Diversity With New Sphere Governing Board and President
Sphere Elects Rita Rhayem as their President
Sphere members elected a new governing board and Rita Rhayem as their President on December 1st, 2021.
“We made a commitment in Sphere’s strategy 2025 to create a more inclusive, diverse, and representative board and membership, with more women, more national organizations, more local perspectives, and a broader range of expertise. I am delighted to welcome our new board members and President, who reflect this shared commitment.
We thank the outgoing President, Colin Rogers, and the board for their invaluable support and guidance over the last three years as we launched a new strategy, navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and achieved some major positive outcomes for the Sphere global community.”-Dr. Balwant Singh, Sphere Executive Director
Sphere’s board members – seven of whom are women – will meet next week to select a vice-president and treasurer and begin work to support the Sphere team and Sphere’s global community as they deliver their strategy. Up to five additional board members may be co-opted to bring in additional expertise and perspectives.
Dr. Rita Rhayem, Sphere’s new President – previously General Director of Caritas Lebanon – currently chairs the Humanitarian Committee at Caritas Internationalis. Rita first encountered Sphere in 2009 as a trainee, and since then, she has trained many others on Sphere in her home country of Lebanon and across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
“The Sphere Handbook was an important tool that helped me develop Caritas Lebanon’s emergency manual and then manage various responses, including the Beirut explosion, the COVID-19 crisis, and working with Syrian refugees when I was heading Caritas Lebanon.
As we are witnessing severe crises worldwide, Sphere remains a vital platform for humanitarians and communities globally to come together to deliver quality humanitarian assistance promptly and effectively. I look forward to serving the Sphere community.”-Dr. Rita Rhayem, Sphere President.
“When a humanitarian crisis occurs, people tend to think that they are the only ones experiencing trauma. We tend to forget that crises are happening across the globe; this is the first reminder while learning Sphere standards”, stated Dr. Rhayem in an exclusive one-on-one interview held by Executive-Women, when asked about her personal experience with Sphere.
“Sphere is a universal way of dealing with emergencies and the only way through which Humanitarian agencies will speak the same language.”
The Sphere movement was started in 1997 by a group of humanitarian professionals aiming to improve the quality of humanitarian work during disaster response. With this goal in mind, they framed a Humanitarian Charter and identified a set of humanitarian standards in humanitarian response.
Initially developed by non-governmental organizations – along with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – the Sphere standards have become a primary reference tool for national and international NGOs, volunteers, UN agencies, governments, donors, the private sector, and many others. Today, Sphere is a worldwide community that brings together and empowers practitioners to improve the quality and accountability of humanitarian assistance.
Sphere’s flagship publication, the Sphere Handbook, is one of the most widely known and internationally recognized common principles and universal minimum standards in humanitarian response.
About Dr. Rita Rhayem
Rita Rhayem is the first young female to be designated as General Director for Caritas Lebanon, one of the most prominent NGOs in Lebanon.
In addition to her Doctorate in Pharmacy, Rita obtained her diploma in Hospital and Clinical Pharmacy in 2008 from USJ, her MBA in 2011 from USJ, IAE Sorbonne, and Paris Dauphine. She subsequently published her book “Accreditation of NGOs Health Care Centers.” She is a lecturer at different universities on public health and emergency topics.
Rita is still pursuing her Master in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at LAU (Lebanese American University of Beirut). She has trained humanitarian workers at national and regional levels on emergencies and how to manage humanitarian crises, and she is constantly advancing and supporting vulnerable families through different projects and services.