Posts Tagged ‘United Nations’

Happy International Volunteer Day–How Are You Celebrating?

Today, December 5, is International Volunteer Day. In addition to rallies, free medical care events, celebrations, and community gatherings, today is especially poignant in the volunteer world, because it marks the tenth anniversary of the 2001 International Year of the Volunteer (so the United Nations is calling today, IYV +10). It also corresponds with the European Year of the Volunteer, so the ripples in the pond are global…ripples that come from YOU making a difference at home or when you travel (or both).

If you’re looking for a new volunteer gig, here is a list of international organizations partnering with the U.N. to further the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Or go out your front door. Just find a way, today especially, to be larger than your own skin. And celebrate the hard work you’ve already been doing. And by the way–thank you for doing that, and thank you for what you’re about to take on.

UN at 65—the Operative Word is United

This weekend marks the 65th anniversary of the United Nations. The work of the UN is unique in creating alliances between nations, and the work that isn’t just on a political level, but on the ground changing lives. UN Peacekeeping Forces are, right now, making it safe for 200 million people in areas of conflict. 190 countries are banded together to address climate change via the UN. Hundreds of millions of girls are having doors to education opened due to UN work, and millions of children have been inoculated against polio through the United Nations.

And it was fifty years ago that presidential candidate John F. Kennedy called on young Americans to offer their talents and energy to the world in service. That collaborative worldwide effort would eventually be called the Peace Corps, celebrating its 50-year anniversary next year.

What will you collaborate on this weekend? It’s all about doing it together.

Learn/Take Action—Congo Week, Oct 17-23

The Congo is the greatest humanitarian crisis on the planet–an average of 1,500 people die as a result of the conflict in the Congo EVERY DAY.


Since 1996, nearly 6 million dead–and how often do you hear about it on the news? Half of that 6 million killed, have been children. According to the United Nations, it is the deadliest conflict since World War II. Our level of awareness is deplorable and we simply don’t know enough to be outraged, though outrage is the only humane reaction possible.

BREAK THE SILENCE CONGO WEEK is meant to raise awareness and raise our voices in solidarity with the people of the Congo. Please find out more this week. I know next to nothing about Congo, but I promise, by the time you read this, I will know more. Do the same, and talk about it. It costs nothing to be an advocate. Take action here.

International Day of Peace

Each year on this date, the United Nations, individuals, organizations, spiritual groups, and corporations around the world recognize the International Day of Peace. In 2001, the 192 member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted September 21 as an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on the UN International Day of Peace. Millions of people are active and engaged in what positive steps can be taken if everyone lays down their weapons for 24 hours. It is, perhaps, difficult, with this morning’s news report of 9 NATO troops being killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan–and the Taliban taking “credit” for the action (though there seems to be doubt if it was an accident or an action)…but isn’t that an even greater argument FOR such a renewal of our dedication to worldwide peace?

In Afghanistan, for the past three years, 2007, 2008, and 2009, the organization Peace One Day has spearheaded a campaign that has resulted in the immunization against polio of over 4 million children as a result of Peace Day agreements by all parties.If there was no cease fire, that work could not have been done.

On Peace Day 2008 in Afghanistan the United Nations Department for Safety and Security, which monitors security related incidents, recorded a 70 per cent reduction in violent incidents on the day itself. This year we could, with global agreement, make that number 100 percent, not just in nations with active wars, but everywhere.

Find a way today to talk about peace–with your kids, parents, your loved ones, family, friends, in line at the grocery store or with the other soccer parents while waiting for practice to end; on the subway or bus, with the cab driver and gas station attendant; everywhere. Isn’t that a more pleasant topic to discuss than traffic or weather?

HERE are some ideas from Peace One Day about how to take action today, and HERE is a list of global events from the United Nations Peace Day pages.

A Big Week for the Global Community

It’s a big week–United Nations General Assembly, Clinton Global Initiative, and dozens of ancillary events taking advantage of the gift and opportunity of having most of the world’s leaders together in New York City…together with devotion to solving the world’s problems and moving the GLOBAL community forward.

It is Monday morning…so much to do.

The Loomba Trust

The Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba Memorial Trust (The Loomba Trust), was named for a woman who in 1954 became a widow in Punjab, India. Left to support her family on her own, without any formal education herself, she beat every odd and the societal norms and succeeded in education all of her seven children.

The Loomba Trust, and the American offshoot, The Loomba Foundation, USA, are committed to caring for widows and their children around the world.In so many societies and cultures, when women lose their husbands, they lose all standing in the community—they lose their place in society, and in some ways, lose their life. They are marginalized and discriminated against, turned out, often by their own families, and their children become nothing more than collateral damage. The Loomba organizations make sure these women and their children don’t fall through the cracks…and you can help. Reach out today.

The Loomba Trust & Foundation presently educates over 3,600 children of poor widows in all the 29 states of India. It also supports 1,500 HIV orphans in South Africa in partnership with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Unite. The Loomba Trust & Foundation Entrepreneurship programs, started in 2007 in Kenya, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, help widows establish businesses and become economically self-sustaining. These programs are in collaboration with Youth Business International, which is HRH The Prince of Wales’ charity in the UK. More recently the Trust has been working in Rwanda to address the needs of widows surviving the 1994 genocide.

In conjunction with various governments, The Loomba Trust & Foundation are seeking to have the United Nations recognize International Widows Day to draw global attention to the plight of the estimated 100 million destitute widows around the world. International Widows Day was launched in the UK at the House of Lords in 2005.

The organization helps poor widows and educates their children, regardless of gender or religion.

Stevie Wonder-Messenger of Peace

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has designated Grammy Award-winning songwriter and musician Stevie Wonder as a United Nations Messenger of Peace with a special focus on people with disabilities.

A Messenger of Peace for the UN is a high-profile entertainer, sportsperson, leader of academia, or literature who is charged with making international public appearances to promote the public understanding of improving the quality of life on planet Earth. Big job, big responsibility, and hugely important.

Stevie’s no stranger to reaching out–he is a participant in so many campaigns and projects for others, from hit fund-raising songs “We Are the World” and “That’s What Friends Are For” to numerous campaigns for people with disabilities. In selecting Stevie Wonder for this designation, the Secretary-General said, “Our newest Messenger of Peace is someone who is admired by millions of people and has given back to millions of people. I recognize that he has consistently used his voice and special relationship with the public to create a better and more inclusive world, to defend civil and human rights and to improve the lives of those less fortunate. Stevie Wonder is a true inspiration to young people all over the world about what can be achieved despite any physical limitations.”

Of course, Stevie is in good company. Other Messengers of Peace include, among others,  George Clooney (for peacekeeping), Paulo Coelho (for poverty and intercultural dialogue), Michael Douglas (for disarmament), Jane Goodall (for conservation and environmental issues), Yo-Yo Ma (for youth), Charlize Theron (for ending violence against women), and Elie Wiesel (for human rights).

Oct 2-Happy Non-Violence Day

Be the Change You Wish to See in the World

In 2007, the United Nations had a great idea. They declared October 2, Gandhi’s Birthday, as International Non-Violence Day.

How will you commemorate the day?

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
(1869 – 1948) was the pre-eminent political and spiritual leader of India during the Indian independence movement. He was the pioneer of satyagraha—resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon total non-violence—which led India to independence and has inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. Gandhi is commonly known around the world as Mahatma Gandhi (“Great Soul”), an honorific first applied to him by Rabindranath Tagore) and in India also as Bapu (“Father”). He is officially honored in India as the Father of the Nation; his birthday, 2 October, is commemorated there as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Non-Violence.

Got a Camera?

Time to get busy–deadline is October 10

What Are You Doing for Peace Day? 9/21

I know–there’s an “official” day for everything from hangnails to Public Broadcasting…and I’d never tell you how to prioritize…but you’ve got this weekend to get your plans made for Monday.

September 21…got plans? Then get cracking. It is the United Nations’ International Peace Day.

Peace Day—21 September—is a day of non-violence and ceasefire, a 24 hour-long platform for life-saving activities around the world. There are astounding events and inspiring actions going on across the globe. When all the energy that is put into violent conflict is, even if for only one day, freed up to be put into something productive–just imagine what can be accomplished. The movement has truly world-altering goals–like free school supplies for every child in the world–immunizations from killing disease available in every community…

Find a way to take action. Organize an activity, talk to your family and friends, put up a sign at the coffee house or library, fly a peace flag, make a connection, reach out, build bridges, and most importantly, solve conflicts. It can be small it can be enormous. Apologize to someone, fess up to something you’ve meant to, just find a way to smooth the way. Disempower conflict. There is no downside to finding peace within yourself and within your relationships…and within the world.