Place of birth
- Founder of the International Red Cross
- He received the first Nobel Peace Prize together with FrÃdÃric Passy
- Brave / Courageous
- A good and strong leader
- Good or moral (strong beliefs or principles)
- Single minded / Focused (has a purpose)
- Just and fair minded
The founder of the International Red Cross
Dunant was a Swiss businessman and social activist. During a business trip in 1859, he was witness to the aftermath of the Battle of Solferino in modern-day Italy. He recorded his memories and experiences in the book A Memory of Solferino which inspired the creation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 1863.
Dunant was born in Geneva, Switzerland, the first son of businessman Jean-Jacques Dunant and Antoinette Dunant-Colladon. His family was devoutly Calvinist and had significant influence in Geneva society. In 1849, at age 21, Dunant was forced to leave the College Calvin due to poor grades, and he began an apprenticeship with the money-changing firm Lullin et Sautter. After its successful conclusion, he remained as an employee of the bank. In 1853, Dunant visited Algeria, Tunisia, and Sicily, on assignment with a company devoted to the "colonies of Setif" (Compagnie genevoise des Colonies de SÃtif). Despite little experience, he successfully fulfilled the assignment. Inspired by the trip, he wrote his first book with the title An Account of the Regency in Tunis (Notice sur la RÃgence de Tunis), published in 1858. Dunant arrived in Solferino on the evening of 24 June 1859, on the same day a battle between the two sides had occurred nearby. Twenty-three thousand wounded, dying and dead remained on the battlefield, and there appeared to be little attempt to provide care. Shocked, Dunant himself took the initiative to organize the civilian population, especially the women and girls, to provide assistance to the injured and sick soldiers. They lacked sufficient materials and supplies, and Dunant himself organized the purchase of needed materials and helped erect makeshift hospitals. He convinced the population to service the wounded without regard to their side in the conflict as per the slogan "Tutti fratelli" (All are brothers) coined by the women of nearby city Castiglione delle Stiviere. He also succeeded in gaining the release of Austrian doctors captured by the French.After returning to Geneva early in July, Dunant decided to write a book about his experiences, which he titled Un Souvenir de Solferino (A Memory of Solferino). It was published in 1862 in an edition of 1,600 copies and was printed at Dunant's own expense. Within the book, he described the battle, its costs, and the chaotic circumstances afterwards. He also developed the idea that in the future a neutral organization should exist to provide care to wounded soldiers. He distributed the book to many leading political and military figures in Europe.In 1901, Dunant was awarded the first-ever Nobel Peace Prize for his role in founding the International Red Cross Movement and initiating the Geneva Convention. He died on 30 October 1910, and his final words were "Where has humanity gone?"
Life in Henry Dunant's world
Was Henry Dunant a Hero?
- He did something for humanity
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