Celebrating the Power of Humanity and the Human Voice

Former Black Hawk Down Pilot and POW, Mike Durant, talked to the ICRC's Anna Nelson about his Red Cross StoryCorps conversation.

Former Black Hawk Down Pilot and POW, Mike Durant, talked to the ICRC's Anna Nelson about his Red Cross StoryCorps conversation.

On May 8, 2015 the International Committee of the Red Cross’ DC-based Regional Delegation for the US and Canada, in collaboration with the American Red Cross, their National Capital Region Chapter, and theSwiss Embassy in Washington, will unveil the results of our exciting Red Cross StoryCorps Initiative.We’ll be launching the Red Cross StoryCorps clips and a “making of” video here on Intercross (which is getting a facelift and mobile optimization to coincide with the launch) and holding a very special event, hosted by the Swiss Embassy on May 8, to celebrate “The Power of Humanity and the Human Voice.” Our guests of honor will include “Black Hawk Down” Pilot and former US prisoner of war, Mike Durant, who was visited by the ICRC while in captivity in Somalia in 1993. Mr. Durant took part in the Red Cross StoryCorps Initiative and he’ll be joining us at the Swiss Embassy event to talk about those tumultuous days in Mogadishu and what the ICRC’s visit meant to him. (We also have a surprise guest of honor who will be joining us!) We’ll be video-taping the May 8 event and putting it online as well.

Unfamiliar with StoryCorps? Read this article from the New Yorker about their 10-year anniversary gala hosted by Stephen Colbert. In a nutshell, StoryCorps houses the largest collection of oral histories in the world.

Their founder and CEO, David Isay, won the 2015 TED Prize and on May 8, we’ll reveal how Intercross readers and our guests at the Swiss Embassy can be part of StoryCorps’ “global archive of the wisdom of humanity.” Watch David Isay’s TED Talk here.

More about the Red Cross StoryCorps Initiative: 

In November 2014, the International Committee of the Red Cross in Washington and the American Red Cross invited the world's largest oral history project, StoryCorps, to DC to record conversations between staff, volunteers, and beneficiaries about what the Red Cross means to them.

In addition to the aforementioned Mike Durant, we heard from a teenager with sickle cell disease, who has received more than 1,000 blood transfusions over the past decade thanks to the American Red Cross. We met a wounded warrior from Walter Reed Hospital and the Red Cross volunteer and a fellow military veteran, who is helping him on the road to recovery. We also heard heartwarming conversations about how the Red Cross is reuniting families separated by war and disaster plus many other stories.

More about the May 8 event:

We will celebrate these stories of courage and compassion at the event on May 8, which is also World Red Cross Red Crescent Day and the anniversary of the birth of Henry Dunant – a Swiss businessman who came up with the idea of the Red Cross in 1859.

The event will be emceed by CNN Global Affairs Analyst and Daily Beast Contributor, Kimberly Dozier, who is an award-winning journalist, author, and champion of the combat-injured.

She also took part in the Red Cross StoryCorps initiative, along with her 90-year-old father and WWII veteran, Ben Dozier, and her sister, MeiLee Dozier, who was adopted at a Red Cross refugee camp in Guam following the Vietnam War.

We'll discover their StoryCorps conversation on May 8 as well.    

About Switzerland and the Red Cross:

Switzerland's ties to the Red Cross go back to its very origins, when a young Henry Dunant happened upon the aftermath of the Battle of Solferino and did his best to care for the wounded and dying, helped by volunteers from local villages.

Shocked by the brutality of war, Dunant went on to found the International Committee of the Red Cross and came up with the idea of voluntary relief societies. He also helped develop the First Geneva Convention in 1864 and was consequently awarded the first-ever Nobel Peace Prize for what was described as the "supreme humanitarian achievement of the 19th century."

Switzerland is home to the ICRC's headquarters in Geneva and it is also the depository State of the Geneva Conventions. As such, we here at ICRC’s delegation in Washington are very proud to be working with the Swiss Embassy in DC to celebrate Henry Dunant's legacy, which lives on in the millions of people whose lives are touched by the Red Cross each day – here in the United States and around the world.

2015 also marks the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which guide us in our work and underpin our common identity and action. We’ll be integrating the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality into our May 8 event in some surprising and innovative ways. Watch this space!

For more information, please contact Laura Burgess or Anna Nelson at ICRC DC (202-587-4600).