On 27 October UNACTO celebrated UN Day—officially held every 24 October—with special guest, Reverend Paul Morris, the last remaining Canadian soldier to have witnessed the signing of the 1945 UN Charter by Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. The 73rd UN Day: Be the Change Celebration was open to the public and participants in attendance were encouraged to expand their capacity to address current and future development challenges and place national and provincial strategies in a global context. It also provided a valuable networking opportunity for to attendees to engage with fellow Global Citizens. The event began with opening remarks by UNACTO President Jasmine Jackman. After presenting the organization's initiatives and mission, Ms. Jackman introduced Reverend Paul Morris by the showing of a video of himself recounting this historical event. Mr. Morris' talk focused on the transformative power of the world and how the UN has played a great role. "We have to make room for new ideas," he said, encouraging global action.
Following the interactive dialogue with set of questions, Mr. Morris concluded with a set of presentations of real world cases describing new and noteworthy initiatives relevant to the conference theme, specifically on youth involvement and peace building. He even shared a story about getting the chance to meet Albert Einstein. This second briefing offered an overview of the UN's International Decade for People of African Descent presented by Christine Dikongue, the UNACTO Youth & Education Co-Chair. This an introduction to our second guest, Babarinde Williams, an Ethnomusicologist and African Historian who had a special interactive performance to share.
'’Drums play major roles in the life of every culture of the world. They bring rhythm to every society. A culture without rhythm and drumming is like a tree with no roots’’, he said, telling the story of Nigeria and Emperor Sundiata Keita from Mali. Mr. Williams involved attendees in his performance by teaching them how to create a drum beat from their own sentences and stories.
At the conclusion of the event, Ms. Jackman conveyed her gratitude to all participants. She expressed her satisfaction with the interactive nature of the discussions while congratulating participants on the extensive networking that had taken place, which she hoped would continue going forward.
Photos by Yazan Kalaldeh / UNACTO