David Miliband Speaker

David Miliband

President and Chief Executive of International Rescue Committee

David Miliband: Biography highlights

As president of the International Rescue Committee, David Miliband enlists his expert statesmanship in the fight against the greatest global refugee crisis since World War II and as the son of refugees, he brings a personal commitment to the IRC’s work.

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TED Speakers

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North America

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Full biography of David Miliband

David Miliband’s Background

David Miliband served as Environment and then as Foreign Secretary under Gordon Brown – noted for his strong working relationship with Hillary Clinton and his work on human rights. He now leads the humanitarian relief organisation the International Rescue Committee.

Combining insights into both UK and global politics, he considers the shifts in economic power, the effects of conflict, and the problems of globalisation and isolationism.

After a short time at the IPPR think-tank, David became Tony Blair’s Head of Policy while the Labour Party was in opposition in the 1990s. After the 1997 General Election victory he became head of the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit.

After election to parliament, David was appointed Schools Minister. There followed periods as Cabinet Office Minister and as Minister of State for Communities and Local Government. As Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs he drove commitments to reducing emission levels. When Gordon Brown was appointed Prime Minister, David became Foreign Secretary. His time at the Foreign Office was marked by an eventful period in relations with Europe, terrorism and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in Asia. He was particularly noted for his strong relationship with his opposite number in the US, Hilary Clinton, and for his work in international human rights.

The Miliband name is synonymous with Labour and the left as his father Ralph was a noted and influential political theorist and academic. It was inevitable then that, after Gordon Brown’s election defeat, David stood for the Labour party leadership. What made it remarkable was that he stood against his brother and fellow shadow cabinet member Ed. In an incredibly close run race, Ed narrowly defeated David. As a result, David left front line politics to avoid distracting talk of fraternal rivalries.

Today David is widely admired for his leadership of the IRC where he has raised the NGO’s profile and grown its capacity to respond to humanitarian, conflict and refugee crises. Whilst now focusing on global events, he is still noted as a Labour party insider and often referred to as trying to end the so-called Blairite/Brownite division. He has also commented widely on Brexit and continues to write and comment on politics more broadly.

He is recognised as having strong links to progressive politicians across Europe and the US, and Bill Clinton once described him as “one of the ablest, most creative public servants of our time.” Away from the political stage he has also served as a non-executive vice-chair of Sunderland FC and as a part-time, voluntary teacher at his old school, Haverstock in North London.


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Available for:

After Dinner Engagement
Panel Participation

Watch David in action

1/7 videos
The refugee crisis is a test of our character | David Miliband
The refugee crisis is a test of our character | David Miliband
David Miliband | Commencement Speaker 2016 | The New School
David Miliband | Commencement Speaker 2016 | The New School
Class V Speaker, David Miliband - 2018 Induction Ceremony
Class V Speaker, David Miliband - 2018 Induction Ceremony
Rescuing Refugees: David Miliband on Dialogue
Rescuing Refugees: David Miliband on Dialogue
David Miliband: What UK Labour must do to repair
David Miliband: What UK Labour must do to repair
AMERICA Interviews | David Miliband
AMERICA Interviews | David Miliband
A Conversation with David Miliband
A Conversation with David Miliband

On the day David arrived relaxed and was happy to go listen to the conference and talk to guests prior to his speech, a surprise that added value to those attending. Following his speech and Q&A he joined the drinks reception and chatted with the guests. The feedback was excellent with many surprised at how interesting they found his comments and that they would like to listen to him again.'

Regional International Business Conventions

'It was a real pleasure to meet you and thank you for the Global Economic and Political overview. Our mainly 'Right Wing' audience were most impressed.'


'I would like to thank you for joining us as our keynote speaker at our client conference last week. It was a fantastic start to our day and the audience enjoyed your thought-provoking views on the major global trends affecting politics and society.'

Ernst & Young

'The event went well and everyone enjoyed David's speech which covered a wide variety of topical subjects both at home and abroad. They particularly liked the question and answer session and the fact that he took the time to circulate.'

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