Geneva/Solferino, 21 June 2019 – Fifteen thousand Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and more than 250 young Red Cross and Red Crescent leaders are have gathered this week in the historic Italian town of Solferino to debate pressing humanitarian concerns, and to celebrate the centenary of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The week-long “4th International Solferino Youth Meeting” has featured a series of workshops exploring issues as varied as climate change and violence, digitalization and the opportunities and threats posed by new technologies, protracted crises and the role that young people can play in shaping a safer and more humane world.
Francesco Rocca, President of IFRC, said:
“Young people are the present and the future of our organizations. We need their strength, passion, vision and commitment to reach more people in need, to scale up our activities and to identify and effectively respond to new humanitarian priorities,” said Mr Rocca.
“The remarkable young people who have gathered here this week are a powerful antidote to the often-cynical representation given to millennials around the world. They are inspiring and give me hope that our network will remain as relevant and effective for another hundred years.”
Khadijah Ahmed Alwardi, a young Red Crescent volunteer from Bahrain, said:
“Meeting my peers from all over the world helped me realize that young people and the communities we live in often face very similar challenges. It was empowering to express my thoughts and the challenges that I face as young woman. I am leaving Italy with enthusiasm and I am committed to advocate fiercely for collaboration, mutual understanding, and for the role of young people in humanitarian action,” said Ms Alwardi.
The week-long event is taking place in Solferino where, in 1859 Swiss businessman, Henry Dunant, witnessed a bloody battle between French and Sardinian armies. Dunant organized local people to treat the soldiers’ wounds and to feed and comfort them. These actions led to the creation of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
Tomorrow (Saturday 22 June) 15,000 Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers from all around the world will participate to the traditional annual “Fiaccolata” – a candle-lit march between Solferino and Castiglione delle Stiviere.
For photos and video of the event, please visit IFRC’s digital newsroom: www.ifrcnewsroom.org.
Video and photos of the Fiaccolata will be available for download from early Sunday 23 June.
Italian Red Cross: Paola Longobardi, firstname.lastname@example.org
IFRC: Derk Segaar, +41 79 708 31 04, email@example.com
IFRC: Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 43 67, firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew Cochrane, +41 79 251 80 39, email@example.com