The theme of International Friendship Day is deepening international friendships. Connecting with those friendships has had to be purely online and may well continue to be for some time. I, for one, miss my far away friends very much and sometimes social media, calls and messaging just aren’t enough. But maybe international friendship can also extend to understanding differing viewpoints, beliefs and perspectives too?
“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.” -Helen Keller
Through friendship: accumulating bonds of camaraderie and developing strong ties of trust — we can also contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve more stability in our world too. We can reach better and stronger understanding. I do miss travel and I miss hearing different perspectives in person too.
The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the United Nations General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. The resolution places emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity.
In this deceptively simple 3-minute talk, Dr. Laura Trice muses on the power of the magic words “thank you” — to deepen a friendship, to repair a bond, to make sure another person knows what they mean to you. Try it.
Maybe, even in these days of limited travel we can do more to strengthen community and understanding. Both where we are in our own communities and also by broadening our understanding of how things might be in other parts of the world. How do we do that when surrounded often by misinformation and a torrent of social media rubbish?
The answer, I believe, lies in creating a stronger connection – opening up our conversations with friends in different places, debate and discuss what is happening and how we are feeling. We can also go out of our way to find good reading material and media that informs rather than divides, that stimulates discussion rather than divides it.