Public Service Day

When is Public Service Day?

Public Service Day is a global holiday held every year on June 23rd. Founded by the United Nations (U.N.), this holiday aims to highlight the important roles that citizens from around the world play in the public sector, whether on a paid or voluntary basis. Special events are also held to help encourage young adults to pursue careers in public service. At the same time, the United Nations Public Service Awards are given out during a ceremony annually on Public Service Day. It is the role of the U.N. to help make the world a better place for all, and the organization strongly believes that public service jobs can help strengthen communities around the world.


The first Public Service Day was held on June 23, 2003. The holiday was established in 2002 by the U.N. General Assembly to help promote democracy through the recognition of the importance of public, or civil, service. Such jobs directly serve the community by ensuring basic human needs are met. However, if there are a shortage of public service workers, then there are subsequently a lack of human services. Public Service Day commemorates those who work in the sector while encouraging other individuals to do the same in order to better their communities.


Public Service Day is a U.N. holiday, so you can expect to see celebrations held throughout multiple countries. While most of the celebrations occur on site in public service institutions, other organizations hold ceremonies to help honor people who work in civil service. While the United Nations holds its own annual ceremony, individual communities often host their own special events on Public Service Day. Such events can include awards, guest speakers and presentations.

This holiday is also designed to help encourage youth towards a path in public service. Public schools might host events where guest speakers from the field come and talk to the students. Also, public servants often put up booths at universities in order to promote these types of jobs.

Participants in June 23rd’s events may also showcase symbols of Public Service Day. The symbol was created by the United Nations, and features columns alongside three blue human figures joined in hand. The U.N. symbol is at the top, and the words “Public Service” are within the logo.

Public Service Awards

The United Nations Public Service Awards are another special part of this holiday. After Public Service Day was established, the U.N. Economic and Social Council came up with the awards in an effort to increase awareness of public service, and to award outstanding contributions within communities around the world. Specifically, such awards are given out to public servants who have made significant contributions to better the livelihood of citizens.

There are currently five Public Service Awards categories:

  1. Stopping or preventing corruption within public service sector
  2. Improving the way services are delivered to the public
  3. Ensuring policies are made to encourage public participation in changes in rules and laws
  4. Increasing public knowledge about the role of government
  5. Promoting gender equality in public service roles

Both government and non-government public servants are eligible for the awards, but someone else has to nominate you. The U.N. looks over all applications carefully and announces the winners publicly on Public Service Day during a special ceremony.

By: Kristeen Cherney