Ruth Dreifuss served as President of the Swiss Confederation in 1999, the first woman to hold that office. She has worked successively as a teaching assistant, journalist, scientific collaborator in the field of development cooperation and humanitarian aid at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and Secretary of the Swiss Trade Union Federation. In 1993 she was elected Federal Councillor and was head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs in Switzerland from 1993 to 2002 where she was responsible for public health, social insurance, scientific research, higher education, gender equality, environment, and culture. Following retirement from Swiss government she served as been chancellor of the University for Peace in Costa Rica and contributed to the reform of the University of Geneva. She is currently a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy and the International Commission against the Death Penalty.