The Beginnings

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 Founders of YMCA

George Williams [October 11, 1821 – November 6, 1905] was born the youngest in a family of eight sons, on a farm in the misty hills of Dulverton, Somerset in England. As a young man, he was rebellious but eventually became a devout Christian. George Williams was appalled and concerned with the terrible condition in London that in 1844, he gathered a group of his colleagues addressing such issues by practicing Christian principles, and YMCA was formed since then. In 1894, George Williams was knighted by Queen Victoria in recognition of his “distinguished service to the cause of humanity”. Sir George Williams died in 1905 at the age of 85. 

Jean Henry Dunant [May 8, 1828 – October 30, 1910] also known as Henry Dunant or Henri Dunant, was born in Geneva, Switzerland as the eldest in a devout Calvinist family and played a significant influence in the Geneva society. At age 18, Dunant joined the Geneva Society for Alms and in the following year, together with friends he founded the so-called “Thursday Association”, a loose band of young men that met to study the Bible and help the poor, spending free time engaged in prison visits and social work. On November 30, 1852 he founded the Geneva chapter of the YMCA and three years later, he took part in the Paris meeting devoted to the founding of its international organization. He won the first ever Nobel Peace Prize for founding the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1863 and inspiring the Geneva Convention.

George Williams ..........................Jean Henry Dunant



World Alliance of YMCAs

The World Alliance of YMCAs, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is a confederation of National Councils of YMCAs around the world.The World Alliance was established in 1855 making it one of the oldest youth movements in the world. The World Alliance has had consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations since 1947 and the headquarters is also in Geneva, Switzerland.

The World Alliance:

  • Strengthens the capacity of National YMCA Movements by providing training and technical support, sharing good practices, resources, and minimum standards.
  • Advocates globally on issues affecting young people in collaboration with, and on behalf of YMCAs.
  • Represents the YMCA at global level with media, donors, United Nations bodies, ecumenical organisations and other civil society partners.
  • Develops programmes to promote youth leadership - Provides leadership to the YMCA Movement on thematic and mission issues.
  • Coordinates YMCA emergency response efforts.
  • Facilitates communications within the world Movement through publications and multimedia.

World Alliance of YMCAs 
12 Clos Belmont, 
1208 Geneva, Switzerland 
Phone: +41-22-8495100
Fax: +41-22-8495110 


The Asia & Pacific Alliance of YMCAs

The Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs is a Federation of 27 YMCA movements in Asia and Pacific countries and territories. It is an integral part of the World Alliance of YMCAs and the representative body of the YMCAs in this region. Formation of the then Asia Alliance as a regional body began in 1949. Today the Alliance comprises of the following YMCA movements in this region:


East Timor 
Hong Kong 
New Zealand 
Papua New Guinea 
Sri Lanka 


The main functions are:

  • To promote cooperation among Movements in Asia and Pacific, with other YMCA Movements and the World Alliance while preserving the integrity and identity of each Movement.
  • To promote in collaboration with the World Alliance and the Movements concerned the extension of the YMCAs in the  region to serve new constituencies and new geographic areas.
  • To coordinate and be responsible within Asia and Pacific for intermovement cooperation, programmes, projects, funding, staffing and other plans including those with Movements from other areas, upon mutual agreement with the World Alliance and the Movements concerned.
  • To search continuously for the meaning of the Christian message in the YMCA in the Asian context and encourage National Movements to fulfill their Christian Mission in the life and work of each YMCA.
  • To review from time to time the needs, problems and opportunities in Asia and Pacific and determine the course of action that must be taken inclusive of the realm of social change such as justice and human rights.
  • To promote the study, discussion and action on matters of common concern to the National Movements.
  • To hold the Quadrennial General Assembly of the YMCAs in the region and to hold other Consultations and Conferences from time to time.
  • To promote leadership development.

Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs 
23, Waterloo Road, 
Kowloon, Hong Kong. 
Tel: (+852) 2780 8347 (+852) 2770 3168 
Fax: (+852) 2385 4692