Ruth Dreifuss studied economics at the University of Geneva and enjoyed a widely varied professional career: secretary, editor, social worker, civil servant in the field of development and international cooperation, one of the leaders of the federation of labour unions. The Swiss Parliament elected her as one of the seven members of the federal government, in which she acted from the 1st of April1993 until she retired on the 31st of December 2002. She headed the Federal Department of Home Affairs. During the year 1999, she was the President of the Swiss Confederation, the first woman in history to hold this office.
She is now active in several non-governmental local and international organizations. She is Chancellor of the University for Peace, created by a resolution of the United Nation’s General Assembly. After different shorter mandates realized for intergovernmental organizations, her activities are now mainly in relation with non-governmental ones. She is currently the Chair of the Global Commission on Drug Policy.