International Day of Friendship

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Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.  - Albert Camus

Friendship is the greatest possession of life. It is a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people and a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association. It is then unquestionable that one of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.

Although there are many forms of friendship, certain characteristics are always present and shared. Such characteristics include affection, sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, mutual understanding, compassion, trust, the ability to be oneself, express one's feelings, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend. While there is no practical limit on what types of people can form a friendship, friends tend to share common backgrounds, occupations, or interests, and have similar demographics.

The International Day of Friendship is a United Nations (UN) day that promotes the role that friendship plays in promoting peace in many cultures all around the world. It is observed on the 30th of July each year. The day is based on the recognition of friendship not only in the general sense but also both its relevance and importance as a valuable sentiment in the lives of human beings around the world.

The International Day of Friendship has been celebrated in several South American countries for many years, particularly in Paraguay, where the first World Friendship Day was proposed, back in 1958. In 2011, the UN proclaimed the International Day of Friendship with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, and cultures can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. In this day, the UN urges young people to contribute in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity.

NELSON MANDELA INTERNATIONAL DAY

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As l walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if l didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison. Nelson Mandela

Mandela was a true representation of selflessness and a blessing to human kind. His legacy lives on from generation to generation. He was a symbol of boundless unity that has no race and shares one common good, a human kind.

In November 2009, the UN General Assembly declared 18thJuly as International Day of Nelson Mandela in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom. Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.

Acknowledging on his great efforts, every year on his birthday, UN joins a call with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to devote 67 minutes of time to helping others as a way of honoring his good deeds throughout the world and encouraging individuals, communities, governments and non-profit organizations to take one small step towards the larger leap of making a positive imprint.

The idea of Mandela Day was inspired by Mandela at his 90th birthday celebrations in London's Hyde Park in 2008, when he said: "It is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now." Understanding that underlying idea, it is obvious that the purpose of this day is not only about doing well; but also about building the cultures that will make a difference in the world.

World Population Day

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A finite world can support only a finite population; therefore, population growth must eventually equal zero. - Garrett Hardin

Population is still technically growing and according to the United Nation Population Division’s numbers, that growth is slowing dramatically. World population day is a global awareness operation that is celebrated all over the world by bringing a population revolution internationally and seeking to raise understanding of global population issues.

In 1968, world leaders proclaimed that individuals had a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and timing of their children. Since that day, 11th July is continued to be observed to reiterate the significance of human right to plan for a family by encouraging activities and disseminating the right information to help make this right veracity.

However, realization of the right to plan a family encounters many challenges including the fact that many modern contraception remains out of reach for millions of women, men and young people. Regardless, the growth of population will continue to increase despite the dramatic declines in the average number of children per woman. 

Acknowledging on the threats possessed by the world population growth, the UN authorized this day as a vehicle to build an awareness of population issues and the impact they have on development as well as the environment. Each year a theme is selected to highlight a priority area of concern pertaining to population issues.

INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST DRUG ABUSE AND ILLICIT TRAFFICKING

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No one is immune from addiction; it afflicts people of all ages, races, classes, and professions. - Patrick J. Kennedy

Drug abuse poses significant health challenges to the whole world. They are globally prevented due to its serious effects on health, social, economic and security matters. This problem is no longer limited to one type of drug or to a particular country or a specific class of the community.

In 1987 the United Nation (UN) decided to give focus to the phenomenon of drug abuse and drug trafficking and called for a concerted global effort to fight the rise of drugs which has become a global trade. The poignant question we need to ask ourselves as responsible citizens of our countries is: What have we done to raise awareness and report drugs related crimes that happen in our countries?

Today, 26th June 2014, is the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, a day which was created by the General Assembly of the United Nations to raise awareness of the negative impacts of drug abuse and trafficking and as a determination to strengthen action as well as cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society, free of drug abuse. This day is supported by individuals, communities and various organizations all over the world.

World Refugee Day

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In the midst of migrants in search of a better life there are people in need of protection: refugees and asylum-seekers, women and children victims of trafficking. Many move simply to avoid dying of hunger. When leaving is not an option but a necessity, this is more than poverty.  -Antonio Guterres

Imagine being the parent of a sick and hungry child and having to decide between risking your life staying in a conflict or leaving behind everything in search of safety.

For years, many countries and regions have been holding their own events similar to World Refugee Day. One of the most widespread events is Africa Refugee Day, which is celebrated on June 20 in many countries. The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to express its solidarity with Africa. The resolution noted that 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees, and that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on June 20. The Assembly therefore decided that June 20 would be celebrated as World Refugee Day from 2001 onwards. This day was designated by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to bring attention to the plight of approximately 14 million refugees around the world.

World Refugee Day is an era for us to reflect on the refugees and displaced people around the world who bear these terrible burdens through no fault of their own. It is a day for governments around the world to augment their work to support refugees, to recommit themselves to the resolution of conflicts, and to make greater efforts to prevent them.