World Humanitarian Day without Beyonce or Guetta

Every year on August 19, the world celebrates/commemorates World Humanitarian Day organized by UNOCHA, the UN organization I’ve been with since early this year. It’s a day to honor people who lost their lives in humanitarian service and those, who continue to bring assistance and relief to millions, and draw attention to humanitarian needs around the world. This is also the day that 22 United Nations staff were killed following a terrorist attack on UN headquarters in Baghdad in 2003.


The last couple of years have been filled with celebrities getting involved from Beyonce in 2012 to David Guetta last year. This year was a bit different because there was more emphasis on local aid workers and profiling how we need more #humanitarianheroes. It was my first time being a part of the preparations for the Geneva event and so I was excited to be a part of it, especially with all the focus it’s gathered in the last couple of years. It’s nice to see how the hard work didn’t go to waste, especially with the banners we designed…

And the photo gallery I put together for work…

After spending the time to prepare and promote the event in Geneva, listening and reading all the different opinions from the Day, I found myself wondering do we need more heroes? or do we just need to recognize that doing humanitarian work is hard (sometimes dirty) work that doesn’t get a lot of recognition? There’s a great post called “We Don’t Need Another Hero” that takes a bit of different take on the campaign.

They’re humanitarians too!

We can find humanitarians everywhere and I think that’s the whole focus of the Day – to shed a bit of light on the fact that people are out there making a difference. It makes me think of the a recent trip to the ICRC musuem and learning that all the records of missing people were meticulously tracked and managed by people. Even if they can be tracked by computers, someone has to put together these systems to do it.

Or the amount of work from behind the scenes it took to get this one family to find a new life in a new country…


All the behind the scenes work – usually not the kind of stuff that would make a good photo opp – is what’s necessary to save or change lives. Would you consider these people humanitarians? I would.

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