The Commission is responsible with planning the International
Conference. To indeed turn this gathering into "a conference with a
difference", the Commission decided to stage this public event -- a
completely new venture for the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
"This year is an exceptional one. We are at the close of a tumultuous
century that has seen bo th remarkable human progress and catastrophic
human suffering. Through television, we are eyewitnesses to the
devastation caused by war and disaster. It often leaves us feeling
We chose to hold the 27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red
Crescent in Geneva because an exceptional idea was given life in this city, the
idea that even when shocked by traumatic events, we still need to do the right
thing, to reach out and give that helping hand.
This simple idea of humanity is alive in each one of us. We are
commemorating it this year with the 50th Anniversary of the signing of
the Geneva Conventions, and we will reassert it during the 27th
International Conference. We cannot be passive onlookers. Each one of
us can choose how to help those in need. The spirit of humanity is as
powerful as an outstretched hand.
Through this public Opening Show we want to convey a message of hope,
celebrating humanity and challenging us all to work for a better