As a foundation of public utility (FRUP), officially recognised by decree on September 1st 2017, the French Red Cross Foundation was officially launched in January 2018. Its actions the continuation of those of the Fondation pour le Lien Social and the French Red Cross Fund, which the Foundation has replaced.
Created in 2010, under the aegis of the Institut de France, the Fondation pour le Lien Social supported innovation in the fight against situations of vulnerability, exclusion and poverty, by promoting the social bond. It supported over 110 high social impact projects in France and stimulated reflection and debate amongst researchers by awarding 11 research prizes and organising 9 symposiums and conferences.
As for the French Red Cross Fund, it was launched in 2013 in order to promote research on international humanitarian action. By awarding thirty postdoctoral fellowships and eight research prizes, mainly to researchers from developing countries, it furthered the emergence of knowledge about humanitarian transitions in aid recipient countries, and the promotion of dialogue on ethics during international events.
By linking research on humanitarian and social action, and by affirming the continuity between local and international issues, the Red Cross Foundation represents a synthesis of two complementary approaches. With its creation, we are shaping the future whilst squarely placing ourselves within the heritage and principles of the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
At the heart of our engagement, lies a conviction: in order to alleviate suffering, it is necessary to understand the context in which it is expressed and, whilst collaborating as closely as possible with vulnerable populations, analyse the support they are provided with.
This is why we are supporting social science research on humanitarian and social action. We hope to encourage the production of thorough, field-based scientific knowledge, in France and internationally, by researchers from both developed and developing countries. By ensuring their independence and respecting the temporalities of research, we are allowing for the emergence of constructive criticism and reflection freed from the constraints of emergency situations.
The social and humanitarian research we support is intended to inform and assist operational practice. By building bridges between researchers, civil society, public institutions and private actors, we contribute to the improvement of existing action, capacity reinforcement, autonomy, and the emergence of innovative and sustainable models for action.
I am truly proud to chair the Foundation, which is intended to become a compass for humanitarian and social action, both across the world and in France, given the constant changes in society and the many crises. I know how essential the production of knowledge is, as I myself am an academic with a doctorate in educational sciences. Action and reflection are essential to each other. We cannot act without thinking, especially in the humanitarian field, as goodwill is not enough and sometimes does harm.
Philippe Da Costa
President of the French Red Cross and the Foundation