10 years she brought the institution to extensively engage with local partners in the conduct of humanitarian activities in situations of conflict but also in other situations of violence.

When she took the helm of ICRC operations in Latin America in 2007, she broke ground in the organization with launching in 2008 the very new engagement in favour of populations affected by violence in several urban slums in Rio de Janeiro. Such an engagement was consolidated and expanded to several countries in the Americas during the following decade, including Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and also Venezuela with increased association with local partners.

Mrs. Sapina was also Deputy Director of Operations in charge of Global Affairs and Policy, overseeing the ICRC work concerning policy on operational issues of global nature, as well as the institution-wide project “Health care in danger” as well as the specific efforts of global networking for operational purposes.

Mrs. Sapina obtained her University degree in English and French Studies in the European University in Lisbon, Portugal. She is fluent in French, English, Portuguese and Spanish.

She retired from the ICRC in December 2018 and is living in Portugal, working as an independent consultant.

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