New stamps in collection:
anniversary of death of Jean Henri Dunant, Nicaragua postage stamp, 1985 year.
Jean Henri Dunant (May 8, 1828 - October 30, 1910) (often called Henry
Dunant or Henri Dunant) was a Swiss businessman and humanitarian who founded the
Red Cross movement. He was awarded the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901 (with Frederic
A man deeply religious in the Calvinist tradition and committed to the principle
of "Love thy neighbor", Dunant crisscrossed Europe, lecturing on the evils of
slavery. While in Italy in 1859, he visited the site of the Battle of Solferino,
where he was stunned by the many thousands of wounded soldiers left on the battlefield
to die, without receiving even the most basic medical attention that might have
saved them. Upon his return to Geneva he wrote Un Souvenir de Solferino (Fr. A
Memory of Solferino, published November 8, 1862), a memoir of his experiences
in Italy, in which he advocated the establishment of an international network
of volunteer relief agencies. The book won the attention of Switzerland's Federal
Council and in 1863 that country sponsored an international conference to discuss
ways to implement Dunant's ideas as he expressed them in the Nine Articles. Sixteen
countries attended and by 1864 twelve ratified the document, which became the
basis for the International Committee of the Red Cross and the first Geneva Convention.
In the following years, Dunant wrote prolifically on disarmament and the establishment
of an international court to arbitrate conflicts between countries. He also neglected
his personal affairs and fell into debt, poverty, and obscurity. Dunant was a
famous Freemason. When the first Nobel Prize was awarded, there was some debate
as to whether he should even receive it, since by then the Red Cross had become
such a well-established organization that its links to Dunant were all but forgotten.
Some suggested that he receive the prize for Medicine, since that was the primary
contribution of the Red Cross. In a final compromise, it was decided that Dunant
would share the prize with Frederic Passy, a prominent French pacifist. Despite
his dire poverty, Dunant donated all his winnings to charity. He died in 1910.