Chair of Trustees, A Rocha International
A Swiss citizen, Rebecca Irvin was born in the United States and earned a BA from Wheaton College in Illinois and a master’s degree from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.
From 1982 to 1991, she was a news agency and freelance radio journalist, working in Geneva, London and Lisbon for United Press International, Reuters, NBC News and Swiss Radio International. Irvin was deputy head of communications at the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva from 1991 to 1993.
In 1993, she joined Rolex, where she is now an Associate Director and head of the Rolex Institute, which groups the company’s educational and philanthropic activities. Irvin has played a crucial role in developing the company’s global philanthropy and environmental responsibility. Initially she was appointed head of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, which, under her guidance, were expanded to include a programme for Young Laureates. Alongside the Rolex Awards, in 2002 Irvin established the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, which pairs the world’s most distinguished artists with promising young talents in architecture, dance, film, literature, music, theatre and the visual arts for a year of mentoring.
Rebecca has supported A Rocha as a senior advisor, with particular emphasis on communications and fundraising, a board member of A Rocha Switzerland and, since 2009, an A Rocha International trustee.
Keenly interested in music, Rebecca Irvin obtained a degree in piano from Geneva’s Conservatoire populaire in 1999 and regularly plays and leads worship at her church.
She is married to Matthias Stiefel, who was chairman of A Rocha International for 10 years. They have two grown children.