The United Nations Sunday commemorated World Humanitarian day with a global awareness campaign and celebrations that reached all corners of the world.
Well-know names like Michelle Obama, Beyoncé Knowles, Angelina Jolie, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga expressed their support for the humanitarian causes.
“These unarmed aid workers risk their lives to provide life-saving assistance to millions of men, women and children,” an official statement of the US Presidency at the White House read. “When disaster strikes, local and international humanitarians are often the first on the scene.”
Sunday also saw the conclusion of the “I was here” campaign, which was launched by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The campaign, which was launched two weeks prior, aimed to show the impact that small humanitarian initiatives can have on the world around us.
Following the lead of the campaigns’ spokesperson, singer BeyoncéKnowles, people were encouraged to do one small good deed for another person, and share this through www.whd-iwashere.org.
“There are seven billion people in the world and we reached hundreds of millions of them with our message. People really care,” Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs said in a news release.
Jolie, actress and special envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also posted a short encouraging message on the OCHA website. “We honor the extraordinary courage and dedication of humanitarian workers around the world,” she wrote.
The goal that Beyoncéand OCHA set for the campaign was to unite at least a billion people in their effort of doing something good for someone else. The goal was met when more than 1 billion messages were counted on the website on Sunday, and in 18 cities around the world, the music video “I was here” was shown on big screens.
The United Nations General Assembly voted world Humanitarian day into life in 2008, in remembrance of the UN staff members who died in Iraq during a bombing five years earlier. As a result of the Canal Hotel bombing in Baghdad, 22 UN Staff members died, and more than 150 were wounded. The Secretary-Generals’ special representative in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, was one of the victims in 2003.
Since 2008, world humanitarian day aims to remember those who have died while working on humanitarian causes. The day is also used to draw attention to humanitarian actions –small and large- around he world.