Category Archives: World Humanitarian Day

Women Celebrated on This Year’s World Humanitarian Day #WomenHumanitarians

Today is World Humanitarian Day, the annual day where we celebrate humanitarians all over the world who work every day to save lives even in some of the world’s most dangerous countries. This year the world is celebrating women humanitarians as often they are on the front lines in our world’s worst crises.

We know that it can be especially harrowing to be an aid worker in countries like Syria, Yemen, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. We appreciate all of their efforts to continue to work even in dangerous circumstances. Read 24 hours of stories of women front line humanitarians on worldhumanitarianday.org.

Today, I would like to celebrate an aid worker I met in the Philippines when I traveled with World Vision USA to see their life-saving work after the devastating typhoon, Haiyan. Her name is Mai Zamora and she left an indelible impression on me. She was always upbeat despite the number of families who were in need of everything from food and jobs to housing and clothing. And, she was always available for questions and has personal stories about how she fared during the typhoon. When I met her, she was the definition of an aid worker to me along with her colleagues who are still doing amazing work in the Philippines and around the world.

Continue reading Women Celebrated on This Year’s World Humanitarian Day #WomenHumanitarians

Today Marks World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian DayToday, and for a full month, the world will remember the humanitarians and aid workers who work tirelessly around the globe to better the lives of others. Being an aid worker is often a thankless job and a dangerous one to boot. Today marks a day to solemnly remember all of those who have given their lives to make the world a better place such as the 14 people who died in Somalia this June after the horrendous attack on the UN compound in Mogadishu.

Today also marks the tenth anniversary of the first World Humanitarian Day that was designated in 2003 by the General Assembly to remember the bombing that year of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq that took the lives of 22 humanitarians.

Watch this year’s official message.

This year, while we remember those who have lost their lives, it is also a time to spread the message about what the world needs more of in a one-of-a-kind, month-long digital campaign that quite literally turns words into action. On Twitter you can share what you think the world needs more of. Here’s how:

Visit worldhumanitarianday.org.

Scroll down until you see trending words to click and share. What do you think the world needs more of? Here’s our tweet:

For every word you share on Twitter, one of the World Humanitarian Day sponsors, including Western Union, Gucci, Intel, and Barclays Bank, will donate money to aid organizations like Care and UNICEF.

Beyoncé and Kid President

Following her stellar performance at the UN General Assembly Hall last year and subsequent video for I Was Here that reached 1 billion people,
Beyoncé once again lent her voice to a worthy cause, this time with the now-famous Kid President who interviewed her about what World Humanitarian Day means to her.

For more information visit worldhumanitarianday.org.

Photo Credit: Marshall Douglis

An Evening Celebrating the World’s Humanitarians

On Friday night I attended the “I Was Here” event at the United Nations headquarters in New York in celebration of World Humanitarian Day that is celebrated every year on August 19. In attendance was Beyonce who filmed the video for her song I Was Here  in the UN General Assembly Hall.  She donated her video to the  United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs to spread the word about World Humanitarian Day in order to reach 1 billion people with the message to help one another on August 19 and beyond.

World Humanitarian Day first began in 2007  to honor the 22 people who were killed during an attack at the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq in 2003. Today World Humanitarian Day celebrates the people who help those in need around the world and those who risk their lives every day for the safety and security of people in need.

The evening was capped off by Beyonce’s moving performance, but the night started with remarks by Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator and poignant interviews by Anderson Cooper with people who do amazing things to help others every day. First, Anderson interviewed Laurent Vieira de Mello who helped start the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation. Sergio is Laurent’s father and a humanitarian who was killed in the worst attack against the United Nations in 2003. The Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation works to advance the humanitarian notion of conflicts and resolutions through peaceful means.

Anderson also interviewed Pernille Ironside, a Child Protection Specialist in Emergencies for UNICEF, who has negotiated the release of children from Ugandan warlords and the Nepalese government. The work she does will make your jaw drop, but she continues to work in dangerous situations to save the lives of children around the world. Please take a moment to read an article about Ironside from a few years ago in the CS Monitor. It sums up her amazing work nicely.

Anderson also interviewed Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier in Sierra Leone who was saved by a team from UNICEF in the 1990’s. He wrote A Long Way Gone, his memoir about being a child soldier. He recounted how his immediate family was killed and how he sought refuge at a military base. After a week at the base he had been taught to be a child soldier. He was only 12-years-old.

Beah wrote his book to tell his story and the stories of millions of children just like him. His story shows that even though children are taught to commit horrible atrocities that they can come back from living as a child of war.

Cooper Anderson interviewed Erin Dinan, a New York City-based photographer who started One Sandwich at a Time, a nonprofit that comes together twice a month to feed New York’s homeless. What started as a simple idea to help others has turned into an organization with massive reach that just recently fed 600 people in New York. Learn more about her work at www.onesandwichatatime.com.

On August 19 join me and millions of others who will celebrate World Humanitarian Day and commit to do something – no matter how small – to help someone else. Visit whdiwashere.org to join the movement.

Photo: https://www.facebook.com/UNOCHA

How to Get Involved in World Humanitarian Day – August 19

Every day people risk their lives to help others or sacrifice tremendously to make sure that those in need have access to resources to survive and thrive. Every August 19 we celebrate humanitarians who work tirelessly for others on World Humanitarian Day.

This year’s theme is I Was Here. With the help of Beyoncé, the UN and its humanitarian partners are reaching out to everyone to stand in solidarity and do one thing – no matter how small – to take action and help someone else. Their goal: reach 1 billion people through social media on August 19 with one unified message of helping others.

Watch the “I Was Here” video and visit www.whd-iwashere.org to make your voice heard.