August 22, 1864 – Today’s Date in History Spotlights the International Red Cross
The Geneva Convention of 1864 for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick of Armies in the Field is adopted by 12 nations meeting in Geneva. The agreement, advocated by Swiss humanitarian Jean-Henri Dunant, called for nonpartisan care to the sick and wounded in times of war and provided for the neutrality of medical personnel. It also proposed the use of an international emblem to mark medical personnel and supplies. In honor of Dunant’s nationality, a red cross on a white background, the Swiss flag in reverse, was chosen. In 1901, Dunant was awarded the first Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1881, American humanitarians Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons founded the American National Red Cross, an organization designed to provide humanitarian aid to victims of wars and natural disasters in congruence with the International Red Cross. Through over 700 locally supported chapters, more than 15 million people gain the skills they need to prepare for and respond to emergencies in their homes, communities and world. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, a global network of 186 national societies, the Red Cross helps restore hope and dignity to the world’s most vulnerable people.