World Organization of the Scout Movement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

  • 173 organisations[3]
  • Around 43 million participants (2021)[4]
Secretary GeneralAhmad Alhendawi[5][6]
World Scout Committee ChairmanEdward Andrew Chapman
 Scouting portal

The World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM /ˈwʊzəm/) is the largest international Scouting organization. WOSM has 173 members.[3] These members are recognized national Scout organizations, which collectively have around 43 million participants.[4] 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).

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 Conference[edit]

The World Scout Conference 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 the World Organization of the Scout Movement 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
2021 42nd World Scout Conference Digital 170[15]
2024 43rd World Scout Conference Cairo  Egypt[16]  France,  Mexico

World Scout Committee[edit]

The World Scout Committee is the executive body of the World Organization of the Scout Movement 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 at least twice a year. Its Steering Committee, consisting of the Chairperson, two Vice-Chairpersons, a Youth Advisor and the Secretary General, meet as needed.[17]

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 chairpersons 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. The Youth Advisors participate in all of the WSC meetings and are also part of the governing structure between the meetings.

The 2021-2024 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:[18]

  • Educational Methods
    • Boosting Volunteers (Adults in Scouting Project)
    • Earth Tribe Coordinating Team
    • Gender Mainstreaming Coordination
    • Life Skills Initiative
    • SCENES Coordination Team
  • World Events
    • Evolution of the World Scout Conference
    • Innovation of all World Events
  • Good Governance
    • Growth, Recovery and Resilience - Enabling Capacities for Growth
    • GSAT Review and New Partner On-boarding
    • Safe from Harm 1 - Compliance Mechanism Build, Pilot and Implementation
    • Safe from Harm in World and Regional Events
    • Strengthening Consultants Support in Financial Management
    • WOSM Consultants 2.0

Task forces include:

  • Youth Engagement in Decision-Making
  • Sustainability

Workstream Coordination Group

  • Project management support
  • Volunteer management support
  • Monitoring and evaluation support

Standing committees include:

  • Audit
  • Budget
  • Constitutions
  • Ethics
  • Honours and Awards
  • Steering

Current members 2021–2024[edit]

Name[19] Country Term to*
Andy Chapman, Chairperson United States 2024
Jo Deman, Vice-Chair Belgium 2024
Sarah Rita Kattan, Vice-Chair Lebanon 2024
Mehdi Ben Khelil Tunisia 2024
Mori Chi-Kin Cheng Hong Kong 2024
Wayne Adrian Davis Ethiopia 2024
Nika Gorovska Ukraine 2024
Eun Gui Kim Korea 2024
Chrissy Pollithy Germany 2024
Daiana Neil Argentina 2024
Pia Melin Graasbøll Denmark 2024
Juan Reig Spain 2024
Yelena Luzyanina Chairperson, Eurasia Scout Committee 2024
Rubem Tadeu Chairperson, Interamerican Scout Committee 2024
Matthias Gerth Chairperson, European Scout Committee 2024
Abdullah Altraiji Chairperson, Arab Scout Committee 2024
Maina Kiranga Chairperson, Africa Scout Committee 2024
Hon. Gov. Dale Corvera Chairperson, Asia-Pacific Scout Committee 2024
Ahmad Alhendawi, Secretary General Jordan[20]
Joseph Lau, Treasurer Hong Kong
Geoff Morgan, AM, Member WSF Australia[21] 2021**
Fatima Aliyeva Youth Advisor to the World Scout Committee 2024
Yoobinnara Kim Youth Advisor to the World Scout Committee 2024
Reese Medina Youth Advisor to the World Scout Committee 2024
Alhassan Soltan Youth Advisor to the World Scout Committee 2024
Maman Lamine Soumana Ide Issa Youth Advisor to the World Scout Committee 2024
Melissa Wilm Senna Pinto Youth Advisor to the World Scout Committee 2024
  • 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 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 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 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.[22]


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.[23] In August 2013, WOSM announced the relocation of the World Scout Bureau Central Office (WSB-CO) to Kuala Lumpur where it is now located.[24]

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


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 Centres[edit]

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 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. [26]

World Scout emblem[edit]

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.[27] 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 organizations[edit]

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.[29] 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.[30] The D.P. Division was closed on 30 June 1950.[31]

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[32] 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.[33] Janning's troop became the first troop directly registered by the BSIB.[34] 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,[35] and the first group to be registered, the International Troop 1 in Yokohama.[36] The international troop in Yokohama is the only remaining active troop of the small group of the originally directly registered mixed-nationality troops.[37]

Inter-religious Forum of World Scouting[edit]

The Inter-religious Forum of World Scouting serves as a working-group for the religions and beliefs represented in Scouting. There are eight main religious groups represented in the Inter-religious Forum of World Scouting:[38]


Publications of WOSM include:

See also[edit]


  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: 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 "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 "Final WOSM Census 2022" (PDF). 31 May 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Next Secretary General – World Organization of the Scout Movement". Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Alhendawi announces departure – Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth". United Nations. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  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. (March 2004). "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 from the original on 26 September 2009.
  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. ^ "Opening of the 42nd World Scout Conference". Archived from the original on 11 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  16. ^ "World Scout Conference declares Egypt the host for the next event in 2024". World Organization of the Scout Movement. Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  17. ^ "World Scout Committee". WOSM World Scouting. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  18. ^ "Annex 1: 2021-2024 Operational Framework" (PDF). World Organization of the Scout Movement. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  19. ^ "World Scout Committee members". Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  20. ^ "Next Secretary General Announced". World Organization of the Scout Movement. 11 November 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  21. ^ "Mr Geoff Morgan AM". World Scout Foundation.
  22. ^ "World Scout Bureau fact sheet". WOSM World Scouting. Retrieved 2 February 2006.
  23. ^ "History and Location". WOSM World Scout Bureau. Archived from the original on 6 August 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  24. ^ "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.
  25. ^ "Kandersteg International Scout Centre". Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  26. ^ "Launched: World Scouting-UNESCO World Heritage Recognition Initiative, Messengers of Peace Programme at the 23rd World Scout Jamboree" (PDF). WOSM. p. 2.
  27. ^ "The World Membership Badge" (PDF). The Scout Association. 16 May 2006.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ 1948 Letter from J. S. Wilson, BSIB Deputy Director. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  33. ^ 1967 Letter from Jos. Janning, IBS Scoutmaster. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  34. ^ 1955 Letter from R.T. Lund, BSIB Deputy Director. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  35. ^ 1950 Letter from R.T. Lund, BSIB Deputy Director. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  36. ^ 1972 Letter from BSIS Kentropp, BSIB Public Relations. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  37. ^ 1956 Letter from R.T. Lund, BSIB Deputy Director. "Historical Documents". International Boy Scouts. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  38. ^ "Inter-religious Forum of World Scouting".

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]