World Humanitarian Day 2016

World Humanitarian Day 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

It is our pleasure to invite you to join this year's annual commemoration of World Humanitarian Day (WHD), taking place at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Friday 19 August 2016.

WHD is a time to come together and recognize those who face adversity and danger on a daily basis in their quest to help others. The day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq. At the same time, it is also an opportunity to celebrate the spirit of “one humanity”, which inspires humanitarian work around the globe. This year's annual commemoration will have a special focus on the theme of youth in humanitarian action. A new Global Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action was launched in May of this year at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Istanbul, as there is a growing recognition of youth's role in communities surviving and recovering from disasters and conflicts, in addition to their role in international humanitarian aid. We hope that this year's WHD will advance an encouraging message regarding youth's potential to help overcome the world's current and future humanitarian challenges with innovation, communication, humanity and solidarity.

A panel discussion will take place in Palais des Nations, Room XX, from 10:00am to 11:30am. In line with this year’s theme, the panel discussion is meant to highlight the various experiences of youth partaking in humanitarian work. The panel will be composed of two high-level personnel working within the humanitarian field, and four young humanitarians that use the means of grassroots and creative action to contribute to positive change within their societies. In the hopes of bridging the gap between the high and grassroots level work, we aim to facilitate a vivid exchange between panelists and bring forth an array of perspectives on youth humanitarian involvement.

With Ms. Catherine Fiankan-Bokonga, Chief Editor of Swiss newspaper 'La Cité', as moderator the panel will consist of:

  • Mr. Filippo Grandi - UN High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Ms. Nan Buzard - Executive Director, ICVA
  • Ms. Marie Chailley - Swiss nursing student
  • Ms. Zohoor Asiri - Medical Doctor
  • Mr. Jorge Terrones Cano - USAR Team Member at Cuerpo General de Bomberos Voluntarios del Perú
  • Ms. Kerstin Magdalena Wojciechowski - International Federation of Red Cross and Red Cresent Societies

The panel session will also be livestreamed on UN TV so please tune-in if unable to make it in person.

A commemoration ceremony is scheduled to commence after the panel discussion, followed by a reception at 12:00pm, to which you are kindly invited to also attend. An art exhibition and a screening of short films will be hosted on the day, in line with this year’s youth theme, to which we also invite you to attend.

We would be pleased to have you as our guest and hope that you can join us in honoring and encouraging youth humanitarian action.

Please find more information and other parts of the Geneva campaign at