The International Rescue Committee provides relief around the world




DAVID MILIBAND - graduated from Oxford University in 1987 with a first class degree in philosophy, politics and economics, and received his master’s degree in political science in 1989 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which he attended as a Kennedy Scholar. He is married to the violinist Louise Shackelton and they have two sons. Miliband’s parents fled from their home in Belgium to England in the 1940s. As the son of refugees, he brings a personal commitment to the IRC's work.




According to a BBC news report the offices of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in eastern Ukraine have been closed down by pro-Russian rebels who accused it of spying.

Staff working for the aid organisation were briefly detained as their office in the rebel held city of Donetsk was raided and searched by masked gunmen. Several employees were then put on a coach to the capital Kiev.

The IRC - led by former British Foreign Minister David Miliband - has not so far commented on the expulsions. A spokeswoman said the group was concentrating on ensuring its staff - expats and Ukrainians - were "safe and sound".

The BBC's Tom Burridge reports from eastern Ukraine that the gunmen apparently worked for the state security ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR).



Russia's Interfax news agency cited a DPR security ministry spokesman accusing the IRC of concealing "eavesdropping equipment" in their Donetsk office.

The spokesman claimed that "foreigners regularly travelled to Ukraine, but not in order to accompany [the IRC on] humanitarian missions".

"Foreign employees established contact with officials in DPR ministries and agencies, showing interest in obtaining information about the situation in the republic," he said.

He also accused the agency of "hiring DPR citizens for work without signing agreements with them, evading the payment of taxes into the DPR budget".

IRC says its mission is to help people whose lives have been shattered by conflict and disaster, and says its humanitarian work in eastern Ukraine includes the provision of women's hygiene and safety equipment.

Heavily armed rebels have been fighting government forces for a year in Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The West says Russia has armed the rebels and sent in regular soldiers - an accusation echoed by independent experts. Moscow insists that any Russians on the rebel side are volunteers.

Separately, Russia has criticised French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for their decision to boycott a World War Two victory parade on 9 May in Moscow because of their misgivings over Russia's actions in Ukraine.

"I think it's an ill-considered decision that contradicts the interests of both France and Germany," Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying on Wednesday.





The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a global humanitarian aid, relief and development nongovernmental organization. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers emergency aid and long-term assistance to refugees and those displaced by war, persecution or natural disaster. The IRC is currently working in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities where it resettles refugees and helps them become self-sufficient.

Composed of first responders, humanitarian relief workers, international development experts, health care providers, and educators, the IRC has assisted millions of people around the world since its founding in 1933.




IAN BONE - Thought he’d misheard (27-3-13) the news that David Miliband is to join ‘International Rescue.’ He went on: David I don’t know what your brother told you but its A PUPPET SHOW – ITS THUNDERBIRDS – INTERNATIONAL RESCUE – its not real. But Miliband has that jerky, rigid, rictus smile [posterially implanted sweeping implement] stiffness that would suit Thunderbirds so maybe he’s auditioned [for Mr Tracy]. What’s the career progression after Thunderbirds? Mission Impossible.



David and Ed Miliband with Lady Penelope


INDEPENDENTLY - David Miliband quits to join International Rescue Committee: The ‘Thunderbirds are go’ reaction. The former foreign secretary announced this morning that he was quitting as MP for South Shields.

The news comes two and a half years after the bruising Labour leadership battle which pitted the Miliband brothers against each other and was won by a whisker by Ed. Labour leader Ed Miliband said today that British politics will be "a poorer place" without his brother David.

As he's set to join the International Rescue Committee humanitarian organisation in New York, Twitter has been inundated with Thunderbirds jokes and pictures.

As well as our own Photoshopping efforts above, here are some other reactions (and more impressive Photoshopping): @davidschneider Here's the picture! David Miliband's first day in his new job (via HuffPostUKCom Simonhume)

Updated: How David Miliband's first day in his new job might look

@RAPP_UK David Miliband turns his back on politics to join the International Rescue gang on Tracy Island. THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!

@‏TheMichaelMoranDavid Miliband reveals new International Rescue team — 




TWITPIC - Everyone seems to have had the same, irresistible, idea. Who can blame them. It's just a bit of harmless media fun - and is sure to boost David's career, especially as under his guidance the IRC is performing remarkably well.





The current president and CEO of the IRC is David Miliband, formerly British Foreign Secretary.

Until September 2013, the previous president was George Erik Rupp, who had formerly been the president of Columbia University and Rice University. It had been announced on 27 March 2013 that Miliband would succeed Rupp in September 2013.

The organization is governed by a volunteer unpaid board of directors. A companion body, the IRC overseers, provides counsel to the board on matters of policy, fundraising and advocacy.

The IRC has some high-profile people among its overseers, including Madeleine Albright, Kofi Annan, Tom Brokaw, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, Liv Ullmann and Elie Wiesel.

In addition to its New York headquarters, the IRC also has European headquarters in London, Geneva and Brussels.

As of March 2010, the IRC had over 8,000 staff members.

The IRC has been awarded high marks by charity watchdog groups and major publications for the efficient use of its financial support and the effectiveness of its work. The American Institute of Philanthropy gives the IRC an A+ rating; the Forbes Investment Guide named the IRC one of 10 gold star charities, and in its 2009 review of American charities, Forbes magazine gave the IRC high ratings for program and fundraising efficiency; Charity Navigator gives the IRC its top rating of four stars; and the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance reports that the IRC meets all of its 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.






The IRC delivers a number of services, including emergency response, health care, programs fighting gender-based violence, post-conflict development projects, children and youth protection and education programs, water and sanitation systems, strengthening the capacity of local organizations, and supporting civil society and good-governance initiatives.

For refugees afforded sanctuary in the United States, IRC resettlement offices across the country provide a range of assistance aimed at helping new arrivals settling, adjusting and acquiring the skills to become self-sufficient.

The IRC also engages in advocacy efforts on behalf of the oppressed and displaced, and its annual Freedom Award recognizes “extraordinary contributions to the cause of refugees and human freedom."

The IRC is currently spearheading a campaign urging the United States to pass the International Violence Against Women Act, which is now before Congress. The organization is also advocating for the United States to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; 193 nations have signed this UN convention. The only other non-signer, Somalia, has announced plans to ratify the convention soon.




The IRC maintains an Emergency Response Team of 17 specialists who assess survival needs and mount responses to sudden or protracted emergencies.

The team includes coordinators, logisticians, doctors, and water and sanitation experts. It also includes specialists who focus on human rights protection, the special needs of children in crisis, the prevention of sexual violence, and aid for rape survivors.

Emergency Response Team members remain on standby to deploy to a crisis within 72 hours, whether they are launching new relief efforts or lending support to IRC teams already on the ground. Equipment and supplies are pre-positioned in key transport hubs so that the materials can be dispatched anywhere in the world on short notice. The IRC also maintains a kit with inventory necessary for the startup of an emergency program in a remote location, as well as a roster of IRC employees and qualified external personnel who are available on short notice for emergency deployment.

Recent IRC Emergency Response Team deployments include Darfur, Indonesia after the South Asian tsunami, Myanmar after the 2008 cyclone, and Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.




During emergencies, the IRC endeavors to rapidly reduce illness and death rates to normal levels. When the conflict subsides, the IRC works with displaced individuals and communities to rebuild their health systems.

IRC health programs assist approximately 13 million people in 25 countries, focusing on primary health care, reproductive health care, environmental health, child survival, blindness treatment and prevention, and assistance for victims of sexual violence.

The IRC works in various settings such as in refugee camps, in disaster-stricken areas and in host countries where refugees have resettled after a conflict.




Gender-based violence is any harm perpetrated against a person based on power inequalities resulting from gender roles. The overwhelming majority of cases involve women and girls. The IRC’s gender-based anti-violence programs aim to meet the safety, health, psychosocial and justice needs of women and girls who are survivors of or vulnerable to gender-based violence. In partnership with communities and institutions, the IRC works to empower communities to lead efforts that challenge beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that perpetuate or condone violence against women and girls.

IRC programs implement and support social work services to help individual survivors of gender-based violence, economic empowerment activities to support survivors of violence and women and girls at-risk of violence, community education and mobilization projects around gender-based violence, training and capacity-building for NGOs and governments, coordination of humanitarian services, and advocacy efforts to advance laws preventing violence against women, and the enforcement of policies ensuring survivors’ access to care and legal justice.




The IRC assists with post-conflict recovery by supporting conflict-impacted communities and countries in their transition to sustainable peace and development.

In addition to the provision of humanitarian assistance, IRC post-conflict development projects aim to restore and strengthen physical and social institutions, as well as rebuild and restore social cohesion.

Program areas include social programs emphasizing rebuilding the health, public infrastructure and education sectors; gender-based violence programs; economic recovery and development programs; and governance programs that support civil society, enhance protection and the rule of law, and rebuild ties between governments and their constituencies.




The IRC promotes the protection and development of children and youth from the early stages of an emergency through post-conflict and recovery. Its children's and youth programs include emergency care; formal and non-formal education; rehabilitation and community reintegration of former child soldiers; psychosocial care and protection; life skills training, recreational and cultural activities; and economic and leadership development for youth.
Resettling refugees

The IRC’s 22 regional offices help to resettle newly arrived refugees in the U.S. and provide various services to refugees, asylees and victims of human trafficking.

Resettlement services include providing immediate aid, including food and shelter; assisting with job placement and employment skills; and giving access to clothing, medical attention, education, English-language classes and community orientation.

In addition to integrating refugees into the U.S., the IRC also provides immigration services to refugees and people who have been granted asylum, as well as specialized services to victims of human trafficking in the U.S.




The IRC seeks to focus the attention of policy makers on humanitarian crises and the needs of refugees, internally displaced people and other victims of conflict.





International Rescue Committee
122 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10168 USA
Phone: +1 212 551 3000



David Miliband, co chair, Global Ocean Commission


DAVID MILIBAND - As president of the IRC David is also co-chair of the Global Ocean Commission, a group that shares many of the aims of the World Ocean Council. On 26 March 2013 the Daily Mirror reported that David would be announcing the following day that he intended to resign as an MP and leave politics altogether - a great day for humanitarian groups. He announced he was taking up a charity post as head of the International Rescue Committee in New York where his remuneration is £300,000 ($450,000) a year.


Miliband became the President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee on 1 September 2013. At the IRC, Miliband oversees humanitarian aid and development programs in 40 countries, a global staff of 12,000 and 1,300 volunteers, and an annual budget of $450 million. Near the top of the IRC, Miliband again installed his former Special Political Advisor from London, Madlin Sadler. She became the aid agency's Chief of Staff.











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Cleaner Oceans Project, SeaVax solar powered vacuum ship


THE WORLD'S LARGEST VACUUM CLEANER - This is a proposal for a robot ship that is designed to vacuum up plastic waste from the ocean based on the Bluefish ZCC concept. The vessel is solar and wind powered - and shares component with other ZCC variants. The front end (right) is modified so that there is a wide scoop area, into which plastic waste is funneled as the ship moves forward. The waste is pumped into a large holding bay after treatment, then stored until it can be off-loaded. The front of the ship sports two large wind turbines that generate electricity in combination with deck mounted solar panels to power the onboard processing machinery. The system can be semi-autonomous, such that in robot mode they vessel alerts and operational HQ to any potential problems and shares information as to progress for stake holders. The entire cleanup mission can be controlled from land, with visuals and data streams. A SeaVax ship would operate using a search program called SeaNet.








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Mantaray, ocean cleaning prototype ship