One hundred years ago this year, two founders of the International
Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Henry Dunant and Gustave
Moynier, passed away. Although they died only a few months
from each other, they did not die as friends. In fact, these
two key Movement architects — the visionary and idealist
Dunant and the “builder” Moynier — were
deeply at odds.
Their disagreements ranged from principled debate over the
Movement’s role and direction to petty squabbles over
tactics and jealousy over public recognition — often
expressed in snippy pen-andink exchanges, commencing curtly
Still, without both of these men, the Movement as we know
it would probably not exist. This year, the contributions
of the two men and the relationship between them are being
commemorated with a series of events and exhibits (see article
on pages 22-23). After last year’s celebrations in
Solferino, in which we feted Dunant’s inspirational
role, 2010 offers a chance to reflect on the particular contributions
Building on Dunant’s inspiration, Moynier’s
dogged persistence, political skill and extreme work ethic
ensured that the International Committee for Relief to the
Wounded (as it was then known) had a permanent and prominent
place both in global forums and on the battlefield.
The 100th anniversary of Dunant and Moynier’s deaths
may also be a good time to reflect on the role of debate
and diversity within the humanitarian sector and the Movement,
as well as in this magazine. If two Movement founders can
disagree so strongly and still leave such a powerful legacy,
then the diversity of views and approaches evident in the
humanitarian field is in fact a sign of strength. We may
not stop warfare, natural disasters, famine and disease in
the next 100 years, but through debate, discussion and disagreement
we will learn from mistakes, improve our response and expand
our humanitarian impact.
In a recent survey of Red Cross Red Crescent magazine
readers, many said they would like to see more diversity
of view reflected in the pages of this magazine. Among
other things, they would like us to do less Movement self-promotion
and more articles that ask tough questions and bring more
external viewpoints. In this edition, this is reflected
in several stories that raise important questions:
• Are we losing ground in the fight against HIV?
• How do we ensure universal access to first aid when even many developed
countries are far from reaching this goal?
• How can the Movement fulfil the strategy of assisting migrants “irrespective
of status” given the complex and vast nature of the problem?
And in coming issues, we will have stories that examine
whether the very humanitarian action inspired by Dunant and
Moynier sometimes causes unintended harm — prolonging
conflict, creating dependencies or competing with local economies.
One hundred years after the death of Dunant and Moynier,
these questions are as relevant as ever as we continue to
refine our role and our relationships with other players
within a complex and growing humanitarian space. RCRC magazine
can become an important forum for discussions of these issues
in the Movement and we welcome your comments about our coverage
along the way.
Malcolm Lucard is Red Cross Red Crescent Editor
One hundred years
after the death of
Dunant and Moynier,
these questions are
as relevant as ever
as we continue to
refine our role and
our relationships with
other players within a
complex and growing
Henry Dunant, the visionary who inspired the Movement
Gustave Moynier, the ‘builder’ who had the
political skill and determination to make the Movement work.