The idea of friendship permeates the work and ideals of the United Nations. The Charter proclaims that one of the purposes of the Organization 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 Civilizations initiative aims to improve cooperation and understanding among nations and peoples across cultures and religions, including to counter the forces that fuel extremism.
Friendship; harmony; tolerance; mutual respect and mutual concern: these concepts are part of the Organization’s very fibre. They inform our activities, from peacekeeping and defending human rights to our collective efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. And they are now the focus of the International Day of Friendship, a new observance established by the General Assembly in a resolution that highlights the potential of friendship to “build bridges” and “inspire peace efforts”.
Individual friendships bring us face to face with diversity and different points of view. They bring us joy and support, notwithstanding the tests that can encumber even the best of relationships. The same pillars that support sturdy personal friendships – trust, respect, mutually beneficial decision-making – also have an important place in the community of nations.
United States President Woodrow Wilson once said, “Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” On this first International Day of Friendship, let us pledge to work together to strengthen that cement and build a peaceful, more prosperous world so old friendships can flourish and new ones can be made.
International Day of Friendship - 30 July
- UN General Assembly designates 30 July as the International Day of Friendship (2011)
- General Assembly resolution on a Culture of Peace (1998)
- Proclamation of the year 2000 as the International Year for the Culture of Peace (1998)
- Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (1999)
- General Assembly declares 21 September as the International Day of Peace (2001)
- International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World, 2001-2010
- Resolution adopted by the General Assembly in 1998 (A/RES/53/25)
- Resolution adopted by the General Assembly in 2001 (A/RES/55/47)
- Report of the Secretary-General (September 2000)(A/55/377)
- Report of the Secretary-General (September 2001) (A/56/349)
- Note by the Secretary-General (August 2009)(A/64/312)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination
Based on Religion or Belief