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Friendship in times of COVID-19

By Maria Weldali - Jul 29,2020 - Last updated at Jul 29,2020

AMMAN — The International Day of Friendship, which falls annually on July 30, presents itself this year within coronavirus-related challenges, highlighting the importance of unity, solidarity and security, in addition to promoting a culture of peace.

Proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2011, World Friendship Day stems from the idea that friendship between persons, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. 

Therefore the resolution puts emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity, according to the UN website.

“Our world faces many challenges, crises and forces of division — such as poverty, violence and human rights abuses — among many others — that undermine peace, security, development and social harmony among the world’s peoples,” the UN website said. 

“To confront those crises and challenges, their root causes must be addressed by promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity that takes many forms — the simplest of which is friendship.”

Marking this day, the UN encourages governments, international organisations and civil society groups to hold events, activities and initiatives that contribute to the efforts of the international community towards promoting a dialogue among civilisations, solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation.

Ala Ratab, 22, told The Jordan times over the phone on Wednesday that there could always be new ways to celebrate World Friendship Day, whether it is by gifting each other colourful friend bands, exchanging heartfelt messages or by simply planning an outing.

“People could safely have their close friends over,” Ratab said. 

During this unprecedented crisis which obliged citizens in Jordan and around the world to stay confined to their homes, people “have really missed catching up with their close friends”, especially given that “this relationship which I consider to be sacred” teaches people to love, care and most importantly to have respect for each other, Ratab added.

Bayan Hatem, 22, said that her friends, especially those from childhood, have influenced her life in many ways and they helped her feel better during the lockdown.

“During the lockdown, my besties and I had a girls’ night on every Thursday and it was really fun and helpful for each one of us,” Hatem told The Jordan Times.

“Through friendship we can contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good,” the UN website said.

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