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Founded Since 1850
The IFRC was founded in 1919 in Paris in the aftermath of World War I. Originally called the League of Red Cross Societies, we were the brainchild of Henry Davison, the president of the American Red Cross War Committee.
Davison convened the League’s founding members—the Red Cross Societies of France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan and the United States—at an international medical conference. Together, they believed the compassion and expertise shown by Red Cross volunteers during wartime could be shown in peacetime too.
The League’s first objective was simple: improve the health of people in countries that had suffered greatly during the war. It also sought to improve existing Red Cross Societies and promote the creation of new ones around the world.
Within months of its creation, the League had launched a campaign to counter a massive typhus epidemic in Eastern Europe. Shortly after, it launched appeals in the wake of the Russian famine of 1921 and the Great Kanto earthquake in Japan in 1923.
In 1983, it became the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and finally—in 1991—the IFRC as we are today.