The battle of Solferino was fought in northern Italy on 24 June 1859. A young Swiss man named Henry Dunant – who was in the area for business – did his best to care for the wounded and dying. This battle led Dunant to push for the creation of a neutral and impartial organization to protect and assist war victims (ICRC).
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is founded. One year later, the first international humanitarian law agreement is signed.
The Alabama Arbitration is pronounced in Geneva. For the first time, a dispute between two nations is settled through international mediation.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is created.
Geneva is chosen to host the League of Nations and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The Geneva International Airport is officially inaugurated
The International Bureau of Education (IBE) is created in Geneva to centralize documentation related to public and private education, take an interest in scientific research in the educational field, and to serve as a coordinating centre for institutions and societies concerned with education.
The William Rappard Centre, the first building specifically constructed to host an international organization in Geneva, becomes the ILO headquarters. It is hosting today the World trade Organization (WTO).
The Graduate Institute of International Studies (HEI), one of the world’s first academic institutions dedicated to the study of international relations, opens in Geneva.
The construction of the Palais des Nations, which started in 1929, is achieved. It is hosting today the United Nations Office at Geneva.
The United Nations decide to establish their European headquarters in Geneva. In the following years, a dozen UN bodies - such as ITU, UNHCR, WHO or WMO - choose Geneva for their headquarters.
The four Geneva Conventions are adopted. These international treaties lay at the core of international humanitarian law and protect those who are not taking part in the hostilities (civilians, health workers and aid workers) and those who are no longer participating in the hostilities, such as wounded, sick and shipwrecked soldiers and prisoners of war.
The Geneva Agreements put an end to the first Indochina war and leads to Vietnam's independence, opening the way to decolonization.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) opens at the border between France and Geneva.
For the fist time since 1945, the winners of World War II - President Dwight D. Eisenhower for the United States, Prime Minister Anthony Eden for Britain, Premier Nikolai A. Bulganin for the Soviet Union, and Prime Minister Edgar Faure for France - meet in Geneva to discuss European security, disarmament and Germany's reunification.
The Building Foundation for International Organizations (FIPOI) is created by the Geneva and Swiss authorities in order to supports international organizations based in the Geneva area to find buildings and office spaces.
Geneva extends its conference venue capacity with the inauguration of the International Conference Centre Geneva (ICCG).
The conference on disarmament opens for the first time in Geneva.It remains, today, the only multilateral disarmament-negotiating forum.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) holds its first meeting.
The Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Geneva is a turning point that leads to the end of the Cold War.
The Brundtland Report defines, for the first time, the concept of sustainable development by stating that development is sustainable “if it guarantees that the needs of the current generation are met, without prejudicing the ability of future generations to meet their needs”. The report is published by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland, a former Norwegian Prime Minister.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is set up by WMO and UNEP to provide governments with a clear scientific view of what is happening to the world's climate.
Tim Berner-Lee, a scientist working at the CERN, invents the world wide web as a tool for scientists working in different universities and research institutes to automatically share information
The UN General Assembly adopts resolution 48/141 establishing the position of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The High Commissioner is the United Nations’ principal human rights official.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) establishes its headquarters in Geneva.It is the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Headquartered in Geneva, the WTO is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations.
The Geneva and Swiss authorities launch a new welcome service for the international community, the Geneva Welcome Center (CAGI).
UNAIDS, the joint United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS, is established in Geneva
The new building of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is inaugurated. It is one of the first environmentally friendly UN buildings in Geneva.
The Gavi Alliance chooses Geneva for its headquarters. In the following years, most innovative partnerships in the health sector choose Geneva: the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM), Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), Foundation for innovative new diagnosis (FIND), Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and the Stop TB Partnership.
The creation of the Human Rights Council reinforces Geneva’s position as a centre for human rights.
The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID), an institution for research and higher education results from the merger of the Graduate Institute of International Studies (HEI) and the Graduate Institute of Development Studies (IUED).
The United States of America and the Russian Federation successfully negotiate in Geneva the new Start treaty on strategic arms reduction.
CERN launches the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) which will advance research on the origin of the universe.
The Global Health Campus opened its doors in March 2018. Home of the Global Fund, Gavi, Unitaid, Roll Back Malaria and Stop TB, it brings together global health partners to unlock the collective potential of their distinctive missions.