Singapore Red Cross launches lecture series, with senior official delivering the first lecture

Representatives of Southeast Asia Red Cross Red Crescent societies, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) along with Guest-Of-Honour Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

SINGAPORE - Technology can be used to engage and mobilise young people - the new generation of "humanitarian diplomats", said a senior official of the International Red Cross here for a gathering of regional leaders from the world's largest humanitarian organisation.

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Here is an excerpt of the speech by Bekele Geleta, Secretary General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies:

So how do we continue to turn humanitarian diplomacy into action in this changing world? In other words, how do we further use our humanitarian diplomacy to expand our reach and impact on people's life? I will make five suggestions.

One, we can grow our auxiliary relations with governments. This will include strengthening our legal base for freedom of access, for freedom of decision and freedom of movement in country to reach the most vulnerable people. It will include pressing for stronger disaster laws for unhindered partnership for assistance.

It will include full participation in decision making on humanitarian and development decisions, and allocation of a percentage of the humanitarian/development related flow of resources from internal and external sources.

Two, the IFRC should build and sharpen our delivery capacity all round - expanding the use of modern technology for knowledge, information and systems; greater opportunities for learning to improve skills; using the organizational capacity assessment and certification process to identify and resolve institutional challenges, and great sharing of data and resources etc.

Three, the IFRC should change the way we do things from what I call "deliver and distribute" to "empower to spend" in a transparent and accountable manner, meaning turn ourselves into business base where the customer chooses to spend (more cash distribution, greater beneficiary communication etc.)

Ultimately, our role is to strengthen community resilience by respecting and strengthening people's autonomy and decisions.

Four, we can lead by example in combatting the "establishment" oriented decision making in both governance and management and develop more agile and collaborative operating models.

And, lastly, number five: possibly the most important suggestion. As the Red Cross and Red Crescent is the most known and trusted civil society network with globally recognised principles and values - can we move to thought leadership that could engage and inspire the younger generation through the use of modern technology in global dialogue to create harmony and peace for their future?

Could the Red Cross Red Crescent, with its commitment to tolerance, respect and peace-building, its presence in every community worldwide and its acceptability across the globe, contribute to creating such a forum?

Our principles and values, which have inspired so many people for 150 years, could be used to bring people together - mobilized by millions of young humanitarian diplomats, who can lead by example in creating a culture of non-violence and peace.

I believe that this opportunity could create a better world. This, again, is a responsibility and not a choice.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues and guests, I thank you for your attention and now invite you to share your own thoughts on humanitarian diplomacy in action.