In 1987, the World Health Organisation called for a world-wide
abstinence from smoking each year of 31st May. Called the  “World No Tobacco Day” this 24-hour long period is intended to draw global attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco related illnesses and negative health effects which cause 5.4 million deaths each year. However, is it seems that non-Western nations take the day more seriously and protest loudest…

Today is the International Day for UN Peacekeepers.

In areas of conflict around the world civilian lives are at risk. In countries and regions that are in the grips of war people are forced to abandon their homes and live on the streets. International Day for UN PeacekeepersIn some places prisoners escape, adding to the on-going conflict. Instead of being ruled by law, “societies are plunged into lawlessness.”

The help of United Nations peacekeeping forces can transform chaos into calm. But for real peace and security to take place peacekeepers must do much more than disarm local combat troops. They must “strengthen the institutions responsible for security and justice – the police, the courts and the correctional institutions – with full respect 
for the rule of law and human rights.” 

Today is Africa Day, a day to celebrate African Unity!

Africa Day

Celebrating Africa Day in Dublin

Today’s day commemorates the date in 1963 when the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was founded. This day celebrates African diversity and success and aims to highlight the cultural and economic potential that exists on the African continent. Sometimes this day is also called African Liberation Day, which highlights the celebration of African freedom from European colonial powers.

Africa Day is often a colourful celebration that includes street marches, speeches, music, poetry, and other forms of cultural entertainment…

A little known day of celebration to most ‘Westerners’, May 24,
the Day of Saints Cyril and Methodius, is a huge festival for those in Eastern Europe: a day to celebrate cultural heritage. The peoples of Russia, Slovakia, Macedonia, Serbia, Czech Republic, Hungary, etc. venerate Saints Cyril and Methodius who created a Slavonic alphabet, translating the Bible and other writings from Greek and Latin into the language of the Slavic peoples. The invention of this ‘Cyrillic Alphabet’ is seen as the keystone that gave the Slavs access to written culture, vast sources of knowledge, and ultimately allowed them cultural independence from Muslim (as part of the Turkish Empire) and other religious or social invasions.

Yesterday we celebrated cultural diversity, today biodiversity!

Today’s date marks the anniversary for the day in 1992 spring when the text of the Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted by the United Nations at a conference in Nairobi, Kenya.

The purpose of the day is to raise awareness and understanding of biodiversity issues.

Last year the Guardian wrote an article about the importance of this day and reported shocking facts. Janet Potocnik, a European commissionaire for environment, wrote, that, “during the 20th century, the human population grew by four times and economic output by 40 times. We increased our fossil fuel use by 16 times, our fishing catches by 35 and our water use by 9.”

Happy World Cultural Diversity Day – pass the message along!world cultural diversity day

Apart from World Hello Day I can’t think of a better time for reaching out across the world to say a special ‘hello’ and to touch the lives of others. What a shame that not many organisations/nations have yet adopted this day to celebrate the wonderful diversity of the people’s of this planet.  For those of us who work in the field of cross-cultural communication and intercultural relationships, today is very special – it’s part of who we are and I was reminded about that when I heard of the death of Robin Gibb this morning…

Today is the International Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development! Although the name of the day sounds complex, the purpose of this day is fairly simple: to celebrate cultural diversity and help us learn to live together better. In November 2001 UNESCO adopted a Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.

International Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

Do One Thing for Diversity

The following year, 2002, was the United Nations year for Cultural Heritage and at the end of that year the UN declared may 21st to be the International Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

Ever since then, May 21st has been celebrated and commemorated through seminars, various educational programs and campaigns, exhibitions, and concerts. A grass-root campaign sponsored by UNESCO, ‘Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion,’  is trying to engage the international community through social media. According to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon the campaign is calling for “from youth to policy-makers, from religious leaders to journalists, entrepreneurs and others who shape opinions and trends.”

International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) is celebrated every year on May 17th. This date was chosen to mark the day because it was in May 17th in 1990 when homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases by the World Health Organization.International Day Against Homophobia

The day is coordinated by the Paris-based IDAHO committee. By 2010 the organization and the IDAHO day had been fully and officially recognized by the EU parliament, Belgium, the UK, Mexico, Costa Rica, The Netherlands, France, Luxemburg, Spain, and Brazil. In addition, in many countries like Argentina, Italy, Bolivia, and Croatia the day has been recognized by cities and regional governments…

In 2005, in Tunis, the United Nations hosted a conference, which aimed to bridge the ‘digital divide’ that separates rich and poor countries. This conference was called the World Summit on the Information Society. Following from this conference May 17thwas proclaimed as the World Telecommunications and Information Society Day.

World Telecommunications and Information society day

Women and Girls in IT

The main aim of this day is to raise awareness of changes brought about by technology, specifically the Internet.

This year’s theme for Information Society Day is Women and Girls in Information and Communication Technology…

So, how much cultural competence do you think there is incheek kissing
cheek kissing? Well, we recently started a conversation on SIETAR Europa’s Linked In group and the plethora of responses confirmed that there are various ways to greet with a kiss. But what may have come as a surprise to some of us was that the ways of kissing don’t only vary from one country to another, but from region to region, from day to night, from male to female, and from one person to the next. What I can conclude from the conversation is that my initially abstract title-phrase, the ‘art’ of cheek kissing, became to perfectly describe this social gesture: a gesture that has no rule-of-thumb, a gesture that is cultural as well as personal.

So, it seems that although cheek kissing is a common greeting across the globe, one has to be truly culturally competent to smoothly master the art of cheek kissing! Read about the differnces and learn that London is a one-kiss city.