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World Alliance


Scope and Contents

From the Series:

The YMCA has always been a world-wide movement. The New York City YMCA has been part of the international focus almost from its inception. This involvement has taken various forms: formation of branches to meet the needs of specific language groups in New York City (German, Italian, French, Hungarian, Chinese); creation of a consolidated "international" branch after changes in the immigration laws in the 1920s reduced the number of immigrants coming into New York; and the development of exchange and missionary programs to other countries. Today the YMCA of Greater New York continues to welcome immigrants from around the world, providing language classes and help with adjusting to a new country and culture.

In addition to its own international programs, the Y in New York City has been an enthusiastic participant in national programs such as World Service as well as those operated by the World Alliance of YMCAs.


  • From the Collection: 1863-1989


Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

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.

Language of Materials


Related Materials

See finding aid for World Alliance of YMCAs, separately catalogued in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives.

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Kautz Family YMCA Archives Collecting Area