Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happy "International Day of Democracy"

Today is the "International Day of Democracy."  This year’s Day falls just days before the start of the three-day summit at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, where world leaders will measure progress toward the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals.  The MDG's (as they are sometimes called) are eight  targets against poverty, hunger, disease and other social and economic ills.

If the International Day of Democracy is not on your calendar, don't worry too much.  It's a relatively new day, and this is only the third time that it is being celebrated. In case you are wondering about the history of this day, the U.N. General Assembly declared the Day to commemorate the 1997 adoption by the Inter-Parliamentary Union of the Universal Declaration on Democracy.

It is being celebrated in some countries around the world.  A UN press release tells us that the day was marked in the fledgling nation of Timor-Leste with a speech contest for high school students.  More than 145 students competed in the competition, which asked them to answer this question:  “As a citizen of Timor-Leste, what does democracy mean to you?”

Come to think of it, that's a question we would all benefit from answering.


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