Friendship is important in all cultures of the world. When friendship can be fostered between two people of different groups or countries, it can build a foundation to create understanding and peace between their countries in the future. With this belief in mind, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed July 30 each year to be the International Day of Friendship. They also intended for the day to support the objectives of some of their other initiatives, such as those of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, and of the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010).
On this day, the United Nations encourages governments, international organizations, and other groups to hold events that promote dialogue among civilizations, understanding, solidarity, and reconciliation. Many countries hold friendship-related events, and education and public awareness-raising activities. One focus is on involving those who will become the future leaders—young people—in community activities that "promote international understanding and respect for diversity." If those diverse friendships can be built, then the participants' respective countries and the world will benefit for years to come.
On a personal level, focus on your own friendships. How have they sustained you in the past, and what can you do to strengthen them now? How have your friendships helped you see the world in new ways? Have they helped you build empathy and understanding with those of different backgrounds? Today is a good day to reach out to friends you cherish to reinvigorate your friendship. It is also an ideal day to connect with people you do not know in order to build new friendships.
Many countries hold friendship-related events and you could check to see if any are happening near you. Some activities focus on education and public awareness raising. Many events also work to bring young people together in diverse settings.