#UN; #InternationalAlbinismAwarenessDay, #Demystifying; #Discrimination; #Solidarity
New York/Canadian-Media: On International Albinism Awareness Day, Sunday, the UN chief reiterated his “solidarity with persons with albinism”.
Lucas and his brother both have albinism, which makes their skin very sensitive, their eyesight poor, and their appearance a little different from their brothers and sisters. Image credit: © UNICEF
Albinism, a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited condition found in both men and women, presents as a lack of melanin pigmentation in hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light.
As a result` almost all people with albinism are visually impaired and are prone to developing skin cancer.
Secretary-General António Guterres said that this year’s theme, Strength Beyond All Odds, reflects the “resilience, perseverance and achievements” of people with albinism in the face of pervasive “misconceptions, discrimination and violence”.
Shining a spotlight
While numbers vary, the UN estimates that in North America and Europe one in every 17,000 to 20,000 people have some form of albinism, but in sub-Saharan Africa, the figure is higher.
One in 1,400 Tanzanians have the condition, and in Zimbabwe and select populations in other specific ethnic groups in Southern Africa, the prevalence rises to as high as one in 1,000.
Profoundly misunderstood, socially and medically, people with albinism face multiple forms of discrimination worldwide.
They are often the object of superstitious beliefs and myths, which not only foster their marginalization and social exclusion but also lead to various forms of stigma discrimination and violence.
Some centuries old erroneous mythologies still exist in cultural attitudes and practices globally, putting the security and lives of persons with albinism at constant risk.
“Despite these obstacles to well-being and security, leaders of organizations representing persons with albinism continue to work hard to support the most vulnerable”, said Mr. Guterres.
Protect persons with albinism
Meaningful commitments, such as the Plan of Action on Albinism in Africa and the work of the UN independent expert on albinism in promoting the rights of persons with albinism, have encouraged the UN chief that those with the condition are “increasingly taking their rightful place in decision-making platforms around the world”.
Yet, recognizing the “deep need to demystify the condition and end discrimination”, he acknowledged, “much remains to be done”.
The Secretary-General urged all nations and communities to “protect and fulfil the human rights of all persons with albinism and provide necessary support and care”.
In her statement marking the day, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, echoed the UN chief's call for protection.
As the pandemic exacerbates the challenges faced by people with albinism, she pointed out that in some countries, they have been "smeared with names such as 'corona' and 'COVID-19'", and some have even been "banished from their communities".
"I call on States and the international community to continue to build and strengthen partnerships with persons with albinism and organizations representing them, to ensure they are included in decision-making that concerns them and to promote their enjoyment of all human rights", said Ms. Bachelet.
#OFCCP; #AANHPI; #Observance; #UnitedStates; #Equality
New York/Canadian-Media: Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), part of the U.S. Department of Labor celebrates Asian American, Native Hawaiian /Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month highlighting the contributions made by AANHPIs to our nation’s culture and history with recommitment to advancing equity for all AANHPI workers.
Image credit: www.resourceumc.org
In his Presidential Proclamation marking AANHPI Heritage Month, United States (U.S.) President Joe Biden stated AANHPI communities are deeply rooted in the history of the United States with contributions from laying railroad tracks, tilling fields, and starting businesses, to caring for our loved ones and honorably serving our Nation in uniform.
In spite of the strength shown and successes achieved, Biden said that AANHPI communities face systemic barriers to economic justice, health equity, educational attainment, and personal safety challenged by failing to reflect the diversity of AANHPI communities and the particular barriers that Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Southeast Asian, and South Asian communities in the United States continue to face.
AANHPI communities have experienced in the past year, increased incidents of hate crimes, bias and racial scapegoating. Anti-Asian racism is not new. Throughout history hate crimes against South Asians, AANHPI communities have experienced discrimination and inequity, often stemming from xenophobia from the Chinese Exclusion Act to the Japanese internment camps to post-9/11.
AANHPI communities are incredibly diverse in terms of socioeconomic status as well as national origin, language and religious affiliation. While some Asian American subgroups have high levels of education and income, more than 2 million AANHPIs live in poverty.
This economic insecurity for many AANHPI communities has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. AANHPI women are overrepresented in service industries such as restaurants, hotels, and retail industries that have seen significant job losses during the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, AANHPI workers, including AANHPI women, faced job segregation, unequal pay and systemic barriers in hiring and promotions. A 2015 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report found that in the technology sector, high percentage of Asian American workers hired, Asian Americans are underrepresented in upper management and Asians Americans with advanced degrees actually earn 5% less compared with whites.
With a longstanding mission to protect workers, OFCCP enforces the contractual promise of equal opportunity and affirmative action by federal contractors and subcontractors and has been able to recover more than $7,599,821 million for over 3,367 AANHPI workers experiencing workplace discrimination since 2019.
With its commitment to better understanding and addressing the barriers facing AANHPI workers in the American workplace, OFCCP has ensured federal contractors and subcontractors advance equality and opportunity for all over the past half-century.
#LoC; #USOfficeOfPersonnelManagement; #PublicServiceRecognitionWeek; #USCopyrightOffice; #OnlineTransition
Washington/Canadian-Media: The United States (U.S.) Office of Personnel Management has designated first full week of May as Public Service Recognition Week to honor the folks who work in the business of federal, state, county and local governments including the library employees and those working at national Library, Library of Congress (LoC) reported.
Main reading room of the Library of Congress. Image credit: Shawn Miller
With more than 3,200 people working at the LoC, including world-class experts and scholars in a vast number of fields, it is the largest library in world history, comprising more than 171.6 million items and counting. Included in the library facilities are the main Library buildings, the U.S. Copyright Office and the Congressional Research Service on the Capitol Hill campus; the Packard National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia; six satellite offices around the world; and several state-of-the-art storage facilities.
A vast number of fields in which world-class experts and scholars work are the U.S. and world history, literature, book-binding, films, folklore, maps, manuscripts, printing, photography, maps, making all resources available to the public while also preserving them for centuries to come.
Apart from great librarians, LoC also houses chemists, film preservationists, and, in the case of the papers of Alexander Hamilton, scientists who used hyperspectral imaging to uncover long-hidden lines of text.
In her video message, Carla Hayden, the Librarian Of LoC, says the Library is one of the primary keepers of the American narrative, a storehouse, conservatory, library and museum of American and world history. Though our doors have been closed to the public and most employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Library staff never missed a day, as the staff shifted to telework almost overnight to keep the work flowing and more than 802,000 reference librarians answered the questions from members of Congress to researchers to students. (Just use our Ask a Librarian service!) in fiscal 2020.
Thousands of items that come into the Library daily were received, stored and processed by the technicians. More than 400,00 copyright registrations per year were done by the Copyright Office a cornerstone of intellectual property rights. Conservationists and preservations found new ways to work safely working in everything from manuscripts to maps, from films to recordings.
The National Book Festival, one of our favorite events, has also been transitioned by the staff responsible for putting together the festival from multiple departments to hosting the festival online last fall. The impact of COVID-19 impact on the nation is also being actively documented and curated. Our crowdsourcing project for transcribing historical papers, 'By the People', also continued without missing any step.
#InternationalLaborDay; #Solidarity; #CommonSurvival
New York/Canadian-Media: In a statement issued to mark May Day, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, calls on workers, employers, governments, international organizations and all who are committed to building back better, to join forces to bring in a world of work with justice and dignity for all.
International Labor Day. Image credit: Wikipedia.org
This year we again celebrate May Day, International Workers’ Day, under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has devastated the world of work, destroying jobs, enterprises and livelihoods, throwing millions into poverty and global development into reverse.
And like most crises, it has hit the weakest and the most vulnerable, the hardest, making an unequal world even more unequal.
The pandemic and its consequences are a stark reminder of global interdependence.
That applies to health as much as it does to our working lives.
No one is safe until everyone is safe.
No one can afford to be indifferent to the situation of others in the face of the fragility of the interdependent world that we have constructed.
Solidarity is key to our common survival and prosperity, within borders and across borders.
As we deal with today’s crisis and look to the future, one thing is clear: we need a human-centred recovery, with justice and equity, a recovery that is sustainable and inclusive of all.
Building back better means making deliberate and coherent policy choices:
We salute them, just as we mourn those whose have lost their lives, but, we must never sacrifice our values of social justice, nor our fundamental rights at work, nor our determination to build the better future which, is the meaning and the purpose of those who have celebrated May Day around the world for so many years.
In many ways, the pandemic has brought darkness to our lives and made that task more difficult.
Yet, it has also brought new possibilities that we can and must pursue.
The flux of crisis gives us space to rethink, make new choices and new commitments for people, for planet and for prosperity.
On this International Labor Day, the ILO calls on workers, employers, governments and international organizations, everybody committed to building back better, to join forces, to bring in a world of work with justice and dignity for all.
#UN; #InternationalWomenDay; #Equality; #WomenParticipation; #GlobalCommemorations
UN/Canadian-Media: Underscoring the transformative power of women’s equal participation, top United Nations officials called on all stakeholders to take special measures to advance their equal participation and achieve rapid change.
Women campaigning against child marriage at a village in south-centre Niger. Image credit: UNICEF/Juan Haro
In a message on International Women’s Day, marked annually on 8 March, Secretary-General António Guterres outlined “clear evidence”, such as better social protection programs, stronger climate policies, and enduring peace agreements, when women are in governments, parliaments or peace negotiations.
“Whether running a country, a business or a popular movement, women are making contributions that are delivering for all and driving progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, Mr. Guterres said.
“I call on countries, companies, and institutions to adopt special measures and quotas to advance women’s equal participation and achieve rapid change”, he urged.
The UN began celebrating International Day in 1975, which was designated International Women’s Year. Over the decades it has morphed from recognizing the achievements of women to becoming a rallying point to build support for women's rights and participation, in the political and economic arenas.
This year’s commemorations, under the theme, Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world, comes as the world continues to navigate the pandemic, which has wiped out decades of hard-won progress towards gender equality.
COVID-19 erased decades of progress
Women have borne the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic – from being pushed into poverty, to losing jobs as the informal economy shrinks, to an alarming spike in domestic violence and the unpaid care burden.
However, in spite of the impact on their lives and rights, women have stood resolutely on the frontlines of pandemic response, as essential workers, caregivers and leaders.
“As we recover from the pandemic, support and stimulus packages must target women and girls specifically, including through investments in women-owned businesses and the care economy”, the UN chief urged.
‘No country prospers without women’s engagement’
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN-Women, the Organization’s entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, underlined the need for political will to actively and intentionally support women’s representation.
In a message, she went on to note that concrete efforts such as setting and meeting parity targets, at all levels of government; or special measures such as putting in place and enforcing quotas and policies to address representation for “real progress” on women’s leadership.
Without such measures, progress can be slower or even non-existent and easily reversed, she warned.
“No country prospers without the engagement of women”, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka highlighted, calling for women’s representation that reflects all women and girls in all their diversity and abilities, and across all cultural, social, economic, and political situations.
“This is the only way we will get the real societal change that incorporates women in decision-making as equals and benefits us all”, the head of UN-Women added.
‘Responsibility of our lifetimes’
We are at a pivotal moment … the responsibility of our lifetimes is upon us: to create more equitable, inclusive, just, and sustainable post-pandemic societies
— High Commissioner Bachelet
Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that discrimination against women is what is holding them back, not a lack of interest or capacity.
Speaking at a commemorative event at the Human Rights Council, the UN rights chief stressed that discrimination leads to laws that prevent women from controlling their bodies, owning land or accessing credit.
She called for a specific action, including special measures and quotas to “break the cycle of exclusion”, which results in a disproportionate share of caregiving responsibilities, social norms preventing equal access to education, as well as violence, harassment and harmful practices.
“We are at a pivotal moment … the responsibility of our lifetimes is upon us: to create more equitable, inclusive, just, and sustainable post-pandemic societies”, Ms. Bachelet added.
When women lead, ‘we all win’
Ghada Waly, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), highlighted, in particular, the importance of women’s leadership and representation in law enforcement and the judiciary.
Their increased participation ensures more investigations into crimes against women, better policing outcomes, and successful victim-centered approaches, she added, noting that women also enable “systemic changes”, including lower rates of violence and greater integrity through diversity.
“These are major victories for public trust and effective institutions. When women lead, we all win”, Ms. Waly said, recalling the UN Crime Congress Kyoto Declaration, adopted on Sunday, in which governments pledged to remove impediments to the advancement of women within criminal justice systems.
Celebrating women leaders in the Afghan peace process
Empowering these women, and expanding women’s participation, will be critical to ensure a just and sustainable peace that protects the rights of all Afghans
— UNAMA head Deborah Lyons
In Afghanistan, the UN Assistance Mission (UNAMA) highlighted that 2021 is a “historic opportunity for a lasting peace” that will benefit all Afghans, reiterating that women must play a leading role in decision-making at all levels of the peace process.
“The peace process has brought to the fore strong Afghan women leaders, who have negotiated on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and rallied support in their communities for a peaceful solution to the conflict”, Deborah Lyons, Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan said in a message.
“Empowering these women, and expanding women’s participation, will be critical to ensure a just and sustainable peace that protects the rights of all Afghans.”
Listen to the voices of Myanmar’s women: UN Country Team
Meanwhile in Myanmar, the UN Country Team (UNCT) applauded the country’s women and women civil society organizations for their role in Myanmar’s “slow journey towards a more democratic, peaceful and prosperous society”.
“For decades, women, across Myanmar have worked both in the shadows and in broad daylight, often at high risks to their safety and well-being, to advocate for peace, support the peace process and deliver essential services when and where there were no government services to be had”, UNCT said in a statement, praising also their contributions to prevent and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They are “once again demonstrating their leadership and agency” following more than one month of instability and violence, in the aftermath of the military takeover on 1 February.
The UNCT added that across Myanmar, women, young and old are leading the call for peace, justice and democracy “with courage, braving bullets and beatings, death and detention, challenging patriarchy and social norms in the process”.
“At this time of crisis, we urge all stakeholders, in Myanmar and abroad, to listen to the voices of the women of Myanmar and we echo the words of the UN Secretary-General reaffirming the unwavering support of the UN to the people of Myanmar in their pursuit of democracy, peace, human rights and the rule of law.”
UN agencies together with partners also organized commemorative events around the world to mark the International Day.
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) introduced the Global Brest Cancer Initiative, which aims to reduce global breast cancer mortality by 2.5 per cent per year until 2040, thereby averting an estimated 2.5 million deaths. The agency is also hosting an advocacy event Hearing the call of women with breast cancer, where the Initiative will be presented to the global cancer community.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) highlighted the impact of the pandemic on girls, warning that ten million additional child marriages could occur before the end of the decade. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) called on the international community to take urgent steps to protect refugee, displaced and stateless women and girls facing poverty and gender-based violence due to COVID-19 and its socio-economic fallout.
Similarly, in Asia and the Pacific, the UN’s regional development arm, ESCAP, launched a new report The long road to equality, which shows that while levels of women’s representation in the region have increased, the progress “remains uneven”, both within and among countries.
#InternationalWomenDay2021; #COVID19Pandemic; #GenderEquality
New York/Canadian-Media: UN Women is intensifying its preparations for the 2021 Generation Equality Forum amidst a back-drop that shows women’s rights and leadership are under threat, and even more exacerbated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Current projections show that gender equality in the highest positions of power will not be reached for another 130 years. This year’s International Women’s Day rings the alarm on rising threats to gender equality and highlights the need to build back better for a more gender-equal future.
International Women’s Day. Image credit: www.internationalwomensday.com
The official UN commemoration, under the theme of “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world on the way to the Generation Equality Forum”, will feature global leaders, including the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, the Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir, activist and actor Eva Longoria, and Somaya Faruqi, member of the Afghan Girls Robotics Team. In addition to offering reflections on the theme of the day, they will call for a redoubling of efforts to increase women’s participation in all aspects of leadership and public life, and on finding new solutions that leave no woman or girl behind.
“We must remember 2021 as a global inflection point on gender equality – a year when women’s rights and leadership accelerated irreversibly. The Generation Equality Forum will be a catalyst for lasting change. A more equal world will be a different world. More inclusive decisions will be made, different voices heard, and different solutions created,” said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, said: “Gender equality is essentially a question of power. A male-dominated world and a male-dominated culture will yield male-dominated results. But the opportunity of man-made problems – and I choose these words deliberately – is that they have human-led solutions. These solutions can only be found through shared leadership and decision-making; and through the full realization of women’s rights, including the right to equal participation. Realizing women’s rights will benefit all of us.”
This International Women’s Day comes at a moment where evidence is growing that the pandemic is having a disproportionate and severe impact on women’s rights – from their role as front-line healthcare workers often without adequate protection, to the loss of jobs as the informal economy shrinks, and the alarming spike in domestic violence and unpaid care burden. Now striking new data on women’s leadership further emphasizes the imperative for action:
Only three countries globally have 50 per cent or more women in parliament, and the same amount have no women in parliament at all.
Women under 30 years- make up less than one per cent of parliamentarians globally.
Women parliamentarians reported in one survey that they experienced nearly twice as much exposure to torture, ill treatment and acts of violence compared to men.
Despite the plaudits given to many women leaders for their COVID-19 response, only 3.5 per cent of the COVID-19 task forces examined in 87 countries had gender parity.
Research shows that when women are in power, overlooked policy issues, such as ending violence against women, childcare services and healthcare get more attention; there is often less government corruption and political parties are more likely to work together. For example, in Liberia during her first term as President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf introduced a specialized court to prosecute violence against women. Norway’s former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, and current German Chancellor Angela Merkel, both strengthened family leave provisions and increased funding for early childhood education.
Achieving equality in leadership and decision-making is possible. The Generation Equality Forum’s Action Coalition on Feminist Movements and Leadership has developed plans to achieve gender parity in executive and legislative positions in 50 countries by 2026.
UN Women has also put forth a series of concrete recommendations from improving legal frameworks, especially through adopting and enforcing gender quotas, addressing social norms and violence against women in public life, and increasing funding to support women candidates.
Generation Equality Forum taking commitments to the next level
The 2021 Generation Equality Forum, organized by UN Women and co-hosted by the Governments of France and Mexico, in conjunction with youth and civil society, will be a once-in-a-decade opportunity to change our societies and cement women’s leadership as we recover from COVID-19. It will kick off in Mexico City from 29 to 31 March and culminate in Paris, France, in June.
Launching on International Women’s Day, the actions of the Action Coalitions, which will be a main deliverable of the upcoming Generation Equality Forum, will define the most catalytic areas for investment in advancing gender equality. The Coalitions will seek a wide range of commitments from diverse organizations – governments, nonprofits, corporations and youth leaders - on six themes ranging from Feminist Movements and Leadership to Gender-based Violence, to accomplish lasting gender equality.
Actor and activist Eva Longoria will launch at the event the new UN Women campaign for the Generation Equality Forum, #ActForEqual, to create a groundswell of awareness and action in the run-up to the Generation Equality Forum.
Other participants at the virtual International Women’s Day event will include: Élisabeth Moreno, Minister for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities of France; Marcelo Ebrard, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, Minister of Women, Gender and Diversity of Argentina, Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Xiye Bastida, Climate Justice Activist; Eddie Ndopu, SDG and Disability Rights advocate; and Aya Chebbi, Pan-African Activist and Chair of Africa Young Women Manifesto Group.
International Women’s Day around the world
In addition to the official UN commemoration, hundreds of events and activations around the world will mark International Women’s Day, including a roundtable by the African Women Leaders Network discussing women’s leadership in Zimbabwe, an audiovisual exhibition with the stories of women survivors of violence in Albania, an online photo gallery honouring “Women in Leadership” by partner agency UNOPS in Thailand, and a panel discussion in Jamaica as part of the joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative on women in leadership addressing gender-based violence in the COVID-19 environment.
For the seventh year in a row, over 90 stock exchanges around the world will raise awareness of the essential role that the private sector can play in strengthening women’s leadership, by hosting a bell-ringing ceremony.
In response to the alarming shadow pandemic of violence against women during the COVID-19 crisis and ahead of International Women’s Day, the UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign released its “Orange Day” UNiTE Action Circular booklet on 25 February focusing on one of its four critical work areas this year: Funding for organizations. The other three areas are: respond to survivors’ needs, prevent violence and collect data and Action Circulars on those topics will be released through the year.
Art Forum SF presents Virtually SALA Live Series 2021, episode 2 'Emerging women in today's Pakistan'
#LosAngeles; #ArtFormSF; #SALA; #MoniMohsin; #PakistanEmergingWomen; #HamnaZubair
Los Angeles/Canadian-Media: Art Forum SF virtually presents SALA (South Asian Literature & Arts), live series episode 2, 'Emerging women in today’s Pakistan - Pakistan in a new light and it’s high life,' on March 28, 2021, from 10:00 am to 11:30 am PST
In conversation with Moni Mohsin: Born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan, Moni Mohsin, is both an author and a journalist. She began her career at The Friday Times, Pakistan’s first independent weekly newspaper, where she started her long-running, satirical column 'The Diary of a Social Butterfly.' Moni has written four works of fiction — two novels, The End of Innocence and Tender Hooks aka Duty-Free and two books of collected Butterfly columns, The Diary of a Social Butterfly and The Return of the Butterfly. Her latest novel is The Impeccable Integrity of Ruby R.
Image: Moni Mohsin. Image credit: www.monimohsin.com
Hamna Zubair, a writer, editor, and culture critic, living in Karachi, Pakistan, will be in conversation with Moni Mohsin about her novels' inspiration, how she created the main characters, social media, and more.
Hamna Zubair. Image credit: Twitter handle
Hamna Zubair, a writer, editor, and culture critic, living in Karachi, Pakistan, will be in conversation with Moni Mohsin about her novels' inspiration, how she created the main characters, social media, and more.
Previously Culture Editor at Dawn.com, Pakistan's largest English-language daily newspaper, Hamna has an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and has published in New York City before her work in journalism in Pakistan. Her work on feminism, the arts, and how the two intersect in South Asia has appeared in Vogue, Slate, The Herald, Dawn, and various other publications.
“Do desis yearn to be ruled by a strong man?” asks Moni Mohsin and further invites you to join a lively conversation about celebrity, society, and the cult of masculinity in contemporary South Asia.
Art Forum SF is a not for profit that strives to define and promote all art forms emerging from South Asia. Art Forum SF endeavor to present the visual, the literary, and the performing arts in their various versions, thus promoting a more extensive reach for South Asian voices.
"In the month incredibly dedicated to women, we present two women who are Titans in their field from South Asia, Moni Mohsin, a social butterfly during the day and a moth by night, and Hamna Zubair, who is deeply invested in creating and promoting diverse narratives. Eagerly awaiting their conversation on our platform of Artforum SALA," says Kiran Malhotra, Board of Director, Art Forum SF.
In October 2019, Art Forum SF debuted the South Asian Literature and Art festival with grand success, at the Montalvo Arts Center’s picturesque site in Saratoga, California. The festival featured prominent experts experienced in the cultural-literary-artistic histories of South Asian countries and in different aspects of the humanities, to give talks, have exhibitions and performances, book reading for local audiences. Learn more here.
In these "uncertain times," Art Forum SF moves to host the Virtually SALA Series 2021 with featured talks through the year till it is safe to congregate in a festival setting. Watch Virtually SALA Live Series, Episode 2 on: Facebook: www.facebook.com/southasianartforumsf and YouTube: https://youtu.be/_3T8Ya77HqQ
Follow us on Social Media @ArtForumSF, and for more information, visit www.artforumsf.org or contact:
Ambika Sahay, Executive Director at
For sponsorship, media, and marketing opportunities, contact MUKTA Advertising at firstname.lastname@example.org | 416.716.8582.
#UNESCO; #InternationalMotherLanguageDay; #CommonHeritagePreservation; #Covid19
UNESCO/Canadian-Media: The UN educational and cultural agency, UNESCO, has encouraged people everywhere to celebrate the world’s diversity by supporting multilingualism at school and in everyday life: the theme for International Mother Language Day, observed on Sunday.
At Kres primary school, in Cambodia, the multilingual education curriculum allows children to study in their indigenous language of Kreung, while they learn the national language of Khmer (November 2018). Image credit: © UNICEF/Antoine Raab
The annual commemoration honours linguistic diversity and multilingualism, which UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay called “this priceless heritage of humanity.”
The focus this year is on inclusion, both in the classroom and in society.
“This is essential, because when 40 per cent of the world's inhabitants do not have access to education in the language they speak or understand best, it hinders their learning, as well as their access to heritage and cultural expressions,” Ms. Azoulay said in her message for the Day.
“This year, special attention is being paid to multilingual education from early childhood, so that for children, their mother tongue is always an asset,” she added.
The COVID-19 threat
International Mother Language Day is being celebrated as the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, which has widened inequalities in education. Ms. Azoulay said many of the 1.5 billion students worldwide unable to attend school at the peak of the crisis had no access to distance learning.
The pandemic is also threatening cultural diversity, as festivals and other events have been cancelled, with the impacts affecting creators and the media.
Ms. Azoulay underscored her agency’s commitment to promoting multilingualism, including on the Internet. UNESCO is also the lead agency for the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, which begins next year.
Preserving a common heritage
She said the International Day, like the Decade, presents the challenge of ensuring the diversity of the world’s languages is preserved as a common heritage.
“For when a language dies, a way of seeing, feeling and thinking the world disappears, and all of cultural diversity is irretrievably diminished,” she said.
“On this International Day, UNESCO therefore calls for the celebration of the world in all its diversity, and support for multilingualism in everyday life.”
#WashingtonDC; #USHolocaustMemorialMuseum; #InternationalHolocaustRemembranceDay
New York/Canadian-Media: The anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau for International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan 27, usually a moment of reflection was observed by United States (US) Holocaust Memorial Museum after reimagining it as a transatlantic digital commemoration.
US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Image credit: Wikipedia
Located among our national monuments to freedom on the National Mall at 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW, Washington DC, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum is a living memorial to the Holocaust, and inspires worldwide citizens and leaders to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity.
The Museum provides a powerful lesson in the freedom, progress, and the need for vigilance in preserving democratic values against the dangers of unchecked hatred and the need to prevent genocide and encourage them to cultivate a sense of moral responsibility among our citizens.
Since 1982, the Museum has organized and led the national Days of Remembrance ceremony in the US Capitol with Holocaust survivors, liberators, members of Congress, White House officials, the diplomatic corps, and community leaders in attendance.
This year the museum observed the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau for International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan 27, customarily.
The anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on Jan 27 was designated by the UN General Assembly as International Holocaust Remembrance Day and UN urges every member state to honor the victims of the Nazi era and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.
Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, also today issued the following statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day:
“Today, I join Canadians in paying tribute to the over six million Jews who were murdered and the countless other victims who suffered under the heinous crimes perpetrated by the Nazi regime. The pain and loss endured during the Shoah will never be forgotten.
We also honour the survivors whose stories and memories paint a vivid portrayal of suffering, courage, and hope in the face of such despicable acts...Through the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, adopted as part of our government’s Anti-Racism Strategy, Canada is equipped with the tools and resources needed to combat antisemitic attitudes and Holocaust denial...Only through effective education, research, and remembrance can we foster a society free of prejudice and discrimination.
In November, I appointed the Honourable Irwin Cotler as Canada’s Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism...“Learning from our past is key to building a more inclusive future.
On this International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I encourage Canadians to remember the victims, survivors, and heroes who bore witness to the Shoah. Together, we will vow ‘Never Again’.”
#UN; #InternationalDayOfEducation; #Covid19Pandemic
New York/Canadian-Media: To mark the third International Day of Education on Sunday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres paid tribute to the resilience of students, teachers, and families in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic that, at its peak, forced almost every school, institute, and university to close its doors.
A teacher and her students practice COVID-19 school re-opening guidelines by wearing face masks and maintaining physical distance at a primary school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Image credit: © UNICEF/Seng
“When education is interrupted, it affects everyone”, he said, and “all of us pay the price”, stressing that education is the foundation for expanding opportunities, transforming economies, fighting intolerance, protecting our planet, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Although this disruption has led to learning innovations, he said, it has also dashed hopes of a brighter future among vulnerable populations.
Avert generational catastrophe
With that in mind, the UN chief said that as the world continues to battle the pandemic, education – as a fundamental right and a global public good – must be protected to avert a generational catastrophe.
Even before the pandemic, some 258 million children and adolescents were out of school, the majority of the girls. Indeed, more than half of 10-year-olds in low and middle-income countries were not learning to read a simple text.
“In 2021, we must seize all opportunities to turn this situation around. We must ensure the full replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education fund, and strengthen global education cooperation”, the Secretary-General explained.
“We must also step up our efforts to reimagine education – training teachers, bridging the digital divide and rethinking curricula to equip learners with the skills and knowledge to flourish in our rapidly changing world”, he said, adding: “Let us commit to promoting education for all — today and every day.”
Struggling at home
Volkan Bozkir, the President of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, commended all teachers, who have adapted their classrooms and undertaken remote lessons in order to ensure continuity in education. He also applauded parents, who have done their utmost to facilitate learning at home.
“Above all, I am thinking of all students around the world who are struggling to learn at home, perhaps missing their friends, feeling frustrated or despondent about the future. Do not despair. You will get through this difficult period and you will pursue your dreams”, the Assembly President said in a video message.
He said that it is up to the UN Member States to ensure this becomes a reality.
“We need to take urgent action in this Decade of Action and Delivery to invest in our education systems, including improving access to technology so that we can recover from this tumultuous period”, Assembly President Bozkir said.
He explained that if the UN and wider international community are to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all, “we need to build resilient, inclusive education systems that allow all students to return to school.”
“To do so, we must meet the needs of those at risk of being left behind. Including children with disabilities and those living in conflict-affected areas, as well as the 11 million girls who are at risk of not re-entering the classroom.
‘Recover and Revitalize Education’
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will co-host an event on Monday, 25 January, planned around three main segments: learning heroes, innovations, and financing.
The agency says that as a new year begins, now is the time to step up collaboration and international solidarity to place education and lifelong learning at the center of the recovery and the transformation towards more inclusive, safe, and sustainable societies.
In a concept note on the event, UNESCO says it is time to invest in better gearing education systems everywhere to the reality of interdependence that the pandemic has made necessary, and to making education a vehicle to foster social justice, peace, respect for diversity, human rights and democratic values.