Philippe Da Costa, an education enthusiast at the helm of the Red Cross

“I’m especially passionate about education,” slip, a touch of gluttony on his voice. At the age of 58, Philippe Da Costa was unanimously elected president of the Red Cross on Friday 10 September. A consecration for those who first pushed the door of the association at the age of 17 to offer their volunteer services. Since then, he has known all the floors of the house. Until Sunday, Philippe Da Costa was national secretary of the association, after having joined as an employee in 2013, as director of association life.

When asked a little more about him, this doctor of education sciences quickly takes refuge behind the tutelary figures of the great pedagogues of the twentieth century.i century, from Maria Montessori to Baden Powel. One last reference in the form of evidence for those who also climbed all levels of Scouting before joining the Red Cross, until he became Commissioner General of French Scouts and Guides (SGDF) in 1994. in 2002 and even President of the World Scout. Organization between 2007 and 2009, where he then monitored more than 50 million children worldwide.

Mobilization of the youngest

At the head of the Red Cross, he is still the youngest to be targeted, the son of Portuguese immigrants who landed in the Jura in 1967. “Because tomorrow’s world will be very different from what we have known so far, we will have to learn to live differently. The Red Cross must become a real actor in social transformation, he advances. Aimed especially at young people, the Red Cross will heal society, which tends to withdraw, through commitment. »

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For example, in the face of climate change, we need to encourage positive action rather than pessimism. “The Red Cross has always been there, alongside the French, in all its difficulties. raises the new president. It was she who was there at the end of the war, when the camps were liberated, but also after the Algerian war, or, more recently, during the floods and the health crisis. No other association is as committed as we are today, both for vaccination against Covid, for social support, and for the reception of refugees from Afghanistan or Haiti. Increasingly, our raison d’être is to allow the most vulnerable to rebuild, to be more resilient. »

“The right person in the right place”

With an impressive curriculum, both in the associative sector (Social Weeks, France Bénévolat, Unis-Cité, etc.) and within the mutual society – today he is Deputy General Manager of the Macif Group since 2014 – or in the Economic, Social and Environmental Department. Council (Cese) of which the current secretary is Philippe Da Costa is also a network man. He is ” the right person in the right place, greet several of his old friends crossed in the SGDF. “Philippe Da Costa is a very skilled person who knows how to convey his ideas,” to advance in particular Michel Payen, who succeeded him at the head of the formation in the SGDF.

He tells an anecdote that he thinks sums up the character. “Philippe was patron of the Scouts de France in 1998, during the Cottard affair,” he remembers, by the name of this chaplain at the head of a small group called Scouts, who had put in the sea, the day before a storm, children who knew nothing of navigation. Seven of them had died. “This tragedy was a wake-up call for all Scouts.. At the time, at the head of the SGDF, Philippe had launched the idea of ​​a listening stamp, supposedly to restore confidence. He did not see the light, but this had forced the various movements to think about the security of the fields. »

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