Photo Focus on Henry Dunant, first Nobel Peace Prize

Focus on Henry Dunant, first Nobel Peace Prize

Henry Dunant

The ambassador of peace Prem Rawat said in his messages of peace that serenity cannot be translated into the absence of anything. Real peace can be interpreted as the presence of something beautiful in life. Humanity has been hungry for peace and started to set out on the journey to serenity for centuries.

He is the founder The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) which takes care of peace education. He added that every civilization has been in the quest for harmony. That was probably the reason why Alfred B. Nobel invented the Nobel Peace Prize, to inspire each individual to find peace.

In fact, the prizes were created in order to recognize the most significant contributions to global peace promotion by organizations or communities or associations. The first prize was awarded to Henry Dunant in 1901. This article is a highlight on Henry Dunant.

Henry Dunant's family background

Henry Dunant (8 May 1828 - 30 October 1910) was born under the name Jean-Henri Dunant in Geneva, Switzerland. His father, Jean-Jacques Dunant, was a social activist who did well in business. His parents inspired him to valorize social work; and his father set a good model in his charitable acts to help the orphans and parolees. He has also inspired the ambassador of peace,

Prem Rawat, who has taken initiatives to give peace education to inmates and deprived people. On the other hand, Henry's mother took care of the sick and poor. Henri Dunant was a socio-philanthropic activist and a successful businessman. Henry belonged to an affluent, influential family in Geneva.

His first humanitarian acts

  • Being fervent Calvinists, Dunant's childhood was influenced by the religious awakening or theRéveil. 
  • When he was 18, he took part in the Geneva Society for Alms giving. 
  • At the age of 19, he created the "Thursday Association", a Bible study group, which was involved in acts for humanity. 
  • Since then, he visited the poor, the prisoners and he did a lot of social work.

The founder of the Red Cross

Henry Dunant was a well-known chemist. In addition, he was unique in his constant care for the injured soldiers during the battle of Solferinoin 1859. That was why he created the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). However, he did not stop his humanitarian acts there.

Therefore, he later on took a giant step to persuade political authorities to defend and protect the rights of wounded warriors. Apart from that, Henry Dunant and his friends set up the branch of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in Switzerland.

How did he get started?

  • In 1859, he took a business trip to Italy. There, he saw the plights of the soldiers who were victimized by the Battle of Solferino. 
  • In his memory book, he took notes of all important events and experiences in Italy. The memory book was then labeled "A memory of Solferin".
  • In 1863, he created the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). 
  • In 1864, he took part in the Geneva Convention and proposed the creation of an independent organization to be in charge of wounded war militants. 
  • In 1901 Henry Dunant got a joint Nobel Peace Prize with Frédéric Passy, the first prize to be awarded by Alfred B. Nobel.

Death and legacy

By 1903, Henry Dunant had already got several awards, including an honorary doctorate by the medical faculty of the University of Heidelberg. He died in 1910 at the age of 82.