World Humanitarian Day Celebrated Worldwide

23 August, 2011
New York: 19 August 2011 - USG Valerie Amos opens the World Humanitarian Day 2011. Credit: OCHA / Paolo Palmero
New York: 19 August 2011 - USG Valerie Amos opens the World Humanitarian Day 2011. Credit: OCHA / Paolo Palmero

On 19 August 2011, we celebrated World Humanitarian Day in New York and worldwide. The event honours humanitarian workers who lost their lives in the course of duty, celebrates the efforts of aid workers around the world, and calls on the world to urgently scale up the response to the crisis in the Horn of Africa.

This year’s theme is “People Helping People.”

In New York, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, and Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), honoured the work of humanitarian workers in crises around the world, and unveiled the exclusive World Humanitarian Day song “If I Could Change,” a collaboration between various global artists including Ziggy Marley, Somali sister-duo Sweet Rush and Salman Ahmad from the Pakistani band Junoon.

Around the world, World Humanitarian Day events took place in countries including Afghanistan, Ireland, Liberia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Uganda, among others.

At a press conference following the New York event, ERC Amos said the day “is our chance to pay tribute to the colleagues we have lost” but that  “we also celebrate the achievements of the thousands of aid  workers at work today.”

ERC Amos urged continued focus on the crisis in the Horn: “We need to keep attention focused on the situation in the Horn of Africa. We need  to show people how they can help, whether it’s by giving money or by volunteering, or by spreading the word.”

For more information on World Humanitarian Day, including the music video and aid worker stories, visit www.worldhumanitarianday.info.

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