World Humanitarian Day

19 August is World Humanitarian Day.

Image by Andrew Price from Pixabay

The annual commemoration marks a tragedy:

On 19 August 2003, we lost 22 colleagues in an attack on the United Nations in Baghdad, Iraq. The tragedy profoundly changed the way in which humanitarians operate – from being respected, to being targeted – and led to the creation of World Humanitarian Day (WHD).

Today, 20 years on, our work has grown in scale and complexity. We aim to help almost 250 million people – 10 times more people than in 2003.


Out of tragedy, good things can emerge.

It is my privilege to know many people who do their bit to help others: women, refugees, detainees, children, convalescents, palliative care, disempowered and dispossessed others.

Thank you to them all. I draw inspiration from their example, and I hope that others do as well.

“Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.” (Schindler’s List, 1982).

Today, and every day, let’s do something to help our fellow humans (and other living/sentient beings), and to make the world a better place for our having been a part of it. Our personal journey is finite, but we can contribute to a larger story.

Leaving a legacy of having saved or helped others, increasing the sum total of love and compassion in the Universe – surely there is no greater legacy or form of immortality.

My own recent work includes being a volunteer Board member of Humanity in Need – Rainbow Refugees – please donate here to save a life or alleviate suffering.

I also invite people to inform me of their own efforts and noble causes. Let’s make every day a World Humanitarian Day.

©2023 Geoff Allshorn