Bekele Geleta
Board member, since 2016

Three words that best describe Bekele

Ambitious, determined, humble

What’s his life’s work?

Bekele has served on international governing Boards, and held many senior positions, including leading Switzerland-based International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies, as secretary general (CEO) for six years. But, it’s been a long road. As a former political prisoner — and elected chairman of prisoners — in Ethiopia, Bekele transformed the correctional facility, where he was held for five years, into a learning institution. Later, in 1992, he entered Canada as a refugee, eventually becoming a citizen.

What academic work set him up for success?

Bekele holds a master’s degree in economics from Leeds University in England and a bachelor of arts in politics and economics from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. He has two honorary doctorates from Leeds University (U.K.) and Hanseo University (South Korea), in law and philosophy, respectively.

Interesting tidbit

The retired father of four lives in Ottawa with his wife. He will always remember the care and attention his family received as refugee immigrants. The rights children enjoy in Canada was beyond his expectation.