Why is World Humanitarian Day so important?

Why is World Humanitarian Day so important?

By: Nicole Minor, Founder and Executive Director of The Pangea Network

World Humanitarian Day this Friday, August 19 is asking us to remember a few very simple yet significant things. It is calling us all to take a collective moment to not only recognize the incredible sacrifice that aid workers make to deliver lifesaving services to the millions of people caught in conflict and disaster areas, but it is also asking us to recognize our common humanity with its new theme, “One Humanity.” Given the state of our world today, I see this act of recognizing each other’s humanity as one of the most profound things we can do. Aid workers are true examples of this in that every day they are working to provide relief to those suffering, who in many cases come from different countries, cultures and backgrounds than themselves. They are doing it because they care about people – all people.

I have been so fortunate to be able to travel and experience different communities and places and there are those encounters and exchanges, like with Palestinian teens living in the West Bank or a young Maasai girl in southern Kenya, that had the power to move me, open my perspective and change me forever. In many cases we weren’t speaking each other’s language yet we were communicating, sharing, laughing and understanding beyond measure. It didn’t matter where we were from, what we were wearing or what we looked like. We were simply connecting, human to human. I consider these moments to be some of my most cherished in my life.

If, on World Humanitarian Day, we each made an effort to reach out to someone who is somehow different from ourselves and discover something new about that person, I think we would all learn that we actually are more alike than different. We would see and feel that it is our humanity that binds us, connects us and makes us better. In our collective human race, our differences of culture, skin color, tradition, language and religions are not to be feared but should be discovered, celebrated and appreciated.

As I have learned recently, big change or success doesn’t usually come in one major event. Change comes from small steps of progress in the right direction. Peace in our communities isn’t achieved by one key change, it is made up of millions of kind words being spoken, misunderstandings being clarified and acts of care and generosity being carried out. The more we can understand each other, the more cooperation and compassion, the more human we all become.

About the author: Nicole Minor is the founder and executive director of The Pangea Network, an international non-profit dedicated to empowering motived individuals in Kenya and the United States with the knowledge, skills and an online network of support in order to achieve their dreams and make positive, life-changing contributions in communities where they live. To learn more about The Pangea Network and its mission, click here.


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