World Humanitarian Day (WHD) Message Reaches 1 Billion

The message “I Was Here” was chosen to show how people care for others and can leave their footprint on the humanitarian...

Dubai helps spread humanitarian message to 1 billion

Sajila Saseendran | [email protected]

21 August 2012: On the first day of Eid Al Fitr, the emirate of Dubai, known for its humanitarian initiatives, became part of one of the largest humanitarian campaigns in the world.

It has reached out to over one billion people through social media.

Celebrated on August 19, the United Nation’s (UN) initiative World Humanitarian Day (WHD) honours humanitarian workers who risk their lives to help people who suffer due to calamities, conflicts and hunger. Initiated in 2008, the WHD public outreach campaign also urges everyone to help others in their daily lives in whatever way they can, big or small.

Thousands of people, who were celebrating the festival of giving at the foot of the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, in Downtown Dubai, witnessed the screening of a WHD special video at the Burj Steps on Sunday evening.

The music video by Beyoncé, titled “I Was Here”, was part of the WHD celebrations that aimed at reaching out to one billion people, on one day, with one message.

The video was recorded during the live performance of Beyoncé held at the UN General Assembly in New York on August 10 to inspire people to leave their mark on the world and say “I Was Here”.

The message “I Was Here” was chosen to show how people care for others and can leave their footprint on the humanitarian world. The message was to spread positivity among the mankind by doing something good to someone, somewhere. A special screening of the Beyonce’s video, along with visuals showing humanitarian efforts across the world, was held on public screens in Geneva, New York and Dubai on Sunday as the message was sent out to over a billion online “connections” of people and organisations who supported the cause.

On Monday, the UN said the social reach of the message stood at 1,132,204,110 people after the successful completion of the event.

“We have already achieved our target of reaching out to one billion people. One of the success factors was celebrating the WHD here in the Burj Steps,” said Khaled Khalifa, head of the UN’s Gulf Office for Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“You see tens of thousands of people moving everywhere and you need to elbow your way to reach the screen,” he told Khaleej Times on Sunday.

“Even if we haven’t reached as many people in the Arab world through social media, we have done it physically here in Dubai today. People who came here to the mall and the fountain saw the film. I’m sure many will go back and will visit the WHD website and try to know more about it. l hope that we can reach a wider audience in the Arab world next year.”

He explained that the WHD message (see below - ED) was sent across to over a billion people by using the online connections of people and organisations, who supported the cause on the WHD website — — using a special technology.

“We wouldn’t have reached this goal without the support of the celebrities around the world, and without the support of people on the social media as everybody counts and every voice counts. And what matters is that… we wanted to send a message that cannot be ignored and we have already achieved that.”

The Dubai event was held under the patronage of UN Messenger of Peace and Chairperson of the International Humanitarian City (IHC) Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai.

The CEO of the IHC, Shaima Al Zarooni, thanked the patron and partners of the Dubai event. “We are happy that Dubai, which has a big role in the humanitarian sector, was an ideal location for conducting this awareness campaign and it happened on the day of Eid when we actually give the needy,” she said.


World Humanitarian Day is a day dedicated to recognize humanitarian personnel and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly as part of a Swedish-sponsored GA Resolution A/63/L.49 on the Strengthening of the Coordination of Emergency Assistance of the United Nations,[1] and set as 19 August. It marks the day on which the then Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 of his colleagues were killed in the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad. ..-Wikipedia



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2012 Theme: "I Was Here"

World Humanitarian Day is a time to recognize those who face danger and adversity in order to help others. The day was designated by the General Assembly to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, which killed 22 UN staff.

Every day humanitarian aid workers help millions of people around the world, regardless of who they are and where they are. World Humanitarian Day is a global celebration of people helping people.

This year’s campaign "I Was Here" is about making your mark by doing something good, somewhere, for someone else.

To show your support for World Humanitarian Day visit



Beyonce Helps World Humanitarian Day Reach 1 Billion


08.20.2012: How do you create a message so powerful, riveting, and inspiring that it reaches one billion people worldwide? For starters, you can enlist the help of an influential superstar, like Beyoncé. Each year, on August 19, the United Nations commemorates the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq with World Humanitarian Day (WHD). This time around, they got help from Mrs. Knowles-Carter, whose Diane Warren-penned ballad, “I Was Here,” provided the soundtrack to the massive, social media initiative.

Beyonce-I-Was-Here-WHD1 (31K)

The megastar’s “1 day, 1 world, 1 message” campaign debuted earlier this month, encouraging people to use social media to pledge one act of kindness, great or small, for another human being on WHD2012. By August 19, over 1 billion people committed to the effort via Facebook and Twitter, topping the original goal by more than 33 million pledges worldwide. Beyoncé even commemorated her participation by shooting visuals for her 4 single during the August 10 session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York (and she stunned in a sequined, white Marc Bouwer gown, no less).

Beyoncé-UN-2 (33K)

Re-live the WHD2012 campaign below and experience Beyoncé’s moving UN performance below. Then, pledge an act of kindness beyond August 19, because doing good is always glam!



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