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70 years ago Celebrating World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day

An ICRC aid convoy in Daraya, Syria, in 2016

An ICRC aid convoy in Daraya, Syria, in 2016


On May 8, 1948, the first Red Cross Day was celebrated. delves into the archives and hears how the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has benefited people all around the world, plus the technical challenges of keeping in touch with overseas staff. 

On May 8, 1958, the Swiss Short Wave Service (SWS),’s predecessor, produced “The Red Cross Around the Globe”, a 30-minute documentary which began with Henri Dunant’s experiences on the battlefield of Solferino in 1859 – which led to his founding the Red Cross – and then heard what the Red Cross was up to around the world. 

In this heavily edited excerpt, journalist Lance Tschannen introduces correspondents who explain the progress made and challenges faced by the ICRC on all continents: 

Keeping in touch with overseas staff has also been a logistical and technical challenge for the ICRC. 

In this edited radio report from 1994, Swiss Radio International journalist James Nason visits the Geneva dispatch centre where he hears an example of a typical message transaction and is shown recording equipment that can take “as many as 15 kilobytes in one go”. 

World Red Cross and Red Crescent Dayexternal link is the result of an idea, introduced just after the First World War, for an annual event around the world that would contribute to peace. May 8 is the birthday of the Red Cross’s Swiss founder, Henri Dunant, the recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize.

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