In recent years, he has been forced out of the political spotlight, but after doing a Houdini and disappearing from the World of Politics, the once distinguished politician David Miliband has emerged in a different field…
For those who are unaware of David Miliband’s presence in the political sphere and his contribution to the world of politics, his distinguished political career serves as a reminder to us all of his potential and capabilities. Elected to Parliament in 2001, from 2007-2010 David Miliband served as the UK’s Foreign Secretary, one of the youngest ever in the UK, and was described by former President of the USA, Bill Clinton, as “one of the most ablest, most creative public servants of our time”. He has held a number of political positions, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Minister of State for Communities and Local Government. After running for Labour Party leader in 2010, a role many thought he would be awarded, his brother, Ed Miliband was accused of ‘stabbing him in the back’ after employing what some described as manipulative tactics, which led him to be voted party leader. Following his defeat in sibling rivalry, David Miliband resigned from the Shadow Cabinet in late 2010 and in 2013 he resigned as an MP altogether and departed from the world of politics.
Materialising in a different domain, David Miliband was elected President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee in 2013, and thus moved to New York, USA. This pivotal position includes Miliband overseeing aid and development programmes in over 30 countries and directing an annual budget of on average $450 million.
Created over 80 years ago by scientific genius Albert Einstein, the International Rescue Committee is historically renowned for solving humanitarian crises, and attempts to aid the refugees onto a path of self-empowerment. This colossal organisation includes 4K volunteers in merely the USA and is part of a $22bn global humanitarian effort to make the world a better place.
During his speech at the 2015 annual IoD convention, regarding the IRC’s global presence, Miliband stated, “the bad news is, we’re booming”, an emotive statement, as we are currently facing a number of humanitarian crises. This gave rise to his question, “Why is it that at a time of unprecedented peace between nations more people are fleeing than ever?” to which Miliband presented his opinion, that “wars between states have been replaced by wars within states”. Regarding the International Rescue Committee’s current projects, in speaking to one of the IRC’s employees at the annual IoD convention, it was confirmed that the organisation is not only providing aid in Syria, which Miliband himself referred to as “the epicentre of the global crisis…but also in places out of headlines” such as the Congo.
In his thought-provoking and charismatic presentation at the IoD convention, David Miliband addressed key issues and contained unusual speech content, such as posing and responding to his own question, “What is on my desk?” To which he replied: “300 thousand Syrian children in Lebanon not getting an education…Liberia and Sierra Leone’s recovery from Ebola and promoting protection for girls” and lastly but by no means of least significance, “How do I keep my staff safe?” This unsettling question follows an unfortunate incident in which several of his staff were killed in Afghanistan. Using this unusual technique in his presentation served to intrigue the audience, and encouraged them to further appreciate the humanitarian issues that both he and the organisation he guides, battle against on a daily basis.
Recognising that the podium is often a physical barrier that prevents speakers from engaging their viewers, Miliband chose to not make use of this convention and instead walked freely around the stage, breaking down the formal relations between the audience and the speaker and effortlessly engaging the audience. Additionally, Miliband spoke of the common misconception of refugees, which is partly due to the media’s portrayal of those suffering in this manner. Although we are constantly overwhelmed with supposed images of individuals in refugee camps, in reality, “90% flee to urban areas of which many are areas governed by armed government opposition”, placing them in a situation just as precarious as the one they have just fled from.
Undeniably, David Miliband is shining in his new role as an international ambassador in a world of frequently occurring humanitarian crises. However, Miliband is now being tipped to run as the next Labour Party leader, currently being referred to by The Independent as “the prince across the water”, perhaps after his international Rescue Committee contract expires in 2018. But, actually, who knows?