By April Warren
By April Warren
Morocco World News
United Nations, New York, August 1, 2012
The United Nations launched its World Humanitarian Day 2012 campaign today; a 19 day affair that peaks with a performance by American singing superstar Beyonce Knowles in the General Assembly Hall along with accompanying events around the world.
This will be the fourth year the United Nations has commemorated an observance of World Humanitarian Day on August 19. The date marks the anniversary of a bomb 2003 explosion at United Nations headquarters in Baghdad where 22 people died. The goal of the festivities is to draw attention to humanitarian work worldwide and honor those who have fallen – much like World Aids Day or International Women’s Day.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, is coordinating World Humanitarian Day 2012. OCHA works in more than 30 countries around the world by assisting people displaced in natural disasters, protecting civilians in armed conflict from harm and ensuring access to humanitarian assistance. Most recently OCHA has worked on the crisis in Syria where an estimated 500,000 people have been displaced.
The humanitarian campaign kicks off August 1 with the theme of people helping people. “What we’re trying to do this year is bridge the gap and to show the similarities between the major aid operations happening all around the world and individuals – singular acts of kindness in your own communities and neighborhoods,” said a United Nations humanitarian official.
On August 10, the General Assembly hall, typically used by diplomats and heads of state, will transform into a modern-day concert venue showcasing the story of World Humanitarian Day.
The story of international humanitarian aid will be followed by a live 10-minute “projection mapping” event starring Beyonce, who has donated her song “I Was Here” to the cause. The high-tech performance will use 24 projectors and screens to take the audience on a journey throughout the world highlighting the work being done throughout the international community, according to a UN humanitarian official.
The content will be captured and turned into a film, which will then be distributed far and wide on August 19 with the help of social media and an interactive website. Different events will also be held in Dubai, Geneva, South America and Africa.
“The idea is to flood the Internet with messages of good,” said a UN humanitarian official. The goal is to reach up to 1 billion people online.
“The idea of the campaign is to make the day known around the world in the first instance, and to launch a much longer long term humanitarian advocacy platform where individuals and organizations – being from the largest to small NGOs operating around the world – gives them an opportunity to showcase the work that they are currently doing,” said a UN humanitarian official.
More information regarding World Humanitarian Day can be found at www.whd-iwashere.org.