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12 - Henry Dunant


Henry Dunant

(1828 - 1910)


Business interests brought Henry Dunant to northern Italy in 1859. He saw the aftermath of the brutal battle of Solferino, where the French helped the Italians free themselves from Austrians domination; he organised aid for dying and wounded soldiers.

In a famous book, A memory of Solferino (1862), Dunant proposed an organisation that soon became the Red Cross.

An International Committee for Relief to Wounded Soldiers was set up in his native Geneva. It called a conference in 1864 resulting in the first Geneva Convention - an international treaty regulating medical aid to those wounded in battle.

Dunant's humanitarian work made him bankrupt and a vagrant for twenty years.

Dunant's share of the first peace prize was controversial: many argued that the Red Cross helped to perpetuate war by making it less terrible.


Note : The International Red Cross itself was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1917, 1944 and 1963.
Question : A century after Dunant's award, in 1999, the Nobel Peace Prize was being awarded to a very similar relief organisation, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). Has any progress been made in limiting war?

Created by toussa01
Last modified 2005-01-14 04:08 PM

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