Helle Thorning-Schmidt

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Former Danish PM and CEO, Save the Children

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Synopsis

After serving as an MEP, Helle led the Social Democrats for a decade, and served as Denmark’s first woman Prime Minister. After leaving Danish politics she led the international humanitarian charity Save the Children.

Biography

Helle Thorning-Schmidt is the outoing CEO of Save the Children International and a former prime minister of Denmark. She was her country’s first woman PM before leading one of the world’s largest humanitarian charities.

After studying political science and European policy and administration, Helle joined the European Parliament, and was later elected as an MEP. After five years she moved to domestic politics and, following a general election defeat for her party the Social Democrats, was elected party leader. Over the following years she turned around the fortunes of the Social Democrats and after six years in charge was elected as Denmark’s first woman prime minister. She and her government navigated difficult national concerns around immigration, military intervention, and economics, particularly in the years immediately after the financial crisis. She steered her party to a second general election victory before leave her post.

Helle joined Save the Children International, the global charity that supports children and young people in economically deprived areas, and in the aftermath of disasters and war. She took charge of the 25,000-person organisation and balanced policy, strategy, advocacy and on-the-ground fact-finding before leaving the charity in its centenary year.

As well as being involved as an advisor or board member for a wide range of international organisations involved in equality and development, Helle has served on the European Council for Foreign Relations, the International Crisis Group, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, and the Atlantic Council.

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