Nobel Peace Prize Recipient. Jean Henry Dunant receive world-wild notoriety as being the first person to be awarded the coveted Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, sharing it with Frederic Passy, who organized the first French Peace Society. According to the Nobel Prize committee, Dunant received his award for being the “Founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, Originator Geneva Convention.” He became a successful Swiss businessman and social activist, who eventually died a pauper. In 1859 while on a business trip, he saw the chaos and despair of the Battle of Solferino in northern Italy and documented his thoughts in his book "Un Souvenir de Solférino" or “A Memory of Solferino.” The book was composed of three parts: first was the battle; second was the battlefield after the fighting with its chaotic disorder, despair, misery and the efforts to care for the wounded in the small Italian town of Castiglione; and the third part was a plan to deal with such calamity. The plan envisioned nations of the world forming relief societies to provide care for such wounded with each society sponsored by a governing board that would appeal for volunteers, train them to aid the wounded on the battlefield and provide care during recovery. As a result of his self-published book, the International Committee of the Red Cross was formed in 1863; it was based on his ideas and he became the co-founder. He disappeared out of the public eye from 1875 to 1895 until he was rediscovered in Heiden, a village in Switzerland, by a school teacher, Wilhelm Sondereffer, who told the world he was still alive. In 1901 Dunant received the Nobel Peace Prize together with Frédéric Passy. Dunant did not personally use any of the prize money but rather donated it to charities, a few friends, and for a permanent hospital bed in Heiden for the poor. He died a pauper in Heiden, Switzerland. He was buried requesting "with no ceremony of any kind."
Bio by: Fred Beisser