In a bid to achieve a safer world, the UN has designated 29th August
each year as the day to galvanise people around the globe into advocating the banning of nuclear tests. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted in 2010 that “A world free of nuclear weapons would be global public good of the highest order.” In the five decades between 1945 and 1996, over 2,000 nuclear tests were carried out all over the world. The International Day of Action Against Nuclear Tests aims to raise public awareness about the effects of global nuclear weapon tests. Nuclear weapons tests have caused environmental degradation and harmed the health of millions.

The 23rd August each year offers the world community the
opportunity to commemorate the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its abolition. Apart from remembering those who suffered as slaves the day highlights the fact that millions still live as slaves in all but name. The UN’s cultural organisation, Unesco, chose the date to commemorate the 1791 San Domingo (Haiti) revolt, which marked the first decisive victory of slaves against their oppressors and led to the creation of the first black independent state.

On 22nd August 2011, Hindus around the world will be celebrating
Krishna Janmashmati, the birth of their deity Lord Sri Krishna. Krishna is seen as the source of joy and his birthday is one of the most important celebrations in the Hindu calendar. Sri Krishna lived in luxury throughout his life and so the festival is celebrated with great splendour. As well as celebrating the birth of Sri Krishna, the festival symbolises the lighting of the spark of the Divine power in every human being.

World Humanitarian Day is commemorated each year on
19th August and gives special recognition to all humanitarian, UN and other personnel who have worked in the promotion of the humanitarian cause. The day is a collaborative global celebration of humanitarian aid work joining the United Nations and over 500 national and international NGOs, aimed at engaging and inspiring the general public to get involved.  It especially commemorates those who have lost their lives in the cause of duty. It marks the day on which the then Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 of his colleagues tragically lost their lives in the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad on 19 August 2003.

As someone who has spent many interesting and happy moments in
Beirut, I was delighted to be signposted to a website showing the world’s largest collection of postcards and photos of the Old Levant region depicting a century in the life of the region – The Foad Debbas Collection.   It’s surprising to contrast the life then and now and reflect that most of the photos were taken less than 100 years ago. The photo here was taken in 1929.

Najwat Rehman winning logo design

International Youth Day celebrates the experiences and voices of young people between the ages of 15 to 24 years. They represent one sixth of the world’s population. Established by the UN in 2000, the purpose of the day is to draw our attention to youth issues world wide in the 10 areas of: starvation, poverty, education, employment, health, drug exploitation, childhood felony, recreation events, the child and young women, environment. Every year has a different theme and 2011’s theme is: “Youth should be given a chance to take an active part in the decision-making of local, national and global levels.”

Today is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People.
The 9th August each year offers the world community an opportunity to reaffirm the principles of respect and protection of minorities. Created by the United Nation General Assembly in 1994, this year’s commemoration theme is: “Indigenous designs: celebrating stories and cultures, crafting our own future”.

With on-going shifts in economic power from West to East, an
interesting topic of research and debate concerns the long-term potential of the next generation around the world and in particular: what is the IQ potential of the populations of the two biggest countries, China and India?  Without doubt, British Indians seem to gain higher grades on average than their ‘white’ British counterparts. And it is a well known fact that the Chinese in the UK are more diligent at school.  We put this down to cross-cultural differences within the family in a UK environment. But what about around the world – how smart are Chinese and Indians in their home countries compared to the rest of the world?

A recent survey concerning TRUST had 17 countries unanimously
agreeing that one profession in particular was THE one to be trusted above all others.  If these 17,295 respondents are any indication of how the rest of the world feels then the likelihood is that FIREFIGHTERS are the most trustworthy group in the whole world. However, levels of trust in bankers have fallen considerably – down to a mere 37% compared with 98% for firefighters.

The GfK Trust Index for Spring 2011 determines the level of trust that citizens have in 20 professional groups and organisations (see below for more details). Of course, there are many interesting differences between the nations with Civil Servants having a vastly different reputation depending on the country in question:  just under 80% of Swiss citizens believe this profession to be trustworthy, only one in four in Greece gave a similar response.

So, who has our least degree of trust?

If nothing else, the credit crunch, the natural disasters of Cuba,
Pakistan and New Zealand, and the continuing tragedy unfolding in Japan have brought home to us all that we can no longer be ‘islands’ of nations any longer.  We need the support of, and give support to, a proactive international community that pulls its resources for the betterment of all.

So, if you have a child under 18, how important do you think it is that s/he should be encouraged to think globally and think of themselves as a  global citizen? A recent UK survey highlights that around three-quarters of parents believe that schools should help their children think globally (71%) and to develop abilities to be responsible global citizens (72%). It also demonstrates that the teaching of global issues is important to parents…