The Monument to Henry Dunant in Minsk

Minsk

Sculpture, monuments, memorials

Henry Dunant is a world-known person and a public figure; he established the world’s largest charity organization Red Cross. Dunant was also the first winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. The monument in his honor was opened in the capital of Belarus in May 2010, ahead of the World Red Cross Day.

There are numerous monuments and memorials to this humanist are installed in many towns all over the world; many charity organizations are named after him. Upon an initiative of the Red Cross, in Belarus was created the bronze bust of Henry Dunant by the talented master, Belarusian sculptor Oleg Kupriyanov.  The pedestal of the sculpture to Dunant is made of red and white granite.

Famous Belarusian figures and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross were present at the opening of the pedestal on 7 May. Volunteers of that organization became responsible for the monument.

In the meantime, Henry Dunant led an interesting and eventful life. In spite of the fact that the boy was born in a rather wealthy family, his parents managed to instill respect for seniors, compassion and kind-heartedness in the kid since childhood. From the age of 18, Henry began to help people in need including sick and homeless.  In spite of being very young, he was not afraid to visit jails and talk with prisoners, giving them hope for a happy future and self-belief. A little later Dunant began to struggle against slavery; he even wanted to establish a small company for the former slaves to work there. However, the fate decided to refocus Henrys’ efforts.

In June 1859, Henry became a witness and, to some extent, a participant of one of the most terrible battles of the XIX century – the Battle of Solferino. Those tragic events made a great change in the young man’s further life. Dunant strongly attempted to aid the wounded: applied bandages and provided first aid to the wounded, simply talked with others – tried to support everyone in need. However, Henry did not divide people into “us” and “them”. He always said: “We all are brothers”. This catchword is still considered to be the motto of the Red Cross.

During his life, Dunant has achieved considerable results that are known all over the world. His main achievement is special groups of volunteers that gather across the world in order to help people on the battlefields. Dunant invented individual medallions for soldiers who permitted to identify the wounded, severely ill and killed people.

Henry made tremendous efforts to achieve the adoption of the Geneva Convention in 1864. It provided for improvement of the postwar life for all military people fighting overland. That document became the foundation for creation and further development of humanitarian law all over the world. It is noteworthy that many ideas and thoughts of Dunant were far ahead of the time. For example, Henry’s project of the international library that was to solve the world-wide problem of education.

Henry Dunant got the Nobel Peace Prize with a substantial amount of money in the early XX century. However, he donated all money to various charitable causes. Henry died in 1910, at that moment he was poor, but his personality is still considered to be great and impressive. The monument to this cult personality is installed in Minsk in recognition of his services.

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