Just five years ago, the United Nations General Assembly declared July 30th as International Day of Friendship. Although it isn’t a widely celebrated day at the moment, it certainly has gained traction since its inception. And as we look at our current world, I certainly feel that we are in greater need than ever for a day like this!
So, what does International Day of Friendship represent? This day was instated as a reminder to civilians around the world to promote respect for all human rights, as well as foster a culture of peace and security through tolerance and understanding.
The United Nations places particular emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity. Lastly, though it might seem obvious, the International Day of Friendship is also based on the recognition of the relevance and importance of friendship as a noble and valuable sentiment in the lives of human beings around the world.
I find UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks on International Day of Friendship a poignant reminder of why this day is important:
“The International Day of Friendship was initiated by an individual who had a simple but profound vision: that the forces of animosity and hatred in our world are no match for the power of the human spirit.
I had the opportunity, earlier this year in Paraguay, to commend that pioneer, Dr. Ramón Bracho, for his conviction that just as friendship builds bridges between people, it can also inspire peace in our world.
This is of paramount importance as we confront the discrimination, malice and cruelty that drive conflicts and atrocities afflicting millions of people today. We must counter these destructive trends with a renewed commitment to finding our common humanity and fostering shared progress.
On this International Day of Friendship, let us strengthen bonds among individuals and generate greater respect and understanding in our world.”
Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General
This Saturday, take a moment to express your gratitude for the friendships in your life and to spread some peace to the world around you!