Ahead of World Humanitarian Day, the United Nations today launched a global campaign – featuring the music of performing artist Beyoncé – to highlight humanitarian work and encourage people to get involved by doing something good for others.
A campaign website – www.whd-iwashere.org – has been launched, and will provide members of the public with an opportunity to unite and share their individual acts of good. On the Day itself, which falls on 19 August, the campaign aims to reach one billion people in a day with a single message.
“World Humanitarian Day celebrates humanitarian work,” the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, said in a news release. “I hope everyone will pledge to complete at least one humanitarian action – however great or small – through www.whd-iwashere.org. Together we can create an unprecedented awareness of the plight of people affected by crises around the world.”
The General Assembly proclaimed 19 August as World Humanitarian Day in 2008 to commemorate the 2003 Canal Hotel bombing in Baghdad, which claimed the lives of 22 UN staff members, including the world body’s top envoy in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and wounded more than 150 people.
The Day aims to honour those who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and those who continue to bring assistance and relief to millions, in addition to drawing attention to humanitarian needs worldwide and the importance of international cooperation in meeting those needs.
A music video for Beyoncé’s song ‘I Was Here’ will be filmed in the General Assembly Hall at UN Headquarters in New York in front of a live audience, and it will be released globally on 19 August. Beyoncé and songwriter Diane Warren are donating the video to the campaign for World Humanitarian Day.
“We all see the headlines and we think what can I really do to help?” Beyoncé said in a news release from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which Ms. Amos heads. “World Humanitarian Day is an opportunity for all of us to work together to make a difference. This is our time to leave our mark on the world and show that we were here and we care.”
The World Humanitarian Day campaign is being launched in collaboration with the advertising agency Droga5, OCHA’s lead agency for special projects, and the production company Ridley Scott & Associates, and directors Kenzo Digital and Sophie Muller will also contribute.