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Events in Solferino, 23-27 June

18-06-2009 Event

From 23 June to 27 June, Red Cross Red Crescent staff and volunteers from more than 150 countries will come together, in Solferino, to reflect on 150 years of action and to examine tomorrow's challenges.

Event Info

Where: Geneva

On 24 June, 1859, Henry Dunant, a Geneva businessman travelling through Italy, witnessed the horrors of war at the Battle of Solferino. He reached out to help the wounded soldiers, regardless of which side they had fought on, and organised volunteers to provide relief. It was there that the idea of the Red Cross and Red Crescent was born. Dunant suggested that relief societies be established to care for the wounded during wartime – an idea that would lead to the world's largest humanitarian network. A century and a half later, the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement continues to protect and care for the vulnerable in 186 countries worldwide. 

From 23 June to 27 June, Red Cross Red Crescent staff and volunteers from more than 150 countries will come together, in Solferino, to reflect on 150 years of action and to examine tomorrow's challenges.

These activities are tied together under the global theme: Our world. Your move. 

 List of upcoming commemorative activities and photo opportunities  

  • 22 June: Run to Solferino: ICRC and IFRC staff will set off from Geneva on a five-day run to Solferino in northern Italy. There will be a photo/video opportunity and a chance to interview some of the runners before they head out from the ICRC headquarters at 9:00 sharp. Contact the ICRC.

  • 22 June: Embargoed ICRC press conference on new report, " Our World – Personal Experiences of Armed Conflict " with the Director of Operations, Pierre Krähe nbühl and Deputy Director of Communication, Charlotte Lindsey. At 14h00 in the ICRC auditorium. Contact the ICRC.

An AV news release, including footage from Afghanistan, DRC and Haiti, as well as historical images and an interview with Mr. Krähenbühl will be available on the following dates and upon request from Janet Powell (

Eurovision ENS: 19 June, 11.45 GMT

Associated Press Global Newswire: 19 June, 12:15 – 12:30 GMT Repeated 19:15 – 19:30 GMT

22 June, 12:15 – 12:30 GMT – Repeated 19:15 – 19:30 GMT

  • 23 – 27 June: Youth on the Move meeting in Solferino Italy: Hundreds of young people from more than 150 countries will gather in Solferino to discuss their vision for tackling today's and tomorrow's humanitarian challenges. The meeting will result in a declaration to be presented to the international community, Swiss officials and the leadership of the Red Cross Red Crescent on 2 July (see below). Youth are available for interviews. Please check in at the media tent or contact the IFRC.

  • 24 June: 150th anniversary of the Battle of Solferino: Geneva's famous jet d'eau will be lit in red on 24 June. Several key sites related to the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement will also be illuminated during a two week period, including the Hôtel de Ville and Musée Rath. Contact the ICRC.

  • 24 – 27 June: Humanitarian Boulevard in Solferino, Italy: Free and open to the public, this open air boulevard will feature a series of activities and exhibits highlighting disaster response and preparedness, health and safety, and humanitarian values. The media is invited to attend and experts conducting this exercise are available for interviews. Please contact the IFRC or Italian Red Cross.

  • 26 June: Disaster exercise in Solferino, Italy: During the morning, the Red Cross Red Crescent will demonstrate, on Humanitarian Boulevard, how it responds to disasters using ERUs (emergency response units). This disaster exercise will be open to the media and the public. Please contact IFRC.

  • 26 June: ICRC trip to Solferino: A group of ICRC delegates and Committee members leave Geneva for Solferino. Opportunity to film group as it prepares to set off and to follow the group down to Italy. (Spaces for journalists on the bus are already filled. Any additional media wanting to accompany the group will need to arrange for their own transport.) ICRC historians and representatives will be available before the events in Solferino for any journalists who are unable to travel to Italy but would like to cover the anniversary. Historical video footage and photos are also available for media use. Please contact ICRC.

  • 26 June: ICRC and IFRC runners arrive in Solferino after covering nearly 500 km from Geneva. They will join another group of runners from the French Red Cross, who ran from Paris. Arrival scheduled for 18:00 in the Humanitarian Village. Photo/video and interview op possible. Please contact ICRC.

  • 26 and 27 June: A historical perspective: There will be opportunities to interview ICRC historians François Bugnion and Roger Durand, as well as a group of delegates and experts, while in Solferino. Please contact ICRC.

  • 27 June: Fiaccolata: The torch-lit procession, following the footsteps of those who took injured soldiers from the battlefield of Solferino to the first medical outpost in Castiglione, will conclude the commemorations of Solferino. Thousands of supporters will march under one call to action: Our world. Your move. Please contact IFRC or the Italian Red Cross.

  • 28 June – 3 July: Journey of an Idea and Declaration: The Swiss Red Cross is organising a group of young people who will travel from Solferino to Geneva to present a declaration, outlining their vision of today's humanitarian challenges, to Swiss authorities and representatives of the United Nations and international organisations. Youth will provide updates each day of the journey. The presentation ceremony starts at 19:00 on 2 July at the Place St Antoine in Geneva. Please contact the IFRC, the Swiss Red Cross or the Geneva Red Cross.

 Solferino Logistics  

 Hotel: For any journalists planning to travel to Solferino, hotel space is extremely limited. Journalists are encouraged to contact the following travel agency as soon as possible to book rooms: Semiramis Viaggi ( ). Please be sure to indicate that you are a journalist and making your own arrangements for accommodation. Most hotels will have a shuttle to the Solferino activities, but please confirm this when making the reservation.

 Train: The closest train station is Desenzano del Garda . There is only one Cisalpino connection per day leaving Geneva at 11:56 and arriving in Desenzano (via Brig) at 18:06.

 Car rental: A Europcar office is located in Desenzano (phone: +39 30 999 1777). The organisers cannot guarantee transport for all journalists. In order to ensure a degree of flexibility, media and camera crews are encouraged to rent their own vehicles.

 Media tent: A dedicated tent will be availabl e for media use. This space will have internet, computers, daily updates on Solferino events, an interview corner and access to media spokespeople. Media arriving in Solferino will be credentialed at this tent. Please bring identification confirming your role and media source.


 International Federation /Fédération internationale  

Zach Abraham, + 41 22 730 4383 / + 41 79 308 9804   
Giovanni Zambello, + 39 06 97 84 45 22 /37/ +39 345 706 9707    Marie-Françoise Borel, + 41 22 730 43 46 / + 41 79 217 33 45    

 ICRC / CICR (Genève)  

Michelle Rockwell, + 41 22 730 24 12/ + 41 79 251 9311     Anna Nelson + 41 22 730 20 63 / + 41 79 217 32 64    

 Italian Red Cross / Croix-Rouge italienne (Solferino)  

Tommaso Della Longa, + 39.320.79.79.485,     

 Swiss Red Cross / Croix-Rouge suisse  

(Bern) Beat Wagner, +41 31 387 74 08 /+ 41 76 372 4184    

 Geneva Red Cross / Croix-Rouge genevoise  

Françoise Diggelmann, +41 22 304 04 19      For more information on the battle of Solferino, please read From Solferino to the birth of contemporary international humanitarian law , by ICRC historian, François Bugnion.