The International Day of Friendship is celebrated annually on July 30. The International Day of Friendship is a United Nations (UN) hosted day about “promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity.”
First observed in 2011, the International Day of Friendship builds upon a 1997 UN resolution defining the Culture of Peace.
The Culture of Peace is “a set of values, attitudes and behaviours that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by addressing their root causes with a view to solving problems.”
The International Day of Friendship lends itself to action on behalf of the Culture of Peace in ways that:
- Promote sustainable economic and social development
- Ensure gender equality
- Foster democratic participation
- Advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity
- Support the free flow of information and knowledge
- Promote respect for all human rights
- Use education to foster peace
- Advance international peace and security
A culture of peace is the foundational idea behind the UN. UNESCO, a specialized UN agency working with the international community in the areas of education, science, culture and communication, has advanced that mission for more than 70 years.
The UNESCO Constitution, written in 1945, links the possibility and hope of peace to strong bonds of trust and friendship.
“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed . . . peace must therefore be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind.
The Origin of Friendship Day
Friendship Day, which originated in the late 1920s/early 1930s as an occasion to sell greeting cards, never quite found its footing. It was unable to overcome its marketing roots during a time when people couldn’t afford leisure items.
The appeal of friendship as something to celebrate eventually resurfaced in South America in the late 1950s. The World Friendship Crusade began to promote the idea of worldwide friendship through World Friendship Day and was instrumental in lobbying the UN to adopt and make official, through the International Day of Friendship, the cause of friendship.
Interest in Friendship Day has increased over the past decade as social media has embraced it as an occasion to honor friends and exchange gifts. Friendship Day is celebrated on different dates throughout the world, but is most broadly celebrated on July 30, the same date as International Friendship Day.
Why is Friendship Important? Why Does Friendship Matter?
Friendship allows people to know and be known. It provides opportunities for open discussion, selflessness and growth. It promotes acceptance and through mutual understanding builds trust.
Friendship detests violence. It stands against harshness, oppression and prejudice. It empowers and supports, and when done well, friendship unravels the stronghold poverty occupies in the mind.
Meaningful relationships provide opportunities for both social and emotional development. Isolation and loneliness are burdens on the poor, depressing their minds and spirits. Friendship lifts up, strengthens resolve and provides hope through possibility and togetherness.
For the poor, friendship creates stability through teamwork and cultivates a hope of possibility.
In a 2015 article published by Dr. Bruce Wydick, a professor of economics at the University of San Francisco, wrote about hope being a secret ingredient in poverty relief. He laid out three types of hope: Wishful Hope, Aspirational Hope and Overarching Hope.
Friendship helps cultivate hope that makes a difference. It uproots fatalism, and makes people more productive, happier, healthier and more resistant to setback. Hope matters. And friendship matters.
Bring Friendship, Hope and Peace to a Child in Poverty
For children living in poverty, a strong friendship offers a hope they need to escape their circumstances. Through a child sponsorship you have the opportunity to become the friend a child in poverty has been waiting for…and needs.
When you sponsor a child, your child will have the opportunity to forge friendships with other children in our Child Sponsorship Programme, and the child development center workers and church leaders running the program will know him or her and invest in the child personally and relationally, as friends and mentors.
Be a beacon of hope and a pillar of peace to a child in poverty. Be a friend.