International Jazz DayUNESCO and the International Music Council have declared April 30th 2012 the first International Jazz Day!

UNESCO is organizing a Jazz concert at the UNESCO head quarters in Paris, and is anticipating the day to “bring together performers, educators, governments, experts, and fans alike, as they explore together the history, meaning, impact, and legacy of jazz music throughout the world.”

The one and only way to celebrate International Jazz Day is to listen to some jazz. After all, even Louis Armstrong once said: “If you have to ask what jazz is you will never know.”

Today is the 9th anniversary of World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

Safety and Health at Work

'Green' technology doesn't always mean 'safe'

The day was established by ILO (International Labour Organisation) in order to promote good, safe working conditions and basic rights every work place.

This year’s theme for the day is Health and Safety in a Green Economy. Generalized advertising and public fear of global warming had led to a common perception that anything ‘green’ must be thoroughly good. The International Labour Organisation website corrects this and explains the theme choice by saying, “Even if certain jobs are considered to be “green”, the technologies used may protect the environment but not be safe at all.” In addition, “A true green job must integrate safety and health into design, procurement, operations, maintenance, sourcing and recycling policies, certification systems and OSH quality standards.”

In our postmodern era of information overload, instant communication, and virtual realities,  who owns ideas?

Intellectual Property Day

Who owns ideas?

If no text is original, everything is intertextual, writing is teamwork, music is an industry, and art has no fixed meaning, then what is intellectual property?

April 26th is World Intellectual Property Day (also know as IP Day). The day is founded by WIPO, World Intellectual Property Organization, a special branch of the UN, to create understanding and awareness of intellectual property rights. WIPO is dedicated to creating a balanced intellectual property system to protect the ownership of ideas, while still encouraging innovation.

According to the WHO, the World Health Organization, in 2012 half of the world’s population was at the risk of Malaria. Every year, this leads to 216 million cases of Malaria and to approximately 655 000 deaths. World Malaria Day

April 25th commemorates World Malaria Day. The theme for 2012 is Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria. This theme has been chosen to remind the public that, although Malaria deaths have been reduced in the last decade (by 30% in Africa, and by 50% outside of Africa), malaria spreads easily and these numbers are fragile.

The day was first observed in 2007, at the sixtieth session of the World Health Assembly, the board of WHO. The United Nations hopes that the existence of World Malaria Day will open discussion for the countries affected by malaria to learn from each other’s experiences. In addition, for further progress, the UN hopes for new donors to set against malaria, for researchers to share their advances with each other, and for sponsors to showcase their efforts.

Today is St. George’s Day! St. George was a Roman soldier who lived approximately from 275-303 AD. He was killed as a Christian martyr, and after his death he became a patron saint for many countries.

St. George's Rose

Examples of countries that celebrate St. George’s day are Lebanon, Hungary, Spain, and England. In each country, the celebrations usually include street fairs, music, and food. In places like Valencia and Catalonia the day even hosts street performances and parades.

Red roses are traditionally associated with St. George in every country. Other than the rose, however, colours used on St. George’s day are usually appropriate to each nation’s flag. In England, for example, St. George’s Day has high nationalistic value. Currently, the day is not a public holiday but a large petition online  is advocating it to become one. 

The Europeans may be ahead of the US in terms of  accommodating climate change as a BIG issue, but it was a US Senator who brought about an awareness day forty years ago – Earth Day. Whilst we are trying to save the world one recyclable, reusable bag and low-watt light bulb at a time, it is interesting to note how the different nations of the world think about climate change and how differently they are planning their future energy needs…

International Mother Earth Day was established in 2009. It was introduced to the UN by the state of Bolivia, with the rationale that “the Earth and its ecosystems are our home,” and that “its necessary to promote harmony with nature and the Earth.”

Mother Earth Day

Mother Earth

Once the resolution for Mother Earth Day was passed the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma, said “Sixty years after adopting the [Universal Declaration of Human Rights], Mother Earth is now, finally, having her rights recognized.”

Not everyone finds Mother Earth Day significant, but when thinking about the interdependence between human beings, other living species and the planet president Morales’ statement seems very appropriate.

In 1982, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) proposed to the UNESCO to launch an International Day for Monuments and Sites. This day was approved a year later, in 1983, and International Day for Monuments and Sites has been celebrated since on every April 18th.

Monuments and Sites

Douro Vineyards, Portugal

According to UNESCO, the aim of this day is to “explore cultural heritage… and to encourage local communities and individuals to consider the importance of cultural heritage to their lives, identities, and communities.”

Every year the International Day for Monuments and Sites holds a theme. The theme last year, 2011, was Cultural Heritage of Water. This year’s theme, World Heritage and Sustainable Development: the Role of Local Communities, marks the 40th anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

Vaisakhi, also known as Baisakhi, is a Sikh celebration which originates in Northern India, specifically in the Punjab region. Although Vaisakhi is considered a Sikh holiday in Punjab it is celebrated by everyone regardless of religion.

Vaisakhi

Vaisakhi celebrations in Birmingham, UK

Vaisahki is mainly a celebration of harvest. It’s popularity in Northern India is supported by the fact that agriculture provides a livelihood for the majority of people in rural areas. Sikhism adds it’s own origin story for Vaisakhi, a story of the Beloved Five, five young Sikhs who were ready to sacrifice their lives for their fate but who were eventually spared.

The International Day for Street Children was organized for the first time in 2011.

International Day for Street Children

Louder Together

The day was launched by a London-based organization called CSC, Consortium for Street Children which aims to bring a voice for the tens of millions of children who live and work on the streets all around the world.

Why the International Day for Street Children matters is that these children, extremely vulnerable and at risk for sexual abuse, exploitation, and extreme poverty, are too often ignored in policy and programming. They live in the margins of society and face constant discrimination, not only in their communities but from policy makers.