World Red Cross Day: History and Facts to know

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World Red Cross Day or Red Crescent Day is celebrated on 8 May each year to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Henry Dunant, the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Born on 8th May 1828, he was the recipient of first Nobel Peace Prize.

World Red Cross Day


  • Just after World War I, seeing the horrors of the battlefield, Henry Dunant introduced the purpose of an “annual action that could take hold in the whole world which was contributed to peace”. This later got developed into the “Red Cross Truce”. This initiative was studied by an international commission established at the 14th International Conference of the Red Cross.
  • The results presented to the 15th International Conference in of the Red Cross in 1934 in Tokyo. The General Assembly of the International Federation of the Red Cross Societies asked the League of the Red Cross Societies to study the practicality of adopting the International Red Cross Day.
  • Two years later, it was adopted and the first Red Cross Day was celebrated on 8 May 1948. The title of the day changed over time, and known as “World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day” in 1984.

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Over time – Present

  • Red Cross includes the Red Crescent Societies and the International Federation of Red Cross. These societies have presence in 186 member countries.
  • Currently there are 189 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world.
  • There are over 97 million staff and volunteers in Red Cross across the world.
  • The Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent include Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality.
  • Henry Durant, the founder of Red Cross, received the Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution in 1901.
  • The Red Cross society has won the Nobel Peace Prize thrice; in 1917, 1944, and 1963.


  • The celebration of this day is observed by paying tribute to the volunteers for their contribution to the people in need. Volunteering serves in helping the society to bridge the gap between the crisis and the crisis management.
  • In the States of Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chandigarh and Kolkata, celebrations are made by honoring the Red Cross Volunteers. The volunteers are congratulated with complete gusto and their selfless outlook towards the Society.

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  • Governors and Ministers of the respective states also attend the programs.
  • The theme of World Red Cross Day 2019 is “love” and will focus on asking people on what they love about Red Cross and Red Crescent.
  • The theme of World Red Cross Day 2018 was “Memorable smiles from around the world”.
  • Blood donation camps are organized in many states around the world.
  • Programs are organized to welcome the New Volunteers.
  • In Nigeria, the Red Cross Society will organize a quiz competition to mark the day. The topic for the quiz competition will be “what do you know about Red Cross and the Red Crescent”. The aim of the event is to aware people about the Red Cross Day and how it plays an important role in life.

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