World Organization of the Scout Movement

  (Redirected from World Scout Conference)

The World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM /ˈwʊzəm/) is the largest international Scouting organization. WOSM has 172 members.[3] These members are recognized national Scout organizations, which collectively have over 50 million participants.[6] WOSM was established in 1922,[1][2] 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).

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

  • 172 organisations[3]
  • Over 54 million participants (2020)[3]
Secretary GeneralAhmad Alhendawi[4][5]
World Scout Committee ChairmanCraig Turpie
 Scouting portal

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".[7][8] 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).[9]


As a result of an international conference held during the first World Scout Jamboree at Olympia, London in 1920, leaders there agreed to create a 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 a second international conference in Paris in 1922.[1][2] At the 1922 Paris conference The International Conference of the Boy Scout Movement, its committee and BSIB were constituted by the founding member organizations.[2] In 1961 The International Conference of the Boy Scout Movement reconstituted the organization introducing the name World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). The International Conference of the Boy Scout Movement became the WOSM's World Scout Conference, its International Committee became the World Scout Committee and the Boy Scouts International Bureau became the WOSM's World Scout Bureau.[10]

World Scout ConferenceEdit

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.[11]

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.[12]

Date Number Location Country Member Countries Host Candidate Countries
1920 Retrospectively referred to as the "First International Conference" London   United Kingdom 33
1922 First International Conference (retrospectively referred to as the "Second")[2] Paris   France 30
1924 Third International Conference Copenhagen   Denmark 34
1926 Fourth International Conference Kandersteg    Switzerland 29
1929 Fifth International Conference Birkenhead   United Kingdom 33
1931 Sixth International Conference Baden bei Wien   Austria 44
1933 Seventh International Conference Gödöllő   Hungary 31
1935 Eighth International Conference Stockholm   Sweden 28
1937 Ninth International Conference The Hague   Netherlands 34
1939 10th International Conference Edinburgh   United Kingdom 27
1947 11th International Conference Château de Rosny-sur-Seine   France 32
1949 12th International Conference Elvesaeter   Norway 25
1951 13th International Conference Salzburg   Austria 34
1953 14th International Conference Vaduz   Liechtenstein 35
1955 15th International Conference Niagara Falls, Ontario   Canada 44
1957 16th International Conference Cambridge   United Kingdom 52
1959 17th International Conference New Delhi   India 35
1961 18th International Conference Lisbon   Portugal[13] 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 Espoo   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 169[14]   Malaysia
2020 42nd World Scout Conference Sharm El Sheikh   Egypt Postponed   Malaysia
2021 42nd World Scout Conference Digital
2025 43rd World Scout Conference Sharm El Sheikh   Egypt   France,   Mexico

World Scout CommitteeEdit

The World Scout Committee is the executive body of the World Scout Conference and is composed of elected volunteers and one appointed Secretary General. 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, a Youth Advisor and the Secretary General, meet as needed.[15]

The committee has 21 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, the Treasurer of WOSM and a representative member of the board of the World Scout Foundation and the chairmen of the regional Scout committees are ex-officio members of the committee. The six Youth Advisors to the WSC are elected by the World Scout Youth Forum are participating in all of the WSC meetings and are also part of the governing structure between the meetings.

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
  • Ethics
  • 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 2017-2020 (2021)*Edit

Name[16][17] Country Term to*
Craig Turpie, Chairperson United Kingdom 2021
Jemima Nartey, Vice-Chair Ghana 2021
Andy Chapman, Vice-Chair United States 2021
Mehdi Ben Khelil Tunisia 2021
Peter Blatch Australia 2021
Jo Deman Belgium 2021
Janaprith Fernando Sri Lanka 2021
Ilyas Ismayilli Azerbaijan 2021
Sarah Rita Kattan Lebanon 2021
Leonardo Morales Morales Costa Rica 2021
Pia Melin Mortensen Denmark 2021
Juan Reig Spain 2021
Ahmad Alhendawi, Secretary General Jordan[18]
Joseph Lau, Treasurer Hong Kong
Héctor Robledo Cervantes, Chairperson WSF Mexico 2021**
Kent Clayburn, Chairperson Elect, WSF USA TBA
  • 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. Due SARS-COV2 (COVID-19) pandemic, the World Scout Conference was rescheduled from Aug 2020 to Aug 2021.

Bronze Wolf AwardEdit

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 BureauEdit

The World Scout Bureau is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and has offices in six regional divisions:
  grey areas such as North Korea, Laos and Cuba have no Scouting

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.[11]

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.[19]


The Bureau was first established in London, England in 1920 and moved to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in 1959. The International Conference directed the move of the Bureau from Ottawa to Geneva on 1 May 1968.[20] In August 2013, WOSM announced the relocation of the World Scout Bureau Central Office (WSB-CO) to Kuala Lumpur where it is now located.[21]


This list includes Secretaries General ||and their deputies from the World Organization of the Scout Movement and members of the World Scout Bureau. From 1920 to 1968, this function was called Director

Title Years Name Country
Director 1920-1938 Hubert S. Martin   United Kingdom
Director 1938-1951 John Skinner Wilson   United Kingdom
Director 1951-1965 Daniel Spry   Canada
Director 1965-1968 Richard T. Lund   United Kingdom
Secretary General 1968-1988 László Nagy    Switzerland
Secretary General 1988-2004 Jacques Moreillon    Switzerland
Deputy Secretary General 1991-2004 Malek Gabr   Egypt
Deputy Secretary General 1991-2004 Luc Panissod   France
Secretary General 2004-2007 Eduardo Missoni   Italy
Deputy Secretary General 2004-2007 Dominique Bénard   France
Deputy Secretary General 2004-2007 Luc Panissod   France
Secretary General 2007-2012   France
Secretary General 2013-2016 Scott Teare   USA
Secretary General 2017-incumbent Ahmad Alhendawi   Jordan


World Scout CentresEdit

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

World Scout programmesEdit

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. [23]

World Scout emblemEdit

1939-1955 version of the World Scout Emblem, used by the Boy Scouts International Bureau and International Committee members

The WOSM emblem and membership badge is the World Scout Emblem, a purple, circular logo with a fleur-de-lis in the center, surrounded by a length of rope tied with a reef knot (also called a square knot). Baden-Powell used a fleur-de-lis 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 the three parts of the Scout Promise: - service to others, duty to God and obedience to the Scout Law.[24] 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.

Recognition of non-national Scouting organizationsEdit

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:

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.[26] 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 residence in a country that had a recognized National Scouting Organization, which they then could join.[27] The D.P. Division was closed on 30 June 1950.[28]

The International Conference of the Boy Scout Movement 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 recognized as a "National Movement on Foreign Soil" on 30 April 1929.[10]

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[29] 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 troop in Yokohama, Japan.[30] Janning's troop became the first troop directly registered by the BSIB.[31] 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,[32] and the first group to be registered, the International Troop 1 in Yokohama.[33] The international troop in Yokohama is the only remaining active troop of the small group of the originally directly registered mixed-nationality troops.[34]


Publications of WOSM include:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Constitution of the World Organization of the Scout Movement" (PDF). World Organization of the Scout Movement. January 2011. p. 3.
  2. ^ a b c d e Colquhoun, OBE, John Frederick (1954). Running a Scout Group. London UK: The Boy Scouts Association. p. 198. the first International Conference was held in Paris in 1922, when Great Britain became one of the founder-members of the world organization.
  3. ^ a b c "AFGHANISTAN REJOINS THE SCOUT MOVEMENT, EXPANDING ITS MEMBERSHIP TO 171 MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS WORLDWIDE". 10 January 2019. Archived from the original on 10 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Next Secretary General - World Organization of the Scout Movement". Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Alhendawi announces departure - Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth". Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  6. ^ "National Scout Organizations". World Organization of the Scout Movement. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Mission". World Organization of the Scout Movement. 2017. Archived from the original on 6 December 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  8. ^ "The Mission of Scouting". World Organization of the Scout Movement. 2007. Archived from the original on 29 June 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2007.
  9. ^ "WOSM and the UN". World Organization of the Scout Movement. 2016.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ a b "World Scouting". WOSM World Scouting. Archived from the original on 24 December 2005. Retrieved 2 February 2006.
  12. ^ Laszlo Nagy (1921 - 2009) / Secretary General / World Bureau / Governance / Our Organisation / Home - World Organization of the Scout Movement Archived 26 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Moot "Down Under"". The Daily News. St. Johns, Newfoundland. 9 February 1960. p. 9. Retrieved 3 September 2019 – via
  14. ^ "World Scouting Welcomes the Iraq Scout Association". World Scouting.
  15. ^ "World Scout Committee". WOSM World Scouting. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  16. ^ "Craig Turpie is the Chairperson of the WSC 2017-2020". Azerbaijan: World Scout Conference. 18 August 2017. Archived from the original on 18 August 2017. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  17. ^ Ismayilova, Laman (17 August 2018). "World Scout Conference continues its work in Baku". Azerbaijan. Archived from the original on 17 August 2017. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  18. ^ "Next Secretary General Announced". World Organization of the Scout Movement. 11 November 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  19. ^ "World Scout Bureau fact sheet". WOSM World Scouting. Retrieved 2 February 2006.
  20. ^ "History and Location". WOSM World Scout Bureau. Archived from the original on 6 August 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  21. ^ "World Scout Bureau - Relocation of Central Office" (PDF). WOSM Circular N° 20/2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 September 2013. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  22. ^ "Kandersteg International Scout Centre". Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  23. ^ "Launched: World Scouting-UNESCO World Heritage Recognition Initiative, Messengers of Peace Programme at the 23rd World Scout Jamboree" (pdf). WOSM. p. 2.
  24. ^ "The World Membership Badge" (PDF). The Scout Association. 16 May 2006.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ 1948 Letter from J. S. Wilson, BSIB Deputy Director. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  30. ^ 1967 Letter from Jos. Janning, IBS Scoutmaster. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  31. ^ 1955 Letter from R.T. Lund, BSIB Deputy Director. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  32. ^ 1950 Letter from R.T. Lund, BSIB Deputy Director. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  33. ^ 1972 Letter from BSIS Kentropp, BSIB Public Relations. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  34. ^ 1956 Letter from R.T. Lund, BSIB Deputy Director. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013.

Further readingEdit

  • 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 linksEdit