UN Staff in South Africa Celebrate the First Ever International Day of Yoga

22 June 2015

Adopted this year by the General Assembly and designated to be commemorated on the 21 June every year, UNIC Pretoria in conjunction with the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) organised a session on “Introduction to Yoga” at the UNIC Library on 22 June to commemorate the UN first ever International Day of Yoga. 

Herve Ludovic de Lys, Country Director, UNICEF, welcomed the staff members and read the Secretary-General’s message. Rajendra Joshi, Chief Security Advisor; UNDSS gave a brief speech on the historical background of Yoga, then screened a two-minutes video clip on basic Yoga positions and world celebrities who have practiced Yoga, followed by, a 45 minutes video of Sadguru showing different aspects of Yoga, its benefits and practice. Priti Joshi (An ISHA Yoga volunteer) further led the audience through a video presentation of basic Yoga positions and techniques. After a brief question–answer session, staff volunteered to demonstrate basic Yoga positions and motions with instructions from Rajendra and Priti Josh. Staff enjoyed the exercises, felt refreshed, excited and expressed interest to engage further in Yoga lifestyle as part of their healthy living. 

At the end, Herve Ludovic de Lys thanked participants for taking part in the event and encouraged everyone to take up Yoga practice to help themselves to harmonize the body-brain-soul and the overall wellbeing of life. 

First Ever International Day of Yoga held in Dhaka

21 June 2015

The Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre of the Indian High Commission jointly with UN System in Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Yoga Association organized the first ever International Day of Yoga at the National Museum Auditorium in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 21 June. Mr Gowher Rizvi, the International Affairs Adviser of the Honourable Prime Minister was chief guest while the UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, Mr Robert Watkins, and the Indian High Commissioner, Mr Pankaj Saran, spoke on the occasion as special guests. A live yoga demonstration was performed by the yoga students. A video on Yoga was screened before the audience and a photo exhibition was also arranged at the National Museum premises. UNIC Dhaka coordinated the yoga day events. 

The broadcast media including TV channels covered the yoga day event in Bangladesh with high importance.

UNIC Dhaka has also uploaded a video compilation on YouTube.

Commemoration of the International Day of Yoga

21 June 2015

UNIC Manama joined the Indian Embassy of Bahrain, The Art of Living Foundation Bahrain Chapter, the Middle East Medical Centre (MEM) and Bahrain Keraleeya Samajam in commemorating the International Day of Yoga. The celebrations which took place on 21 June at the Bahrain Keraleeya Samajam Auditorium in Segaya, kicked off with an interactive yoga and meditation session that was attended by a large number of people. 

This was followed by a press conference to further shed light on the importance and benefits of Yoga which involved the participation of the Acting Director of UNIC Manama Samir Aldarabi, Mr Ram Singh, First Secretary of the Indian Embassy, Dr Akbar Jaffari, Chief Executive of JAFCON, Dr Spyridon Trous, Medical Services Manager of Bahrain Petroleum Co (BAPCO), Dr Ravi Preet Singh, Chief Executive Officer of the Middle East Medical Centre and Ms Fatima Al-Mansoori, Yoga Therapist and Lifestyle Management Coach. 

Mr Aldarabi expressed his appreciation to the organizers of the event and shed light on the UN’s decision to proclaim 21 June as the International Day of Yoga following the address of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly. Mr Aldarabi further delivered the Message of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the International Day of Yoga and drew attention to the fact that Yoga offered a simple, accessible and inclusive means to promote physical and spiritual health and well-being and also promoted respect for one’s fellow human beings and for the planet we share.

Press Conference for the outgoing Resident Coordinator in Namibia

19 June 2015

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek hosted a press conference in Windhoek at the UN House announcing the departure of the current United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative to Namibia, H.E. Mr. Musinga T. Bandora. Originally from Tanzania, the Resident Coordinator took up office in Namibia during January 2012.

UNIC Windhoek organized the entire event, coordinating interviews, handling enquiries and preparing media press kits. UNIC Windhoek’s National Information Officer, Ms. Anthea Basson moderated the press event. The press conference was well attended by the mainstream print, television and radio media channels in Namibia. Mr.Bandora’s last day at the UN in Namibia will be 30 June 2015.

At the press conference, Mr. Musinga Bandora noted that “It has been a privilege and honour to the serve the UN in Namibia, working in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Namibia to address pertinent issues related to the country’s national development.” Bandora’s successor, Ms. Anita Kiki Gbeho is scheduled to take up the reigns of her new portfolio on 19 July 2015.

Key milestones achieved during Bandora’s tenure as Resident Coordinator in Namibia include the adoption of UNPAF (United Nations Development Partnership Framework) 2014 – 2018, a comprehensive blueprint providing the context and content of UN work in the country. Bandora was instrumental to the process wherein the Secretary General of the United Nations, H.E. Ban Ki Moon undertook an official visit to Namibia for the official inauguration of the UN House in Namibia.

His focus on building, fostering and maintaining strategic partnerships for the successful implementation of UNPAF has also facilitated the creation of platforms for regular stakeholder engagements between the diplomatic corps, development partners, the UN and the National Planning Commission, where imperative dialogue occurred to drive the development agenda forward. These discussions initiated by Bandora ensure the synchronisation and joint resource mobilisation among development partners, enhancing the impact and results and ensuring alignment with the National Development Plan.

Bandora’s public engagement has seen him frequently deliver public lectures, addressing topical issues such as the transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Agenda. These lectures highlighted an analysis and recommendations on the post 2015 agenda and the crucial role of African countries.

As the UN commemorates its 70th Anniversary – Bandora reflects on the UN’s history in Namibia since 1990, where the UN supported the country to address poverty reduction, agriculture and food security, good governance and human rights, education, health and HIV/AIDS, environment, emergencies and refugees among others. This support continues to this day, and as he takes stock of the UN’s enduring achievements in Namibia, it is an opportunity to call upon the UN in Namibia to continue on its mission for the UN, ‘Delivering as One’ to use its expertise to champion and support interventions aimed at addressing economic and social inequalities thus contributing to prosperity, dignity, peace and full realization of human rights.

“I firmly believe that I have made a significant contribution to the strong foundation which will enable the UN in Namibia to be the leading partner in Namibia’s pursuit of its national development vision and goals consistent with internationally agreed standards and norms,” Bandora concluded.

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