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About Jean Henri Dunant, Nobel Peace Prize, 1901
Jean Henri Dunant (May 8, 1828 – October 30, 1910), also known as Henry Dunant, was a Swiss businessman and social activist. During a business trip in 1859, he was witness to the aftermath of the Battle of Solferino in modern day Italy. He recorded his memories and experiences in the book A Memory of Solferino which inspired the creation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 1863. The 1864 Geneva Convention was based on Dunant's ideas. In 1901 he received the first Nobel Peace Prize together with Frédéric Passy.
Founder of the Red Cross
In 1859, a battle was raging at the town of Solferino in Northern Italy. There the Swiss businessman Henry Dunant saw thousands of Italian, French and Austrian soldiers killing and maiming each other. On his own initiative, he organized aid work. Later he wrote the book A Memory of Solferino, which contained a plan: all countries should form associations to help the sick and wounded on the battlefield - whichever side they belonged to.
The result was the establishment of the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1863, and the adoption of the Geneva Convention in the following year. It laid down that all wounded soldiers in a land war should be treated as friends. Medical personnel would be protected by the red cross in a white field.
For Dunant personally, financial difficulties led to poverty and loss of social respect. But the organization he had created grew, and the underlying ideas won gradual acceptance. It pleased the ageing Dunant that the Norwegian Nobel Committee rewarded his life's work with the Nobel Peace Prize.
"Henry Dunant - Facts". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2013. Web. 10 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1901/dunant-facts.html>