Jean Henri Dunant

Jean Henri Dunant, known as Henry Dunant, was a Swiss businessman and social activist. While in Italy, Henry witnessed the horrible aftermath of the Battle of Solferino. Seeing over 20,000 dying and wounded on the battlefield with no aid, Henry organized the local population to assist with the injured soldiers, purchasing supplies with his own money. He wrote a book about his experience and travelled throughout Europe spreading the his ideas of humanitarian aid. Along with four other members, Dunant founded the International Committee of the Red Cross and played a role in initiating the Geneva Conventions. Unfortunately, an ally turned rival from the committee later saw to Dunant’s expulsion from the group and a period of financial hardship and relative obscurity followed. Eventually a newspaper article profiling Dunant helped return him to the public’s attention and in 1901 he became the co-recipient of the first-ever Nobel Peace Prize.

Illustration by Anne Di Lillo

Switzerland

The Red Cross flag itself is very simple and universally recognized as a symbol of aid, no matter what language someone might speak. In that spirit, this illustration is also simple, the cross containing Henri gazing out into the world, seeing suffering and helping in any way possible.

Total Area
41,285 km2 (135th)

Demonym
Swiss

Government
Federal multi-party directorial republic with thorough elements of direct democracy

Population
8,400,385

Capital
Bern

GDP (PPP)
$59,150 (9th)