StoryCorps is coming to ICRC DC!

Photo courtesy of StoryCorps.org

Photo courtesy of StoryCorps.org

Here at the ICRC's regional delegation for North America in Washington DC, we're gearing up for something really special later this week. We've teamed up with the oral history organization,

StoryCorps, and the American Red Cross (ARC) to capture simple, powerful, and moving stories of hope and humanity. 

Unfamiliar with StoryCorps? Read this recent article from the New Yorker about their 10-year anniversary gala hosted by Stephen Colbert and check out their press room for more coverage. In a nutshell, StoryCorps houses the largest collection of oral histories in the world and operates with one mission - to preserve the stories of people's lives. In the space of a decade, they've amassed more than 50,000 conversations.

We'll be live tweeting via @ICRC_DC on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, offering our followers a peak at who's swinging through the office. We've got some great conversations lined up, including one with Michael Durant - the American pilot and author who was held as a Prisoner of War in Somalia after his Black Hawk helicopter was shot down over Mogadishu in 1993. (The ICRC visited him while he was in captivity.)

We'll also hear from a woman who learned how to perform CPR from the ARC and went on to save her husband's life thanks to that training, and we'll talk to a brave 15-year-old who has sickle cell disease and has received over 1,000 blood transfusions from the ARC since she was a toddler.

In addition, we'll be recording several conversations between ICRC and ARC staff about what motiviates them as humanitarians. 

This is the ICRC, of course, so from our side, we'll be putting special emphasis on armed conflict.

For example, we'll hear from ICRC detention delegates about what it's like to go to prison as part of their job, we'll talk to a war doctor about what it's like providing health care on the frontlines, and we'll learn what it's like to trace missing persons and reconnect separated family members.

StoryCorps will be recording interviews with US military veterans and active duty Servicemen who have served in a number of contexts, including World War II, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. 

We'll also discover what inspired a Bosnian refugee, who fled her country at the age of six, to grow up and become an expert on the rules of war in DC.

From the everyday to the extraorindary, and from far away to close to home, we hope to reveal the passion, dedication, and determination that makes the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement so unique. We also hope to explore how the Red Cross makes a tremendous difference in countless lives, and we'll delve into the dark spaces of war to uncover pockets of light and levity.

This week's recordings are just step 1. We'll be post-producing the material in the coming weeks and months (including a making-of documentary) and unveiling it on various platforms, including here on Intercross, next year. All of the 18 conversations will go into the Library of Congress as part of StoryCorps' partnership with the American Folklife Center. 

Remember, check out our Twitter feed (@ICRC_DC) for photos and updates later in the week!