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The Henry Dunant Medal 

What is the Henry Dunant Medal?

The idea of having a medal bearing the name of the founder of the International Red Cross, which later became the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, was submitted to and approved by the Council of Delegates, meeting on the 100th anniversary of the Red Cross in 1963. Thanks to the generosity of the Australian Red Cross, the Henry Dunant Medal was established by the International Red Cross Conference in Vienna in 1965.

The purpose of the Medal is to acknowledge and reward outstanding service and acts of great devotion by a member of the Movement to the Red Cross and Red Crescent cause. The Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent is the body that selects recipients and, as a general rule, not more than five awards are made every two years. This enhances the Medal’s value and maintains its prestige as the highest honour the Movement can bestow upon one of its members.

Under the regulations the Standing Commission has to give special weight to the international significance of the act or service. If this dimension is lacking, the Commission would tend not to select the individual concerned, whose merits, though no doubt great, should be recognized rather by his or her National Society.

In accordance with the regulations, it is still possible to make a posthumous award of the Henry Dunant Medal. However, the components of the Movement, all of which should henceforth establish other forms of recognition in such circumstances, should submit posthumous nominations for the Henry Dunant Medal only in truly exceptional cases.

The Medal is intended to recognise and reward outstanding services and acts of great devotion, mainly of international significance, to the cause of the Red Cross/Red Crescent by any of its members.

Criteria for the award of the Medal include risks run and arduous conditions endangering life, health and personal freedom. It may also be rewarded for a long period of devoted service to the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement.

I dream of a Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement that has global moral authority and can call the attention of the world to humanitarian issues of concern, a Movement, which independently chooses which issues to focus on.

Henry Dunant