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
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
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
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
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