July 30th marks International Day of Friendship. The observance was proclaimed in 2011 with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.
The United Nations Day is part of UNESCO’s Culture of Peace initiative which 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 theme for this year is "Deepening International Friendships" which aims to promote companionship and understanding that transcends national borders.
While International Day of Friendship is part of a UN led effort to reduce global conflict, the values of the observance are also relevant closer to home.
Friendship has never been important than right now. For many, friends have been central to brining us happiness, while easing the difficulties that COVID-19 has brought, through staying connected, the burdens that the pandemic has brought can feel lightened,
Having friends, we can talk to and share our lives with is so important for our mental health, during both good and bad times.
Friendships can help with building self-confidence, as well as reducing loneliness and stress, ultimately friendships can ground us and give us all a sense of belonging even in uncertain times.
It’s important to remember that friendships can be forged with anyone. People from different ages, religions and political outlooks can be friends. Through making friends, we give ourselves opportunities to learn from others with both shared experiences and views as well as those with different perspectives.
So why not take International Day of Friendship as an opportunity to have a chat with a trusted friend (in a COVID-safe way) or maybe message a friend you perhaps have lost contact with?
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