International Day of Friendship: history of the annual event, when it takes place, and how to celebrate in the UK
International Day of Friendship is an annual event which celebrates human solidarity through friendship.
But what is the history behind it and how do people celebrate?
What is International Day of Friendship?
International Day of Friendship was proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) and is built around the belief that the foundation of friendship can help to confront wider global issues.
The UN explains that the world faces “many challenges, crises and forces of division”, including poverty, violence and abuse of human rights.
However, the UN adds that in order to confront these crises and challenges, the root cause of them “must be addressed by promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity that takes many forms — the simplest of which is friendship.”
This year, International Day of Friendship takes place on Thursday 30 July.
The Department of Education tweeted, “Today is #worldfriendshipday
- a day to celebrate the people in your life who make you laugh more and smile brighter
Meanwhile, UN Women posted on Twitter saying, “Happy #FriendshipDay! Let's be there for each other and lift each other up for a better world.”
What is the history behind International Day of Friendship?
The International Day of Friendship initiative follows on from a proposal made by UNESCO, which defines the Culture of Peace as a set of values, attitudes and behaviours.
These values reject violence and hope to prevent conflicts by addressing their root cause. It was then adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1997.
The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2011.
This was “with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.”
According to the UN, the resolution puts emphasis on involving young people in community activities which include different cultures, alongside promoting international understanding and respect for diversity.
How can I celebrate International Day of Friendship?
In order to mark the International Day of Friendship, the UN encourages governments, international organisations and civil society groups to hold events, activities and initiatives which help the efforts of the international community.
Although large events may not be held this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, people can still come together in different ways to show their love of friendship and reach out to those closest to them.
This can be done with a simple message, card or video call - with many choosing to post a picture of them and their friends on social media channels.
Unicef Turkey took to Twitter to say, “Happy International Day of Friendship. Tag your bestie and show your LOVE!”