They were set up by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior to promote research on these volcanoes. They were chosen for a number of reasons including their history of large explosive eruptions, their proximity to populations and their effect on people. The overall aim was to increase public awareness and reduce the volcanic hazard posed by these volcanoes.
So here they are...
Mt. Etna, Italy
Mauna Loa, Hawaii
Niragongo, DR Congo
Mt. Rainier, Washington state (USA)
Santa Maria/Santiaguito, Guatemala
Teide, Canary Islands, Spain
Ulawun, Papua New Guinea
Over the next few months I will write a bit about each of these volcanoes, starting with Avachinsky-Koryaksky, Kamchatka.