For the Crisis and Support Centre’s 10-year anniversary, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs wanted to show the many missions of its “emergency diplomats” in a brand new format: a series of large-format pictures that would provide a comprehensive overview of everything the CDCS does.

The crises featured in this exhibition were chosen with a twofold goal in mind. The first was to cover the founding events that, because of their diverse aspects, shaped the CDCS’s actions and even its organizational structure, both in terms of staffing and operations. The second was to show events that left an impression on our collective memory, even if the general public was not necessarily aware of the CDCS’s role in handling these events.

In 10 years, nearly 300 formal crisis units were activated, each time with the same level of commitment and dedication from CDCS staff and all those who lent their support to the missions to help victims and their families, the main priority of the Crisis and Support Centre’s activities. While the chapters of this exhibition recount the challenges the CDCS teams have faced, it should not be forgotten that every crisis – experienced first by the victims themselves – is a unique situation and generalizations cannot be made.

Accordingly, this story does not aim to be exhaustive; every crisis is different in a number of ways.

Additionally, while this exhibition takes a look back at several major events over the past decade, it does not attempt to put the focus on the events themselves but rather the values that drive the CDCS’s missions, by sharing the experiences and commitment of all the men and women who work there, without hiding the difficulties they face.

It also shows that the CDCS’s work starts well before its emergency crisis actions with planning and prevention, and it continues afterwards, especially via the Stabilization Department, which provides additional humanitarian relief to help civil society and States during their crisis recovery efforts.

Finally, the Crisis Centre does not work only during crises, as many of the accounts emphasize. Through its long-term efforts and a focus on preparedness, the Crisis and Support Centre stays ready for any crisis and learns from each one it faces.

The choice was made to tell the CDCS’s story as a reportage, with direct and written personal accounts playing a key role. Through a combination of text, images and videos, a storytelling approach is used to explain the activities of this centre, which is unique in its mission and organizational structure, and to make the very human aspect of the CDCS’s actions more visible. All of the media (videos, infographics and texts) were produced by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Press and Communication Directorate and the Crisis and Support Centre.

We would like to extend our gratitude to all those who agreed to share their personal accounts to include in this exhibition, as well as to those who agreed to talk about the events that changed their lives forever.

Photo credits

Cellou Binani /AFP Photo
Brazilian Navy/Hanbdout/AE
Anastasia Bosio / MEAE
Bruno Chapiron / MEAE
Centre de Crise et de Soutien / MEAE
Ollo Hien /AFP Photo
Sajjad Hussain
Sia Kambou /AFP Photo
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul /AFP Photo
Frédéric de La Mure / MEAE
Judith Litvine /MEAE
Julien Manuel
Kristin Palitza
Ibrahim Ramadan/Anadolu Agency
Chris J Ratcliffe / AFP
Kenzo Tribouillard /AFP Photo
Pedro Ugarte