Archive for the "International" Category
World Autism Awareness Day
Held on April 2nd of every year, World Autism Awareness Day is a holiday designed to increase awareness about the related spectrum disorder. It is officially observed by the United Nations as well as other non-governmental organizations across the globe. Not only is increased awareness important to activists, but it is also an opportunity for affected families to come together and support each other.
Autism is a developmental disorder. Formally known as autism spectrum disorder, this medical condition develops in early childhood. By the age of three, affected children may exhibit numerous developmental delays. Speech and cognitive skills are among the most common delays. In many cases, autistic children do not have an interest in socializing with others and they are obsessed with repetition. This makes it difficult for them to adapt to new environments.
Treating autism requires a combination of treatments, such as behavioral, speech and occupational therapies. Some children may require medications for hyperactivity. While treatments help, there is no cure for autism. Therefore, early detection is crucial in the overall treatment of the disorder. World Autism Awareness Day was created to help promote such early detection so children in all countries get the services they need to improve their lives. Autism affects children of all gender, races, ethnicities and backgrounds.
The concept of a holiday dedicated to autism was founded by the United Nations. In 2007, the organization voted on dedicating April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day. It was first officially held on April 2, 2008. It is a worldwide holiday that has supporters increasing awareness through education and activism in various countries across the globe.
World Autism Awareness Day is primarily celebrated through educational efforts. Autism rates are on the rise, but it is not clear if this is due to increased diagnoses or if more children are actually getting the disorder. No matter what the reason, early intervention is important in the success and overall quality of life. While symptoms may be apparent before the age of three, many families are afraid to take action, or they don’t know about the disorder. One of the goals of this holiday is to provide education about autism so parents can provide medical and behavioral intervention right away.
Research is ongoing in autism. There is still no one direct cause, and there is no cure. Proponents of World Autism Awareness Day may host fundraisers or write letters to help support autism research. Scientists hope to find the cause someday so that better treatments may be available. Other supporters encourage increased availability of resources, such as behavioral therapies, for families who cannot otherwise afford them.
Another aspect of World Autism Awareness Day is support for affected families. Due to the way many autistic patients do not like to socialize, other family members may feel isolated. World Autism Awareness Day shows parents that they are not alone in the struggle, and many form lifelong friendships to help carry them through this journey.
Other organizations and entities are jumping on the bandwagon to support this holiday. For example, the Empire State Building held a lighting event in 2012 for World Autism Awareness Day.
While this is a global holiday, it is not recognized by public governments. Public schools remain open, although some autism groups may hold special days for celebrations.
World Water Day
Water is one of the most valuable resources that we often take for granted. Many battles already exist surrounding the right to clean water, and scientists keep making dire predictions as to when the world may run out of water. While the latter fact may be debatable for the near future, the fact is that millions of people do not have regular access to clean drinking water worldwide. This has subsequently led to the spread of waterborne illnesses, malnutrition and even death. To recognize such issues, the United Nations established World Water Day in 1993 on March 22nd.
In June 1992, the United Nations held a conference in Rio de Janeiro to discuss environmental concerns in relation to human activities. Formally referred to as the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development, the organization adopted a plan called Agenda 21 to deal with related environmental issues. A part of Agenda 21 was the formation of World Water Day. This holiday was established in 1993 as a way to increase awareness of water’s important role in health and daily living, as well as its effects on human rights.
Every year, the United Nations has a different theme for World Water Day. To commemorate its 20th celebration, 2013’s theme is designated as the “International Year of Water Cooperation.”
Since 2003, UN-Water has been responsible for coming up with annual themes for World Water Day. The first theme was in 1994, entitled: Caring for Water Resources is Everybody’s Business.” Other past themes include: “The World’s Water: Is There Enough?” (1997), “Water for Health” (2001), “Water and Disasters” (2004), “Coping with Water Scarcity” (2007), and “Water and Food Security” (2012).
The purpose of these annual themes is to focus on an important aspect of water in communities worldwide to increase awareness. For example, increasing education about the health impacts of unclean water may promote action among societies so people can find ways to obtain better water. While such issues are important year-round, the United Nations hopes to reach as many people as possible during each World Water Day and to equip individuals with knowledge that can last a lifetime.
Water for Life Decade
On March 22, 2005, the United Nations launched the Water for Life Decade. This initiative focuses on the roles women have in terms of clean water for their communities. The program is especially important in nations where women do not often have a say in community and government affairs; in this essence, the U.N. has provided opportunities for women to grow and enrich their lives, as well as the lives of others. The decade-long celebration will run through 2015.
While World Water Day is not considered a public holiday, it is widely celebrated in numerous ways. Under the direction of the United Nations, many organizations seek to increase the awareness of local issues related to the year’s theme. Since water issues often differ by region, it is important that these entities play a role in interpreting the annual theme as seen fit.
Much of the celebrations conducted for World Water Day encourage the public to see available water resources. Whether this is a boat ride or a swim, many people hold events at rivers and lakes, as well as the seaside. Other regions hold more serious events that involve protests against poor drinking water conditions.
World Water Day Gift Ideas
World Poetry Day
March 21st is considered the ultimate day of poetry. The United Nations recognized this date as World Poetry Day to help promote the reading and writing of poems throughout the world. Not only is poetry considered in art form, but this type of writing also helps to promote literacy. Poems continue to capture our hearts and expand our way of thinking, and many poems of writers past contain a great deal of history to them.
World Poetry Day was officially established in 1999 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This U.N. agency is primarily responsible for promoting peace and equality through science and education, as well as worldwide cultural appreciation. Given the fact that poetry is produced in several forms from every region of the world, reading works from various countries can help promote literacy as well as cross-cultural understanding.
Some examples of different types of poems from around the world include:
- Haiku (from Japan)
- Ode (from ancient Greece)
- Ruba’i (from Persian region)
- Canzone (from Italy)
Poetry is an important venue of self-expression for many writers. At the same time, this form of writing has been utilized to create famous political and religious pieces. UNESCO continues to support this art form to promote reading and writing across the world. The first World Poetry Day was established at the turn of the century on March 21, 2000.
Poets celebrate March 21st of each year as the ultimate day to showcase their works. Libraries and bookstores often hold special readings on World Poetry Day where poets can read poetry to audiences. Some poets choose to read their own writings in conjunction with history’s most famous poems.
While World Poetry Day is one of the most popular days of the year for writers, it is certainly not exclusive to poets. Anyone who enjoys poetry is encouraged to participate by reading poems or even by creating their own works. This is an art form unlike any other, and the purpose of the holiday is to encourage celebration by all. Also, in contrast with other forms of writing, poetry doesn’t have as many rules, which provides more opportunities for expression.
Schools also celebrate World Poetry Day by emphasizing reading and writing. Elementary schools may introduce students to the structure of poetry for the first time. While the concept may seem new to children, they will likely remember the structures of some of the earliest poems they ever heard: nursery rhymes.
Prior to 1999’s designation of World Poetry Day, the holiday was observed on October 15th. This date commemorated the birthday of the famous Roman poet, Virgil. His most famous writings include Aeneid, Eclogues and Georgics. Virgil’s influence on poetry was so great that he even had an appearance in Dante’s famous Divine Comedy. Some nations continue to commemorate October 15th as World Poetry Day in lieu of the date established by the United Nations.
In the United States, World Poetry Day is often considered as a kick-off to April’s National Poetry Month. Some schools, libraries and bookstores hold special poetry-related events throughout the end of March and the entire month of April. March 21st is viewed as the start of the biggest poetry celebration of the year.
World Poetry Day Collectibles
World Down Syndrome Day
World Down Syndrome Day is an annual event that promotes awareness and supports patients who have the related congenital disorder. Observed on March 21st, this holiday is marked by conferences, educational events and supportive activities in over 60 countries. This disorder affects approximately one in every person born across the world, which is why advocacy is so wide-ranging.
Down Syndrome Facts
Down syndrome is a congenital disorder, which means it is formed before birth. It is caused by a person having an additional 21st chromosome. While most people have 46 chromosomes total, a person with Down syndrome has 47. Subsequently, the additional chromosome causes difficulties in brain development, and some babies are born with physical abnormalities as well.
The severity of Down syndrome varies between individuals. No matter what the severity, this disorder can make everyday activities difficult for patients, and loved ones often have a trying time coping. There is no cure for Down syndrome, although medications and therapies can help.
Knowledge is the key to Down syndrome, especially since there is no exact cause or cure known for the disorder. It is just as important for the public to be aware of the medical condition just as it is for families to learn how to help their kids when they are diagnosed with Down syndrome. Coping and treatment is more successful with the help of others.
World Down Syndrome Day was first established in 2006 by Down Syndrome International. This worldwide organization as well as smaller national groups designated the 21st day of March to represent the additional 21st chromosome, which is also called Trisomy 21. On this day, related organizations advocate for activities for those affected by the disorder, as well as increased awareness for the diagnosis and treatment of Down syndrome worldwide.
The United Nations picked up on this day and declared it a holiday by a vote in 2011. March 21, 2012 marked the first official United Nations-sponsored World Down Syndrome Day. This international agency hopes to increase participation in this holiday by governments, charities and businesses every year.
World Down Syndrome Day is a peaceful holiday. Activities are planned for patients and their loved ones to help provide a sense of community. Oftentimes, parents with children of special needs often feel isolated due to social misconceptions and financial constraints. The events that take place on World Down Syndrome Day help to lend a hand to those who need support. Participants often wear wristbands with the words “Down syndrome.”
Increased awareness through events is also a major part of World Down Syndrome Day. The biggest event is the World Down Syndrome Day Conference, which takes place every year at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. The 2013 theme is “Right to Work,” which will focus on helping patients with Down syndrome find employment so they can become financially independent while contributing to their societies. At the same time, the Conference will advocate early education and treatment in order to provide the best life possible for all patients with the congenital disorder. Registration to this event is free to the public.
The United Nations also strives to clear up social and cultural misconceptions associated with Down syndrome. Since the chromosome disorder has no defining cause, it can happen to anyone. Down syndrome is not exclusive to any gender, race, or ethnicity, and it is prevalent among the rich and the poor just the same. Early testing during pregnancy can help detect Down syndrome to help parents prepare for treatment after birth.
By: Kristeen Moore