History

In 1844 twelve young men led by George Williams founded the first YMCA in London, England. Their objective was the “improvement of the spiritual condition of the young men engaged in houses of business, by the formation of Bible classes, family and social prayer meetings, mutual improvement societies, or any other spiritual agency.”

Together with the other founding members, George Williams wasted no time in organising YMCA branches throughout England, Scotland and Ireland. Over the next ten years, YMCA Movements also began to develop across Western Europe, USA, Australia, New Zealand, and India.

The idea of creating a truly global movement with an international headquarters was pioneered by Henry Dunant, Secretary of YMCA Geneva, who would later go on to found the International Committee of the Red Cross and win the first Nobel Peace Prize. Henry Dunant successfully convinced YMCA Paris to organise the first YMCA World Conference. The Conference took place in August 1855, bringing together 99 young delegates from nine countries.

The Conference adopted the Paris Basis affirming the YMCA’s mission and purpose, and created the Central International Committee. The Committee operated without a headquarters until 1878, when a permanent headquarters and formal structure for the Committee was created in Geneva, Switzerland. This was a turning point for the Central International Committee that would eventually become known as the World Alliance of YMCAs.

1st World Alliance of YMCAs conference in Paris, 1855



  
1) E. W. Heyblom, Netherlands. 2) E. Renevier, France. 3) T. H. Gladstone, Great Britain. 4) E. Laget, France. 5) Max Perrot, Switzerland. 6) Henry Dunant, Switzerland. 7) T. H. Tarlton, Great Britain. 8) A. Stevens, USA. 9) George Williams, Great Britain. 10) G. Dürselenen, Germany


History Book - 1844-1955

The most important book ever written on the history of the World Alliance of YMCAs is the following. :


HISTORY OF THE WORLD ALLIANCE OF YMCAs / by Clarence Prouty Shedd and others. London : SPCK, 1955
XVII, 746 p. Index

A comprehensive review of the history of the YMCA movement throughout the world

This book covers  the period from "before 1844"  until 1955

Should you want to order this book, the price is  60 US$ /40  Euros / 50 CHF + postage, please contact:
danthe(at)ymca.int

History Book - 1955-1990

For the period covering the period form 1955 unitll 1990, one cannot miss the book of Clyde Binfield:

THIS HAS BEEN TOMORROW: the World Alliance of YMCAs since 1955 / Clyde Binfield
Geneva : World Alliance of YMCAs, 1991
Ill., IV, 80 p.

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