Born :  May 8, 1828, Geneva in Switzerland

Died : October 30, 1910, Heiden in Switzerland(at the age of 82)

Nationality : Swiss

Father : Jean-Jacques Dunant

Mother : Antoinette Dunant-Colladon

Founder of : Red Cross

The Nobel Peace Prize is an award to recognise the works in academics, cultural and science. The award scheme was instituted by a Swedish Scientist, Alfred Nobel in 1895. However, the first one was presented in 1901. Here are some facts about the first winner-

First Noble Prize Winner

Henry Dunant was the first Nobel Prize winner. He won the prize in 1901 for his contribution in the formation of International Red Cross Movement. He was also recognised for initiating the Geneva Conference. This also made him the first Swiss Nobel laureate.

Childhood Life and Education

Dunant had a vibrant young and youthful life. Together with his friends, he formed the “Thursday Association” to study and share the Bible. Through that, he helped the poor and visited prisoners. Dunant formed the Geneva chapter of YMCA in 1852. He was expelled from the College Calvin in 1849.

Initiator of the Geneva Convention

In 1864, he conceived the idea, which became the topic for the Geneva Convention that year. The conference attended by 12 states saw the signing of the First Geneva Convention. The Geneva Convention has since then made efforts to protect people during armed conflicts.

Creation of the Red Cross

Henry Dunant was a Swiss businessman and social activist. He is credited as the founder of the Red Cross. In 1859, Dunant witnessed the effects of the Battle of Solferino, while on a business trip. This was what prompted the creation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1863. His memory of the event was recorded in the book A Memory of Solferino.

Career and Bankruptcy

After he was expelled from school, he worked as an apprentice with Lullin et Sautter, a money changing firm. In 1853, Dunant founded the Financial and Industrial Company of Mons-Djémila Mills, a corn-growing and trading company in Algeria. The business was unsuccessful, which forced him into bankruptcy.


Dunant became known worldwide after receiving the Nobel Prize Award. His birthday is marked as the World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has instituted the Henry Dunant Medal is in his honour.

Personal Life

Dunant spent years in abject poverty after he was declared bankrupt. He spent his later years in the Heiden hospice in Switzerland under care of nurses. He suffered depression and became paranoid towards people. He had a daughter.