Working for the International Committee of the Red Cross
On April 12, a representative from the International Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC) introduced various employment opportunities to more than 30 students and staff in the Panitza Library and elaborated on the mission and activities of the ICRC. AUBG Career Center organized the event, which allowed students to learn more about the world’s oldest humanitarian organization and its job positions.
The ICRC is a neutral, independent organization, established in 1863 and based in Geneva, which ensures humanitarian protection, acts in international emergency situations, and helps victims of armed conflict and violence. It also aims at promoting the international humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.
Tatyana Jolivet, Recruitment Consultant at ICRC’s Moscow delegation, was joined by a representative from the International Department of the Bulgarian Red Cross during the event. Jolivet played a movie, which introduced the main work of the IRCR. The movie depicted different examples of the impact of war and the casualties. People, who work for the ICRC can help reconnect families, visit prisoners, and ensure that detainees are treated humanly. ICRC helps the rebuilding of destroyed homes and offers medical help to remote communities. It is important for the organization to provide people with the means to help themselves and to reinforce their own resilience. In addition, ICRC influences policies that directly have an impact of the lives of people.
ICRC operates worldwide as it focuses on war-zones and post-conflict places.
Several students from the audience, volunteers in the Blagoevgrad branch of the Red Cross, joined the explanations by shedding light on their own work in the emergency response team.
“We have projects with first-aid and violence prevention,” explained the volunteers.
Currently the ICRC in Bulgaria works with detention centers.
Jolivet clarified that in some instances the ICRC cannot interfere without government confirmation, which was the case with the refugee issue. Regarding the detention centers, however, ICRC employees can visit prisons without witnesses and bring medicine without permission. Nevertheless, Jolivet pointed out that “We can’t free people, we are not a human rights organization.”
She continued by reaffirming that today even more civilians are affected and killed by wars and conflicts. In this regard the ICRC has four main principle activities – protection, assistance, prevention, and cooperation. The ICRC adapts to different situations and gains access to remote places and people in need, all by staying a neutral mediator. In addition, the ICRC is a promoter of soft security – their staff does not carry weapons.
After reflecting on the policies and missions of the ICRC, Jolivet addressed the job opportunities in the organization, which employs around 16 000 people in more than 80 countries. The ICRC has two main types of staff – resident and mobile. Relying on one of the main principles – neutrality, the ICRC’s staff abroad cannot work or be sent to a country, which is in a conflict with their native one.
The ICRC is currently recruiting people from different fields. The organization is looking for doctors, surgeons, anesthetists, prosthetist-orthotists, and health delegates. They are also employing water and habitat engineers, logistics specialists, and agronomists. The positions applicable to the AUBG community are delegates, communication delegates, and interpreters or translators. The ICRC also offers paid internships in Geneva, which are highly competitive.
Jolivet elaborated on the position of a delegate. The minimum age to work for the ICRC is 25 years with two years of valid experience. Applicants should have university education and excellent command of English and French.
“When I say this age limit, students become immediately frustrated, but time passes by quickly. Also without French, it is unlikely you will make a career within ICRC,” shared Jolivet.
A valuable bonus would be relevant volunteering experience. Candidates should be able to work under pressure in a potentially dangerous environment, should be adaptable, organized, responsible, and highly motivated to do humanitarian work.
People with unique languages like some African or Oriental ones can be assigned as interpreters.
“You need to have a good combination of languages, relevant for us. Three languages are ideal,” explained Jolivet. The ICRC has six working languages and 20 needed because of the countries where the ICRC is mainly occupied. According to Jolivet, knowing an extraordinary language is the “easiest way to enter the organization”.
In the process of evaluation, candidates go over language tests and interviews. If they pass this stage, they undergo training and integration courses, held in Geneva. During the first two years of working for the ICRC, the employees cannot choose their destination and mission, nor take their families with them.
The ICRC offers job opportunities for people eager to engage in humanitarian work, ensure rapid, rational and much needed help to victims of war conflicts all over the world, and to work in a multicultural environment.
“It was disappointing that you have to be 25 to work in these positions,” shared Borislav Baev, a second-year student.
“Besides that, everything else was really interesting and I plan someday to try for a position of a delegate. I liked that they did not share the amount of the salaries that they offer, because I do not think that people striving for monetary incentives should enter such an organization. I hope to see more organizations like this in AUBG,” he added.