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Service Civil International

Service Civil International Founder...Pierre Cérésole

Pierre Cérésole (17 August 1879 – 23 October 1945) was a Swiss engineer, known primarily as the founder of the Service Civil International (SCI) or the International Voluntary Service for Peace (IVSP), in 1920, an organisation that helped in reconstruction after the First World War with the goal of achieving an atmosphere of brotherhood. As a pacifist, he had refused to pay taxes that were used for the acquisition of arms and refused to accept money from his inheritance. He spent many hours in prison.

Born: August 17, 1879, Lausanne, Switzerland
Died: October 23, 1945, Lausanne, Switzerland
Parents: Paul Cérésole
Organization founded: Service Civil Internationa


In 1931 Ceresole got acquainted with Gandhi, which invited him to bring SCI to India. In 1934 he traveled to India in order to organize workcamps for a region affected by the earthquake in Bihar. This project was repeated in 1935 and 1936. Further development aid projects followed after World War II. In 1950 SCI was invited by the recent independent India in order to carry out construction of houses for refugees in Faridabad (India). A small group of international volunteers were recruited and many local volunteers join these workcamps. The con_ict between India and Pakistan inspired them to organise workcamps in Pakistan from 1951 onwards. As a consequence several local branches and groups of SCI were founded in Asia.


From the archive shelf of SCI/IVS Archives collector, Ralph Hagnauer and his wife Ivy from Switzerland
5 July 1962:	Adnan b Haji Abdullah b/p Director of Social Welfare, Federation of Malaya wrote an official reply to the SCI Asian Secretary, Devinder Das Chopra in New Delhi as regards SCI’s offer for 2 volunteers to work in the department. Devinder was advised to contact the Ministry of External Affairs through the Indian Govt.  (There was no photostatting machine during that time, so the Letter in the archive had been re-typed and certified true copy.

10 Sept 1963:	UNESCO Travel Grant to Nagaretnam as a representative from the Malayan Association of Youth Clubs (MAYC) to travel as a volunteer to India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) with SCI

20 Feb 1973:	Letter from SCI Asian Secretariat to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Razak for SCI to have Asian Secretary in Malaysia.

1973:	Draft of Memorandum of Understanding between the Govt of Malaysia and SCI for the establishment of Asian Secretary in Malaysia.