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A Humanitarian’s World

“Let those we honour today inspire us to start our own journey to make the world a better place and bring our human family more closely together.”         -UN’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Today is World Humanitarian Day, which was established on December 11, 2008 in honor of Sérgio Vieira de Mello, an outstanding humanitarian that tragically lost his life in Baghdad, along with 21 other U.N. personnel, on this day in 2003. Along with the United Nations and governments all over the world, this day is recognized to pay tribute to the hard work, perseverance and dedication of humanitarian workers as they continue to sacrifice their lives to ease the suffering of people in crises. This year’s theme is “people helping people”, encouraging more involvement throughout the world. Check out some amazing stories from humanitarians helping around the world and artists spreading the word through music in a special music video made for this year’s recognition day.

Looking back, this past year has been plagued with humanitarian crises. Newspaper headlines all over the world tell stories from soldiers in Afghanistan to children suffering through the famine in East Africa and more. But what you don’t see in the front page are the people behind the scenes who have risked everything to assist the citizens of countries going through economic and political crises. They are the humanitarian workers who have gone beyond their call of duty to assure victims that there is hope and that they are not alone. During this World Humanitarian Day, the world recognizes the humanitarian workers that have gone through extraordinary measures to aid the victims of these crises. From Haiti to Somalia, their presence around the world have touched countless lives and helped save millions. You can make a difference in many ways which could include helping them raise awareness on the many humanitarian issues plaguing our global community and  the Millennium Development Goals or volunteering. The International Institute of Boston also welcomes you to celebrate this day with them through volunteer work. Whatever you choose to do, whichever cause you wish to undertake, know that you are making a difference.

-Lorainne Marie S. Lopez

Generations Away: Week of 8/8 News Roundup

The week started with the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People on August 9th with the theme “Indigenous designs: Celebrating stories and cultures, crafting our own future”.

The focus this year was on preserving the future considering the struggle in obtaining resources for survival of indigenous people around the world. The focus on preserving and being educated on history of the past for our future on different levels continued throughout the week in a variety of different UN supported events.

At a conference this week at a UN forum in the Republic of Korea UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encouraged youth in the conference and around the globe to take into consideration the different obstacles that the world faces and realize that the youth today will be the global leaders in the near future. The theme of the conference as it continues is “Sustainable Development: Advancing Human Progress in Harmony with Nature” and focuses on the development in today’s generation for the future.

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy ended his post this week and stressed the need for the people of the future to continue to stay engaged in the world’s development as well as there is specifically a constant need for the work of peacekeeping. He mentioned how the need may not seem vivid at all times, but there are always situations that arise where peacekeeping support is needed in nations throughout the world. On the same day, General Assembly President Joseph Deiss spoke during both a visit to Argentina and a seminar in Chile ‘The United Nations in Global Governance’ about the importance of the UN’s role in adjusting to improve its global governance in the 21st century as it branches all of the nations it supports together, starting with organizations including the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council (ESOSOC).

Efforts were made this week by young global students as students in Japan spoke with UN Security-General Ban Ki-moon during his visit following the natural disaster earlier this year. They discussed the future of Japan and their dedication as students to help the country during its recovery and the UN Secretary-General initiated plans for an international high-level meeting next month to discuss the issue. Along with education, comes the important support of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of Academic Impact which focuses on the research and development of learning so that world challenges have the potential to be solved in our future and communities can come together similar to international communities reaching out in conferences.

Along with highlighting how education can help solve global obstacles and the efforts to help the recovery of Japan, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon mentioned the importance this week of international support for Somalia who is still currently struggling with the development of its nation and government along with the challenges of the famine that continues to affect its country and others in the Horn of Africa. This continues to be an incredible global tragedy for the continent of Africa, and offers an urgent opportunity for organizations supported by the United Nations and the entire international community to support.

Involvement in global impact starts young! Players of the Spanish soccer team FC Barcelona met with youth in Dallas, Texas this week to encourage participation in the sport of soccer and to send the message to the children that passion is the key to success. Both UNICEF, who has been a major contributor to the providing resources to the crisis in the Horn of Africa recently, and FC Barcelona have worked together in the past and continue to do so in encouraging youth participation in sports and the education behind the skills learned from being active on an educational, environmental and social level so that future generations that are struggling today can develop in the future.

Are you looking to get involved and have an impact on helping the world? Do you have an idea you think the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should hear? You’re in luck! A Citizen Ambassador’s contest in time for World Humanitarian Day 2011 coming up later this month just started this week giving those that participate the potential to have the opportunity to share your idea with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon himself. Check it out, here!

-Cara