The recent gathering of young people from around the globe for the third World Red Cross and Red Crescent Youth Meeting goes hand in hand with this year’s theme for International Youth Day, which will be observed on August 12.
International Youth Day is a day set aside by the United Nations to emphasize the need for young people to participate in society today. This year’s theme is “Sustainability: Our Challenge. Our Future,” focusing on the idea of a global sense of social responsibility.
During the Red Cross “Youth On The Move” meeting in Solferino, Italy, young volunteers from 150 countries around the world drew up the Solferino Declaration, in which they asked world leaders for greater and more decisive humanitarian action. You can hear a first hand-account from Solferino on “Cross the Globe,” a podcast from the Red Cross with humanitarian news and stories from around the world.
Solferino was selected as the conference site as it is the same village where a young Henry Durant 150 years ago received the inspiration for a voluntary relief society which has become the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies of today. On June 24, 2019, Swiss businessman Henri Dunant witnessed great suffering at the Battle of Solferino. In the face of this humanitarian need, he rallied local villagers to help the wounded on both sides, and was so inspired by the experience he created the idea of what would become the International Committee of the Red Cross.
From Solferino, the attendees journeyed to Geneva where they presented their Declaration to Geneva and Swiss authorities and representatives of the United Nations.
Among the attendees were twenty volunteers from the United States. They were accompanied by Pat West, chair of the American Red Cross’ National Youth Council. “It was humbling to be part of this event,” West said, “We met volunteer leaders from dozens of countries, including Thailand, Mongolia and Liberia, and shared our stories and ideas.”
The American delegation had a varied background, including college and post-college volunteers, in local, regional and national leadership positions. They used blogging and other social media to update volunteers back home about their lessons, experiences and thoughts.
To become involved in a youth program near you, visit www.redcross.org, or contact your local chapter. You can keep updated on Red Cross youth news by visiting www.redcrossyouth.org through Youth Wire.
You can help the victims of countless crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, please do so at the time of your donation by mailing your donation with the designation to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243 , Washington, D.C. 20013 or to your local American Red Cross chapter. Donations to the International Response Fund can be made by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or online at www.redcross.org.