Nairobi, Kenya set the stage for a significant milestone in the recent history of the American Red Cross.
Tadateru Konoe, from the Japanese Red Cross, is elected as the International Federation's president during meetings in Nairobi last week.
Photo Credit: IFRC
Friday, a group of Red Cross and Red Crescent leaders from around the world elected the American Red Cross and 19 other national societies to serve on the governing board of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Notably, the American Red Cross received the highest number of votes in the election, which is organized every four years.
"We are honored to help lead the world's largest humanitarian network," said American Red Cross Chairman Bonnie McElveen-Hunter. "Wherever the American Red Cross can contribute to meeting the needs of the world's most vulnerable, we are privileged to be there."
For decades, the American Red Cross has been offering relief and programs well beyond the United States. In 2009, the organization:
- Helped more than 7 million people through disaster preparedness, response and recovery activities
- Protected 118 million people against measles, malaria and/or HIV/AIDS
- Reconnected 864 families separated by international war and disaster
- Educated 10,000 people in the United States about international humanitarian law
The governing board guides the International Federation, a network of 186 national societies made of up 97 million volunteers that partner to respond to disasters, health emergencies and other causes of human suffering worldwide.
Together with its Red Cross and Red Crescent colleagues from Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Cote d'Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Guatemala, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania and United Arab Emirates, the American Red Cross hopes to use its position to help this important humanitarian network strengthen its disaster management capacity.
"Helping communities prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters is part of every Red Cross and Red Crescent society's mission around the world," said David Meltzer, senior vice president for international services with the American Red Cross. "Disasters are increasing in frequency and severity, putting more people at risk and making our work even more critical. We need to increase our network's readiness and help communities - large and small - do the same."
In addition to electing members of the governing board, the group selected Tadateru Konoe, from the Japanese Red Cross, as the International Federation's president for a four-year term.
To learn more about the global impact of the American Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org/intlreport2009.
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. Donations to the International Response Fund can be sent to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013 or made by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or online at www.redcross.org.