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Star and war

The Argentine ballet star Julio Bocca has put his talents to the service of humanitarian law. Bocca, who has delighted audiences the world over, including in war-ravaged countries, appears in a TV spot produced by the ICRC regional delegation in Buenos Aires. In the film, you see the dancer's body in movement as images of victims of armed conflict pass over it. Broadcast on several Latin American TV channels, the spot is an innovative illustration of how the enormous, mobilizing power of an artist can be harnessed on behalf of a humanitarian cause.

A new President

Juan Manuel Suárez del Toro Rivero has been active in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement since he joined his local youth branch in Gran Canaria in 1971. He rose through the ranks of the Spanish Red Cross to become its president in June 1994, and was elected president of the International Federation at the General Assembly in Geneva in November 2001. He replaced Dr. Astrid N. Heiberg, the Federation's first woman president, who had been in office since 1997.

On his election, 49-year-old Mr. Suárez del Toro said it meant a great deal to him that a volunteer could become president of the Federation. His vision is for "a Federation that thinks, conceptualizes and acts in consequence" in order to become the benchmark for other organizations providing humanitarian aid.

An industrial engineer by profession, he is a professor at the University of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, and is the Director of a public transport company. All his public activities have been within the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Married with two daughters, he is a former member of the Federation's Executive Council (now Governing Board), a former vice president of the Federation and chairman of the development commission. He is a holder of the Spanish Red Cross Gold Medal and the Grand Cross of the Ministry of Defence for his contribution to humanitarian operations.

Tracing in West Africa

The process of making tracing services in West Africa more dynamic continued through a regional seminar in Grand Bassam in Côte d'Ivoire from 2-6 September. Organized by the ICRC, 15 tracing services specialists from the region attended the seminar. The seminar aimed to reinforce regional tracing networks and to introduce the participants to new techniques and tools for restoring family links. The experience of some National Societies, such as the Kenyan Red Cross, proved invaluable. The Kenyan Red Cross serves as the coordination platform for the National Societies of Uganda, Sudan, Somalia, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
The overall goal is to extend these experiences to the whole Red Cross and Red Crescent network in Africa.

A place of Remembrance

A monument commemorating Canada's contribution to humanitarian action was inaugurated in Ottawa in June. The monument pays tribute to the people who have devoted their lives to international development and humanitarian aid work. The project was inspired by the death of Tim Stone, executive director of the Health-Related Technology Programmes, who died on the hijacked Ethiopian Airlines flight which crashed off the Comoros in 1996, and by the death the same year of Nancy Malloy, a Canadian Red Cross nurse, killed along with five of her colleagues at Novye Atagi in Chechnya. "This important monument reminds all of us of the risks inherent in humanitarian work," stated Michael Rudiak of the Canadian Red Cross.

Keep on training

The ICRC has now acquired access to a training centre in the Swiss countryside near Ecogia, 15 kilometres from Geneva. Inhabited since 1022, the site was occupied by an orphanage until 1993. The enormous piece of land surrounding the building is ideal for carrying out practical exercises that form an essential part of the training of the ICRC's 250 new recruits per year. This new acquisition has enabled the ICRC to centralize its training and create important synergies, namely with other humanitarian organizations.

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