Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.
Diarise Wednesday 30 July as a day for smiles, hugs and goodwill to all beings with which we share this beautiful Earth, for it has been designated the International Day of Friendship by the United Nations.
The UN General Assembly added the date to the global calendar in 2011 to recognise that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.
The invitation from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is to: “Cultivate warm ties that strengthen our common humanity and promote the well-being of the human family.”
From its earliest beginnings the Findhorn Foundation community has engaged in reaching out a hand of friendship to the world, with the Ecovillage Project playing a pioneering role and receiving Best Practice status in 1998 from the UN Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat).
So the suggestion is that we all join in the spirit of the International Day of Friendship, which highlights friendship as the fundamental glue uniting people across diverse cultures and backgrounds, and building a culture of peace that is fundamental to the work of the UN.
The idea of friendship permeates the work and ideals of the UN and the Charter proclaims that one of the purposes of the organisation is “to develop friendly relations among nations”. These same words appear in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. UNESCO’s Constitution speaks of the need for peace based not just on the “political and economic arrangements of governments” but on the “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind”. And the UN Alliance of Civilisations initiative aims to improve cooperation and understanding among nations and peoples across cultures and religions, to counter the forces that fuel extremism.
The status was also seen as a sign of a great maturing of our community, which has been promoting principles of sustainable development as put forward by the major UN conferences of recent years – including the environmental aspect of the Rio Earth Summit, the human settlements aspect of Istanbul, and the women’s aspect of Beijing – in an attempt to provide a contemporary and evolving model of sustainable living.
This association is a commitment on the part of the Findhorn Foundation ‘to disseminate information and raise public awareness about the purposes and activities and achievements of the United Nations and issues of global concern’ related to sustainability, environment, peace, shelter, and creation of a sustainable world.
In 2006 CIFAL Findhorn was formed, creating a prestigious link between the Scottish Government, public sector organisations in the Moray area of Scotland, the UN, and leading sustainability centres worldwide.
CIFAL was rebranded CIFAL Scotland and has since served Northern Europe through innovative capacity building activities led by May East, CIFAL CEO, who was recognised as one of 100 World Sustainability leaders in 2011 and again in 2012.