International Friendship Day

By Danielle Pope

International Friendship Day
“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship” – Thomas Aquinas

July 30 is International Friendship Day. The first International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly, with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries and cultures can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.

The International Day of Friendship is also based on the recognition of the relevance and importance of friendship as a noble and valuable sentiment in the lives of human beings around the world.

The 2011 Resolution establishing the first International Day of Friendship, places a particular emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that promote international understanding and respect for diversity.

In passing the Resolution, the then UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon called on nations to cultivate as many positive relationships as possible, “When greed supersedes concerns about the health of our planet or its inhabitants, when fanatic attachment to ideology is pursued at all costs, and when people suffer human rights violations because they are considered somehow less than equal, the heritage of humanity is betrayed and our future wellbeing is placed in peril… On this International Day of Friendship, let us resolve to cherish and cultivate as many warm relationships as possible, enriching our own lives and enhancing the future,” he said.

The Day is also intended to support the goals and objectives of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace and the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010).

To mark the International Day of Friendship, the UN encourages governments, organizations, and community groups to hold events, activities and initiatives that promote solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation.

Around the world, individuals mark the day by exchanging gifts and cards with their friends. Friendship bands, are very popular gifts in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and parts of South America.

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