JCI (Junior Chamber International) is one of the biggest worldwide non-political and non-sectarian youth service organizations.
In 1954, JCI activated Operation Brotherhood, a project to provide development opportunities that empower both refugees and host population. Originally, at that time, it was a project that consisted of massive international fundraising to provide food, clothing and medical care for Vietnamese refugees. At the conclusion of the project, a total of 721,379 refugees had been treated and 5,023 surgical operations had been performed.
In 1957, JCI received a request from the non governamental section of the United Nations for assistance with the Hungarian refugees in Austria. JCI responded by aiding with settlement and medical programs for the refugees. This marked the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship between UN and JCI, global leadership of active citizens founded in 1915 in USA and now active in more than 100 countries and 5.000 local communities with the mission to provide development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change.
Nowadays, UN has a specific agency for refugees (UNHCR) and ECOSOC (UN Economic and Social Council) has granted JCI the General Consultative Status (which is reserved for large international NGOs whose area of work covers most of the issues on the agenda of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies).
Following the proposal of National Presidents gathered at the JCI Area Conference of Africa and Middle East, at 2013 JCI World Congress in Brazil, chaired by President Chiara Milani from Italy, was approved the possibility to reactivate JCI Operation Brotherhood in order to provide development opportunities that empower both refugees and host population. Mindful of this, for the first time in decades, JCI reactivates now JCI Operation Brotherhood by using its worldwide communication platform to create international awareness regarding the situation of refugees in the Mediterranean by promoting the project “Sounds at the Heart of the Mediterranean” launched by EMMA for Peace.