Celebrations Continue to Mark World Humanitarian Day
(New York, 24 August 2012): World Humanitarian Day has been commemorated in more than 30 countries in the last week through events including a marathon, music concerts, televised debates and photo exhibitions.
World Humanitarian Day is on 19 August, which this year coincided with the first day of Eid al-Fitr—a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Therefore, many countries held their events a few days after the official date this year.
The focus of World Humanitarian Day this year has been through a global social media campaign, but around the world the United Nations (UN), local and international NGOs, Governments, academia and the public have come together to celebrate aid workers under the theme of “people helping people”.
The international community in Geneva marked the day on 21 August with a televised debate about the role of mass media in humanitarian crises, and the challenges and dangers facing journalists in the field. Seasoned news reporters debated the issue with the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, and UN High Commissioners Antonio Guterres and Navi Pillay. A commemoration was also held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva to honour the 22 people who died in Baghdad on 19 August 2003 when a UN building was attacked.
In Dubai, an estimated 10,000 people flocked to the foot of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, to see a screening of the “I Was Here” music video that Beyoncé donated to the World Humanitarian Day campaign. Other events were held in Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where there have been public screenings of the “I Was Here” video.
Africa held the most events, with more than 12 countries hosting a variety of celebrations including music concerts in Niger and Zimbabwe. Other countries held humanitarian fairs so that aid organizations could raise awareness of their work.
In Asia and the Pacific, events were held in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and Sri Lanka. Events in these countries are now held annually. In Myanmar, more than 170 representatives of the humanitarian community gathered for an event that included a photo slideshow with a musical performance by a youth choir.
In New York, the “I Was Here” video can be seen until the end of the month at Times Square, including on the Toshiba Vision signboards. It was also shown on the MTV high definition video screen.
Translations of the World Humanitarian Day website video content, including the campaign message and special Beyoncé performance, are now available in 22 languages thanks to the online video translation company, Amara and its volunteer community: www.universalsubtitles.org/en/teams/world-humanitarian-day.
For more information, please contact: Kirsten Mildren, WHD Spokesperson, email@example.com
Toshiba’s massive dual LED signboards serve a variety of promotional and public-service functions. In addition to illuminating the annual New Year countdown for upwards of 1 billion celebrants worldwide, the Interlocking System connects both boards in brilliant seasonal displays and animated sporting events. situated below the world-famous New Year Countdown Ball.
In support of World Humanitarian Day, MTV premiered the “I Was Here’ video, globally on MTV channels, mtvU, MTV Hits, MTV Jams. Additionally, MTV is commited to elevating awareness of the UN’s mission through ongoing coverage on MTV News, MTV ACT, and MTV voices.
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.