In Conversation with ICRC in Washington's Outgoing Head of Delegation Francois Stamm

After nearly five years heading the Regional Delegation for the U.S. & Canada here in Washington, D.C., Francois Stamm's tenure is coming to an end.  Beginning in late August, he will move on to head the delegation for South Sudan, based in Juba.

In his role in Washington, Francois Stamm has overseen all aspects of the delegations's outreach, from our working relationships with the governments of the U.S. and Canada to detention visits in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  In addition, he works closely with both National Societies, the American and Canadian Red Crosses, and serves as the ICRC's representative to the public at large in both countries.

Before his time in Washington, Francois served as Head of Regional Delegation for India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the Maldives, overseeing visits to prisoners in Kashmir and carrying out a range of humanitarian activities in other violence-prone areas of the subcontinent. He has also worked for the ICRC in a host of other operational contexts over his 30+ years of service, including Cambodia, the Philippines, Zambia, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and Macedonia as well as time at headquarters in Geneva.

Before his departure at the end of next week, we sat down with Francois to gain his perspective and insights on both his time in Washington and his nearly three decade career with the ICRC.  You can also listen to his conversation with Brigadier General (US Army, ret.) Rich Gross from our Story Corps project back in November 2014. 

In the first part of our conversation, Francois talks about how the role of the delegation has changed since 9/11, the evolving face of warfare, the relationship with the US military, challenges facing the humanitarian sector and how his nearly 30 years of experience with the ICRC has shaped him.

In the second part of our conversation, Francois takes a more personal view of his time in Washington and the ICRC. He discusses the stories and people that after nearly 30 years in the ICRC will remain with him forever, how ICRC maintains our value in an overcrowded humanitarian space, how our access and independence is our greatest differentiating value and the challenges facing the humanitarian field.

Back in November 2014, the ICRC’s delegation in Washington and the American Red Cross teamed up with the world’s largest oral history initiative, StoryCorps, to collect conversations between people whose lives have been touched by the Red Cross. Take a listen to Francois Stamm's conversation with Brigadier General (US Army, ret.) Rich Gross.