World Humanitarian Day celebrated Today – 19 August, 2011

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 19 Aug 2011

Islamabad, 19 June, 2011: The World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is being celebrated across the world today. In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly designated 19 August as World Humanitarian Day to honor and thank the work and lives of the humanitarian workers who brave great danger, far from home, working long hours in the most difficult conditions across the world. The day recognizes the sacrifices and contributions of those who lose their lives to give others help and hope. It is also about inspiring the spirit of aid work in everyone.

This is the third year in which the day is being commemorated. The theme for this year’s commemoration is “people helping people” in order to highlight the role of people who are not working for any organization or for a reward but just for the sake of helping people who need help.

In reference to the WHD, the Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Timo Pakkala praised the people of Pakistan and their efforts to help themselves and others in their communities. “The WHD’s theme this year “people helping people” is most relevant to our situation in Pakistan. In the previous years people of Pakistan have shown great resilience in facing disasters in the country and their zeal to rebuild and come back to normal life is phenomenal.“ he said.

In order to promote this year’s WHD, a video contest has been launched by the United Nations globally. The contest consists of pitching an idea of how to change the world, to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. The contestants are expected to make a 30 second video of their idea starting with the phrase “Excuse me, Mr. Secretary-General..."and upload the video on Youtube. An entry form has to be filed in on

The winners of the contest will receive a customized HD Mino Flip Camera as a courtesy of the UN Foundation, honorary title of "Citizen Ambassador to the UN" for two years, complimentary flight and 2 night stay in New York City (date to-be-announced). The winners can pitch their idea in a personal meeting and photo op with the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The winning videos will be screened at the UN by the end of year 2011.The deadline for an entry to the contest is 8 September 2011.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit