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Red Cross of Serbia Marks 148 Years of Humanitarian Service

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In a grand ceremony held at the Yugoslav Film Archive building, the Red Cross of Serbia celebrated its 148th anniversary, marking nearly a century and a half of humanitarian service. 

The event saw a gathering of distinguished speakers including the President of the Serbian Red Cross, Professor Dr. Dragan Radovanović, His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije of Serbia, Jelena Stijačić, the head of the regional delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross, along with key figures from the Serbian government such as Health Minister Professor Dr. Danica Grujičić, Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Nikola Selaković, and secretaries from the Ministries of Family Welfare and Education.

Professor Radovanović reflected on the organization’s inception, which followed two pivotal lectures by Dr. Vladan Đorđević in the same building, then known as the Belgrade Municipality Hall, sparking the formation of the Serbian Red Cross Society amidst the Herzegovina Uprising. He underscored the high standards and extensive volunteer network as critical to the Red Cross’s enduring success. With a volunteer force of 37,000 individuals contributing regularly and an additional 32,000 on a part-time basis, Radovanović hailed this as a testament to the Serbian spirit of empathy and integrity.

In 2023 alone, the Red Cross of Serbia reached over a million citizens and distributed 4,720 tons of aid, achievements Radovanović attributed to the unwavering support of the Serbian government and its partners. The event also featured a video message from Kate Forbes, the newly elected President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, who commended the Serbian chapter’s commitment to improving lives and fostering a sense of community and solidarity.

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Forbes also highlighted a unique cultural contribution from the American Red Cross to Serbia—the introduction of the first basketball, which played a significant role in the development of the sport within the country. The ceremony underscored not only the Red Cross’s historical contributions but also its ongoing dedication to humanitarian values, with attendees including international diplomats, representatives from the Red Cross of the Republic of Srpska and Montenegro, and the United Nations Coordinator in Serbia, Françoise Jacob, reflecting the broad spectrum of support and collaboration that underpins the organization’s work.

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