The World Organization of the Scout Movement
(WOSM) is the Non-governmental international
organization which governs most national Scout Organizations
, with 28 million members. WOSM was established in 1920 and has its headquarters in Geneva
. It is the counterpart of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
The mission of WOSM is to contribute to the education of young people, through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Scout Law, to help build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society. WOSM is organized into regions and operates with a conference, committee and bureau.
World Scout Conference
The World Scout Conference
(WSC) is the governing body and meets every three years, preceded by the World Scout Youth Forum
. The World Scout Conference is the general assembly of Scouting and is composed of six delegates from each of the member Scout associations. If a country has more than one association, the associations form a federation for coordination and world representation. The basis for recognition and membership in the World Scout Conference includes adherence to the aims and principles of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, and independence from political involvement on the part of each member association.
The Conference meets every three years and is hosted by a member association. At the World Scout Conference basic cooperative efforts are agreed upon and a plan of mutual coordination is adopted.
- 1920 First World Scout Conference-London, England, United Kingdom 33 member countries
- 1922 Second World Scout Conference-Paris, France 32 member countries
- 1924 Third World Scout Conference-Copenhagen, Denmark 34 member countries
- 1926 Fourth World Scout Conference-Kandersteg, Switzerland 29 member countries
- 1929 Fifth World Scout Conference-Birkenhead, England, United Kingdom 33 member countries
- 1931 Sixth World Scout Conference-Vienna-Baden, Austria 44 member countries
- 1933 Seventh World Scout Conference-Gödöllő, Hungary 31 member countries
- 1935 Eighth World Scout Conference-Stockholm, Sweden 28 member countries
- 1937 Ninth World Scout Conference-The Hague, Netherlands 34 member countries
- 1939 10th World Scout Conference-Edinburgh, Scotland 27 member countries
- 1947 11th World Scout Conference-Château de Rosny-sur-Seine, France 27 member countries
- 1949 12th World Scout Conference-Elvesaeter, Norway 25 member countries
- 1951 13th World Scout Conference-Salzburg, Austria 34 member countries
- 1953 14th World Scout Conference-Vaduz, Liechtenstein 35 member countries
- 1955 15th World Scout Conference-Niagara Falls, Canada 44 member countries
- 1957 16th World Scout Conference-Cambridge, England, United Kingdom 52 member countries
- 1959 17th World Scout Conference-New Delhi, India 35 member countries
- 1961 18th World Scout Conference-Lisbon, Portugal 50 member countries
- 1963 19th World Scout Conference-Rhodes, Greece 52 member countries
- 1965 20th World Scout Conference-Mexico City, Mexico 59 member countries
- 1967 21st World Scout Conference-Seattle, Washington, United States 70 member countries
- 1969 22nd World Scout Conference-Otaniemi, Finland 64 member countries
- 1971 23rd World Scout Conference-Tokyo, Japan 71 member countries
- 1973 24th World Scout Conference-Nairobi, Kenya 77 member countries
- 1975 25th World Scout Conference-Lundtofte, Denmark 87 member countries
- 1977 26th World Scout Conference-Montreal, Canada 81 member countries
- 1979 27th World Scout Conference-Birmingham, England, United Kingdom 81 member countries
- 1981 28th World Scout Conference-Dakar, Senegal 74 member countries
- 1983 29th World Scout Conference-Dearborn, Michigan, United States 90 member countries
- 1985 30th World Scout Conference-Munich, Germany 93 member countries
- 1988 31st World Scout Conference-Melbourne, Australia 77 member countries
- 1990 32nd World Scout Conference-Paris, France
- 1993 33rd World Scout Conference-Sattahip, Thailand
- 1996 34th World Scout Conference-Oslo, Norway 108 member countries
- 1999 35th World Scout Conference-Durban, South Africa 116 countries
- 2002 36th World Scout Conference-Greece 126 member countries
- 2005 37th World Scout Conference-Hammamet, Tunisia 122 member countries
- 2008 38th World Scout Conference-Korea 150 member countries
The 39th World Scout Conference will be held in Brazil in 2011.
World Scout Committee
The World Scout Committee is the chief executive body of the World Scout Conference and is composed of elected volunteers. The World Scout Committee represents World Scout Conference between the meetings of the full conference. The World Scout Committee is responsible for the implementation of the resolutions of the World Scout Conference and for acting on its behalf between its meetings. The Committee meets twice a year, usually in Geneva, Switzerland. Its Steering Committee, consisting of the Chairman, two Vice-Chairmen and the Secretary General, meet as needed.
The Committee is composed of 14 members. Twelve, each from a different country, are elected for six-year terms by the World Scout Conference. The members, elected without regard to their nationality, do not represent their country but the interests of the Movement as a whole. The Secretary General and the Treasurer of WOSM are ex-officio members of the Committee. The chairmen of the regional Scout committees participate in the World Scout Committee meetings in a consultative capacity.
The World Scout Committee has set up work streams to address the top strategic priorities, as defined by the World Scout Conference, which at present include:
- Youth involvement
- Volunteers in Scouting
- Scouting's profile (communications, partnerships, resources)
Standing committees include:
- Honours and Awards
- Working With Others- a consultative committee of the WOSM and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), composed of members of the World Committee/World Board of both organizations
- 2007 Task Force for the 100th Anniversary of Scouting, composed of members of the World Scout Committee, World Scout Bureau, World Scout Foundation, and The Scout Association of the United Kingdom
Current members of the World Scout Committee
The Bronze Wolf
is the only distinction awarded by WOSM, awarded by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting. It was first awarded to Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell
by a unanimous decision of the then-International Committee
on the day of the institution of the Bronze Wolf in Stockholm
World Scout Bureau
The World Scout Bureau (WSB, formerly the International Bureau) is the secretariat that carries out the instructions of the World Scout Conference and the World Scout Committee. The WSB is administered by the secretary general, who is supported by a small staff of technical resource personnel. The bureau staff helps associations improve and broaden their Scouting by training professionals and volunteers, establishing finance policies and money-raising techniques, improving community facilities and procedures, and assisting in marshaling the national resources of each country behind Scouting.
The staff also helps arrange global events such as the World Scout Jamborees, encourages regional events, and acts as a liaison between the Scouting movement and other international organizations. A major effort in the emerging nations is the extension of the universal Good Turn into an organization-wide effort for community development.
The World Organization of the Scout Movement is associated with the three World Scout Centres. The World Scout Jamboree is held roughly every four years under the auspices of the WOSM, with members of WAGGGS also invited. WOSM also organises the World Scout Moot, a Jamboree for 17-26 year olds, and has organised the World Scout Indaba, a gathering for Scout leaders. The World Scout Foundation is a perpetual fund governed by a separate Board of Governors and supported by donations for the development of Scouting programs throughout the world.
The WOSM is the non-governmental organization (NGO), that represents the Scouting movement at the United Nations. The WOSM and WAGGGS both have General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council ECOSOC of the United Nations.
World Scout Centres
World Scout Centre
is a brand of the WOSM and actually used by three Scouting facilities in different countries. These facilities are operated by the corresponding regional divisions or by independent bodies:
The WOSM membership badge, called the World Crest
, is a purple, circular badge with a fleur-de-lis
in the center, surrounded by a piece of rope tied with a reef knot
(also called a square knot). The fleur-de-lis is an ancient symbol, originally used by Baden-Powell for the enlisted scouts of the British Army and subsequently adopted and modified for Scouting. The arrowhead represents the North point on a compass, and is intended to point Scouts on the path to service and unity. The three points on the fleur-de-lis represent the three duties, to God, self and others. The two five-point stars stand for truth and knowledge, with the ten points representing the ten points of the Scout Law (see below
). The bond at the base of the fleur-de-lis shows the family of Scouting. The encircling rope symbolizes the unity and family of the World Scout Movement.
As a result of the first World Scout Jamboree at Olympia, London in 1920, leaders there created the Boy Scouts' International Conference. All 31 nations represented at Olympia were the charter members. A Bureau was established at 25, Buckingham Palace Road, London, and the then United Kingdom International Commissioner, Hubert S. Martin
, was appointed as Honorary Director. The Boy Scouts' International Conference was later superseded by the World Scout Conference.
The needs of Scout youth in unusual situations has created some interesting permutations, answerable directly to the World Scout Bureau. For years there was an active Boy Scouts of the United Nations with several troops at Parkway Village in New York City, with but 14 members in 1959. Also directly registered to the World Bureau were the 900 member International Boy Scouts of the Canal Zone, as well as 84 Scouts of the European Coal and Steel Community, an early precursor to the European Union.
Publications of WOSM include:
- Scouting 'Round the World: a book updated every three years with details on all WOSM member organizations;
- WorldInfo: a monthly circular distributed in electronic format with the help of Scoutnet.
- Facts on World Scouting, Boy Scouts International Bureau, Ottawa, Canada, 1961
- Laszlo Nagy, 250 Million Scouts, The World Scout Foundation and Dartnell Publishers, 1985