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International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

Website: http://www.ifrc.org/

Category: Humanitarian

Year of Foundation: 1919

Location of Foundation: Paris, France

Location of Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

Brief Description: The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies describes itself as 'the world's largest humanitarian organization, providing assistance without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions...We strive, through voluntary action, for a world of empowered communities, better able to address human suffering and crises with hope, respect for dignity and a concern for equity.' (source: www.ifrc.org; accessed 14 January 2010).

Founding Rationales:

At the Cannes Medical Conference of April 1919, Henry P. Davidson stated: 'The particular reason why we are met here today is because of a lesson which some of us think we learned during the war....realizing the power of the organizations which have been developed , realizing the need, the demand, for the service which they could render, and notwithstanding the fact that we all knew that the larger work of feeding had to be done by governments, we believed that there was one sole and sacred responsibility, and that was that we should co-ordinate our endeavors to go on and do the work that could only be done by the co-ordinated effort of the Red Cross organizations of the world....As a method of procedure we expect to devote our energies and endeavours to the building up of each Red Cross organization within the countries of the world. We look forward to the time when every nation in the world is will have a Red Cross organization. We look forward to the time when the Red Cross organization will be recognized by the people of the country as the national organization for the general good and welfare of the people within that country.'

At the founding conference of the League of Red Cross Societies in Paris in May 1919, the objects of the organization were adopted as follows: '1. To encourage and promote in every country in the world the establishment and development of a duly authorized voluntary national Red Cross organization, having as purposes the improvement of health, the prevention of disease and the mitigation of suffering throughout the world, and to secure the co-operation of such organizations for these purposes. 2. To promote the welfare of mankind by furnishing a medium for bringing within the reach of all peoples the benefits to be derived from present known facts and new contributions to science and medical knowledge and their application. 3. To furnish a medium for co-ordinating relief work in case of great national or international calamities.'

Sources: 'Proceedings of the Medical Conference held at the invitation of the Committee of Red Cross Societies, Cannes, France, April 1 to 11, 1919. Published by the League of Red Cross Societies, Geneva, Switzerland. Printed by Atar S. A., Corraterie, 12::Geneva, 1919.', pp. 18-19; 'Bulletin of the League of Red Cross Societies, No. 1, Geneva, Switzerland, May 15, 1919. Vol. 1.', p. 1.

Evolution of Membership:

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Membership Chart

Sources: YIO; EAIO; World Disasters Report 1996; www.ifrc.org