Each year, the United Nations promotes awareness of and action on a wide range of political, social, cultural, humanitarian, and human rights issues through a range of International Days focused on particular issues. The first International Day – Human Rights Day on 10 December – was approved in 1950. Today, there are dozens of International Days but also international weeks, years, and even decades observed.
UN International Days are recognised and celebrated by governments, NGOs, and organisations around the world, and now increasingly by businesses and business schools. These events give opportunities for business schools to raise awareness about specific issues with their students and staff and to take action on these issues within their communities. They also provide topics for in-class discussions or assignments.
Below is a selection of the internationally celebrated UN Days taking place between September and December 2013 that might be of interest. For a full list, please visit the UN website.
International Day of Peace (21 September) concentrates the efforts of the UN, governments, and individuals worldwide to promote the ideal of peace and to give positive evidence of their commitment to achieving peace through all viable means. The day is also Global Ceasefire day, a 24-hour period in which hostilities are suspended to enable relief workers to reach civilians.
World Tourism Day (27 September) fosters awareness among the international community of the social, cultural, political, and economic value of tourism. The specific focus of this year’s Day is Tourism and Water.
World Habitat Day (October 7) asks for reflection on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of humankind’s habitat.
World Food Day (16 October) seeks to increase understanding of problems and solutions in the drive to end hunger. The theme for 2013 is Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October) promotes awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries, particularly in developing countries – a need that has become a development priority.
International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development (5 December) provides the chance for organisations with volunteering opportunities and individual volunteers to publicise their contributions to development at local, national, and international levels.
International Anti-Corruption Day (9 December) focuses on preventing, exposing, and rejecting corruption, whose cost is not just measured in billions of dollars but also on the negative impact it has on communities, human rights, governance, and economies.
Human Rights Day (10 December) presents an opportunity to celebrate human rights on a global scale, highlight a specific issue, and advocate for the full enjoyment of all human rights by everyone everywhere.
How will you celebrate these days with your community? Add them to your calendar and share stories of your festivities with us!