International Religious and Humanitarian Movements

von by EGO-Redaktion Original in German, angezeigt indisplayed in English

Confessional Associations

The international confessional societies that exist today and are mostly dominated by Protestants (above all the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches) have their roots in the 19th century. Collectively, these confessional associations regard themselves as an ecumenical movement. They can be viewed in the context of various globalization trends, which have made attempts to deal with and ultimately overcome denominational divisions and national and cultural differences within Christianity. Alongside the World Council of Churches and its predecessors, the League of Nations was established at the international level and the United Nations in 1945. The emergence of ecumenical associations and federations was at the same time a reaction against increasing secularization tendencies, especially in Western Europe.
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Freemasonries, 1850–1935

From the middle of the 19th century, the relationships between masonic umbrella organisations in Europe intensified. These gave rise to cross-border networks, which around 1900 started to consolidate into transnational movements and (rudimentary) organisations. This contribution outlines the actors and mediators, the geographical centres of these networks, intellectual motivations, pragmatic driving forces, and conflicts and oppositions. Trans-state networks and transnational movements enabled only limited cases of "concerted action" by a masonic "international", which to a large extent remained utopian. It is true that one can detect certain mechanisms of internationalism within European freemasonries. However, freemasons were even less able at the transnational level to put into practice the ideal of a protected space of ritual "brotherhood" free of temporal ties than they had been at the national or local levels.
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Red Cross and Red Crescent

Out of the Geneva Committee for the relief of wounded soldiers and the development of international law, which was founded in 1863, developed the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which is still thriving today. This movement became established not only in Christian countries or countries with a western culture. It also gained considerable appeal in other cultural contexts, such as the Islamic world, where it was able to draw on existing discourses and practices of charity. In the context of the colonialism, nationalism and decolonization of the 19th and 20th centuries, however, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement repeatedly reached limits that called into question its humanitarian principles. This article investigates from a global historical perspective the political, but also cultural and social, strategies of assertion and appropriation that the movement adopted to meet these challenges over the past century and a half.
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The Young Men's Christian Association is one of the largest and oldest youth movements in the world. From the perspective of organisation studies, the YMCA can be seen as a "successful organisation", since it has not changed its mission while expanding and extending its membership and clientele. This article focuses on how the YMCA emerged and how expansion to different parts of the world modified its activities.
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