Service Civil International (SCI) is an organization dedicated to promoting a culture of peace by organizing international volunteer projects, which we consider a tool for creating intercultural understanding and solidarity among people of different backgrounds.
SCI was founded by Pierre Cérésole, a Swiss engineer, who established a peace and humanitarian movement in the aftermath of World War I in 1920, thereby laying down the foundations of SCI. Cérésole organised the first international workcamp (voluntary project) on the former battlefield of Verdun (France) in 1920 in order to reconstruct the war damaged village Esnes-en-Argonne. Amongst the participants were three Germans and Cérésole wanted the workcamp to be a symbol of reconciliation between France and Germany. The volunteers built temporary homes for the villagers and cleared the farmland.
Today, SCI consists of 40 members (branches/groups) and more than 90 partner organisations in all continents. Short and long term voluntary projects take place worldwide and application processes have been modernised.
The movement still believes in promoting peace through concrete acts of solidarity and international cooperation, but there is also a belief that peace and peaceful attitudes can and need to be learned. This is done through various forms of peace education to learn about and from peace. Seminars, training programmes and workshops in the field of non-formal education have become an important additional method of SCI’s work that supports the organisation in achieving its mission of promoting a culture of peace.