World Organization of the Scout Movement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
World Organization of the Scout Movement
World Organization of the Scout Movement flag.svg
World Scout Bureau: Geneva, Switzerland

Secretary General’s Office: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Country worldwide
Founded 1922[1]
Founder Robert Baden-Powell
  • 164 organizations[2]
  • over 40 million participants (2015)[3]
Secretary General Scott Teare
World Scout Committee Chairman João Gonçalves
 Scouting portal

The World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM /wʊzm/) is the largest international Scouting organization. WOSM has 164[4] members. These members are recognized national Scout organizations, which collectively have over 40 million participants.[3] WOSM was established in 1922,[1] and has its operational headquarters at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and its legal seat in Geneva, Switzerland. It is the counterpart of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).

The WOSM's current stated mission 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".[5] WOSM is organized into regions and operates with a conference, committee and bureau.

The WOSM is associated with 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- to 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 WOSM associated Scouting programs throughout the world.

WOSM is a non-governmental organization with General Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).[6]

World Scout Conference[edit]

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.[7]

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. The Conference directed the move of the World Scout Bureau from Ottawa, Canada to Geneva on 1 May 1968.[8]

Date Number Location Country Member Countries Host Candidate Countries
1920 First World Scout Conference London  United Kingdom 33
1922 Second World Scout Conference Paris  France 30
1924 Third World Scout Conference Copenhagen  Denmark 34
1926 Fourth World Scout Conference Kandersteg   Switzerland 29
1929 Fifth World Scout Conference Birkenhead  United Kingdom 33
1931 Sixth World Scout Conference Baden bei Wien  Austria 44
1933 Seventh World Scout Conference Gödöllő  Kingdom of Hungary 31
1935 Eighth World Scout Conference Stockholm  Sweden 28
1937 Ninth World Scout Conference The Hague  Netherlands 34
1939 10th World Scout Conference Edinburgh  United Kingdom 27
1947 11th World Scout Conference Château de Rosny-sur-Seine  France 32
1949 12th World Scout Conference Elvesaeter  Norway 25
1951 13th World Scout Conference Salzburg  Austria 34
1953 14th World Scout Conference Vaduz  Liechtenstein 35
1955 15th World Scout Conference Niagara Falls, Ontario  Canada 44
1957 16th World Scout Conference Cambridge  United Kingdom 52
1959 17th World Scout Conference New Delhi  India 35
1961 18th World Scout Conference Lisbon  Portugal 50
1963 19th World Scout Conference Rhodes  Greece 52
1965 20th World Scout Conference Mexico City  Mexico 59
1967 21st World Scout Conference Seattle  United States 70
1969 22nd World Scout Conference Otaniemi  Finland 64
1971 23rd World Scout Conference Tokyo  Japan 71
1973 24th World Scout Conference Nairobi  Kenya 77
1975 25th World Scout Conference Lundtoft  Denmark 87
1977 26th World Scout Conference Montreal  Canada 81
1979 27th World Scout Conference Birmingham  United Kingdom 81
1981 28th World Scout Conference Dakar  Senegal 74
1983 29th World Scout Conference Dearborn  United States 90
1985 30th World Scout Conference Munich  West Germany 93
1988 31st World Scout Conference Melbourne  Australia 77
1990 32nd World Scout Conference Paris  France 100
1993 33rd World Scout Conference Sattahip  Thailand 99
1996 34th World Scout Conference Oslo  Norway 108
1999 35th World Scout Conference Durban  South Africa 116
2002 36th World Scout Conference Thessaloniki  Greece 125
2005 37th World Scout Conference Hammamet  Tunisia 122  Hong Kong
2008 38th World Scout Conference Jeju-do  South Korea 150
2011 39th World Scout Conference Curitiba  Brazil 138  Australia  Hong Kong   Switzerland
2014 40th World Scout Conference Ljubljana  Slovenia 143  Italy
2017 41st World Scout Conference Baku  Azerbaijan  Malaysia

World Scout Committee[edit]

1939-1955 version of the World Scout Emblem, used by the World Scout Committee

The World Scout Committee is the 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. Its Steering Committee, consisting of the Chairman, two Vice-Chairmen and the Secretary General, meet as needed.[9]

The Committee has 14 members. Twelve, each from a different country, are elected for three-year terms by the World Scout Conference. The members, elected without regard to their nationality, represent the interests of the movement as a whole, not those of their country. 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.[10]

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:

  • Audit
  • Budget
  • Constitutions
  • 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[edit]

Name[11][12] Country Term to*
João Armando Gonçalves Chairman,[13] Portugal 2017
Jemima Nartey Vice-Chair,[13] Ghana 2017
Daniel Ownby Vice-Chair,[13] United States 2017
Karin Ahlbäck Finland 2017
Abdullah al-Fahad Saudi Arabia 2017
Marcel Blaguet Ledjou Côte d'Ivoire 2017
Peter Blatch Australia 2017
Fernando Brodeschi Brazil 2017
Lidija Pozaic Frketic Croatia 2017
Mari Nakano Japan 2017
Craig Turpie United Kingdom 2017
Bagrat Yesayan Armenia 2017
Scott Teare Secretary General, WOSM 2016[14]
Olivier P. Dunant Treasurer, Switzerland
  • Note: The World Scout Conference in 2008 decided that, starting at the World Conference in 2011, elected members will serve for only three years, but be eligible for re-election for one additional term.

Bronze Wolf Award[edit]

The Bronze Wolf Award 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 in 1935.

World Scout Bureau[edit]

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.[15]

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.[16]

Move to Kuala Lumpur[edit]

In August 2013, Secretary General Scott Teare announced his intention to relocate the World Scout Bureau Central Office (WSB-CO) to Kuala Lumpur.[17] The Bureau was first established in London, England in 1920, moved to Ottawa, Canada in 1959 and has been located in Geneva, Switzerland since 1968.[18]

World Bureau (World Organization of the Scout Movement).png

World Scout Centres[edit]

World Scout Centre is a brand of the WOSM but the three World Scout Centres are operated by regional divisions of WOSM and an independent body:

World Scout Programmes[edit]

The Better World Framework combines the Scouts of the World Award, Messengers of Peace and World Scout Environment Programmes as programme initiatives administered by the World Scout Bureau. [19]


The WOSM membership badge is the World Scout Emblem, 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). Baden-Powell first used the fleur-de-lis on a badge awarded to British Army scouts and subsequently adopted and modified the badge 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 service to others, duty to God and obedience to the Scout Law.[20] The two five-point stars stand for truth and knowledge, with the ten points representing the ten points of the Scout Law. The bond at the base of the fleur-de-lis symbolizes the family of Scouting. The encircling rope symbolizes the unity and family of the World Scout Movement.


As a result of The First International Conference held during the first World Scout Jamboree at Olympia, London in 1920, leaders there created the Boy Scouts International Bureau (BSIB). An office was established at 25, Buckingham Palace Road, London, and the then International Commissioner of The Boy Scouts Association of the United Kingdom, Hubert S. Martin, was appointed as Honorary Director. The first task of the bureau was to co-ordinate the discussions and to prepare the Second International Conference in Paris in 1922. At that conference the World Association of the International Scout Movement (WAISM) was founded. In 1961 the WAISM was renamed to World Organization of the Scout Movement. The Boy Scouts' International Conference was later superseded by the World Scout Conference.[21]

The needs of Scout youth in unusual situations has created some interesting permutations, answerable directly to the World Scout Bureau. These permutations fall generally into three categories. "National" Movements not operating within the boundaries of their original homelands, such as the Russian and Armenian exile groups;[21] Small, non-voting associations basically viewed by the BSIB as "councils", such as the Boy Scouts of the United Nations and the International Boy Scouts of the Canal Zone;[22] and the less well known directly registered "mixed-nationality Troops". Both the Boy Scouts of United Nations and the International Boy Scouts of the Canal Zone have long since disbanded, and the only remaining directly registered Troop is the International Boy Scouts, Troop 1 located in Yokohama, Japan.

In addition to these three groups a temporary recognition was extended by the BSIB to Scouts in displaced persons camps after World War II. In 1947 at the 11th International Conference the "Displaced Persons Division" of the BSIB was established to register and support Scouts in displaced person camps in Austria, Northern Italy, and Germany.[23] These Scouts did not receive the right of membership in the Boy Scouts International Conference but gained recognition as Scouts under the protection of the Bureau until they took up residense in a country that had a recognized National Scouting Organization, which they then could join.[24] The D.P. Division was closed on 30 June 1950.[25]

The WAISM decided to admit and recognise the exile Russian Scout group as the "Representatives of Russian Scouting in Foreign Countries" on 30 August 1922 and the Armenian Scouts in France were recognised as a "National Movement on Foreign Soil" on 30 April 1929.[21] The Boy Scouts of the United Nations began in 1945 and 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. The International Boy Scouts of the Canal Zone, a group in Panama with Scouts that claimed British and not Panamanian nationality was originally placed under the American Scouting overseas of the BSA but, in 1947, was transferred under the International Bureau. In 1957 the group had over 900 members and existed as a directly registered group until the late 60s. The third category in the directly registered groups, the "mixed-nationality troops", were registered after discussions concerning such troops took place at the 3rd International Conference of 1924[26] at which the BSIB was authorized to directly register such groups. It seems that the discussion at the 1924 International Conference was, at least in part, prompted by a letter to Baden-Powell from the Scoutmaster of one such a troop in Yokohama, Japan.[27] Janning's troop became the first troop directly registered by the BSIB.[28] Only a few troops were directly registered as soon the practice was discontinued and new "mixed" groups were encouraged to join the National Scout Association of their country of residence. In 1955 only two such groups were still active, a troop in Iraq that disbanded that year,[29] and the first group to be registered, the International Troop 1 in Yokohama.[30] The international troop in Yokohama is the only remaining active troop of the small group of the originally directly registered mixed-nationality troops.[31]


Publications of WOSM include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Constitution of the World Organization of the Scout Movement" (PDF). World Organization of the Scout Movement. January 2011. p. 3. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "Who We Are". World Organization of the Scout Movement. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "The Mission of Scouting". World Organization of the Scout Movement. 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2007. 
  6. ^ "WOSM and the UN". World Organization of the Scout Movement. 2016. 
  7. ^ "World Scouting". WOSM World Scouting. Retrieved 1 February 2006. 
  8. ^ Laszlo Nagy (1921 - 2009) / Secretary General / World Bureau / Governance / Our Organisation / Home - World Organization of the Scout Movement
  9. ^ "World Scout Committee". WOSM World Scouting. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "World Scouting". WOSM World Scouting. Retrieved 1 February 2006. 
  11. ^ "World Scout Conference twitter". 12 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "Day Two of the 40th #ScoutConf culminates with the election of the new World Scout Committee". WOSM. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  13. ^ a b c "The newly elected Chairperson of the World Organization of the Scout Movement - WOSM". World Scout Conference facebook. 14 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  14. ^ "Open Call - Secretary General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement". World Organization of the Scout Movement. 10 September 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2016. 
  15. ^ "World Scouting". WOSM World Scouting. Retrieved 2 February 2006. 
  16. ^ "World Scout Bureau fact sheet". WOSM World Scouting. Retrieved 2 February 2006. 
  17. ^ "World Scout Bureau - Relocation of Central Office" (PDF). WOSM Circular N° 20/2013. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  18. ^ "History and Location". WOSM World Scout Bureau. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  19. ^ "Launched: World Scouting-UNESCO World Heritage Recognition Initiative, Messengers of Peace Programme at the 23rd World Scout Jamboree" (pdf). WOSM. p. 2. 
  20. ^ "The World Membership Badge" (PDF). The Scout Association. 16 May 2006. 
  21. ^ a b c Kroonenberg, Piet J. "Chapter 2: International Scouting: Refugees, Displaced Persons and Exile Scouting". The Undaunted (Integral Internet Edition, November 2011 ed.). ISBN 9780974647906. 
  22. ^ Wilson, John S. (1959). "The International Bureau Goes on the Road". Scouting Round the World (first ed.). London: Blandford Press. p. 134. At Balboa we met up with Gunnar Berg and Ray Wyland of the B.S.A., also on their way to Bogota, and had a conference about the question of coloured Scouts in the Canal Zone, who claim British and not Panamanian nationality. It was agreed that they should be taken under the wing of the Canal Zone Council of the Boy Scouts of America, but ten years later they were transferred directly under the International Bureau as the International Boy Scouts of the Canal Zone. 
  23. ^ Kroonenberg, Piet J. (1998). The Undaunted- The Survival and Revival of Scouting in Central and Eastern Europe. Geneva: Oriole International Publications. pp. 42–43. ISBN 2-88052-003-7. 
  24. ^ Kroonenberg, Piet J. (1998). The Undaunted- The Survival and Revival of Scouting in Central and Eastern Europe. Geneva: Oriole International Publications. pp. 43–46. ISBN 2-88052-003-7. 
  25. ^ Kroonenberg, Piet J. (1998). The Undaunted- The Survival and Revival of Scouting in Central and Eastern Europe. Geneva: Oriole International Publications. pp. 45–46. ISBN 2-88052-003-7. 
  26. ^ 1948 Letter from J,S, Wilson, BSIB Deputy Director. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  27. ^ 1967 Letter from Jos. Janning, IBS Scoutmaster. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  28. ^ 1955 Letter from R.T. Lund, BSIB Deputy Director. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  29. ^ 1950 Letter from R.T. Lund, BSIB Deputy Director. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  30. ^ 1972 Letter from BSIS Kentropp, BSIB Public Relations. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  31. ^ 1956 Letter from R.T. Lund, BSIB Deputy Director. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Facts on World Scouting, Boy Scouts International Bureau, Ottawa, Canada, 1961
  • Laszlo Nagy, 250 Million Scouts, The World Scout Foundation and Dartnell Publishers, 1985
  • Eduard Vallory, "World Scouting: Educating for Global Citizenship", Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2012

External links[edit]