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A few weeks ago the UN Association of Finland organized a school visitation education in Turku, the purpose of which is to educate volunteers willing to visit schools in order to share information about the UN, its principles, and its goals as a non-governmental organization.
In Finland, UN school visitors can be requested through the UNA of Finland:
School visits are open and available to all kinds of educational institutions and tailored according to the age and interest of the pupils/students. The visit can include general facts about the UN and its activities, or be focused around a specific topic, e.g. the UN Millennium Development Goals 2000.
Founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 states to protect the world from new wars, the UN (United Nations) is the world´s most important co-operational organization. Over the course of the years the UN has of course changed and developed, trying to adjust its operations according to the most important needs and most urgent matters of its member states. In 2013, the UN had 193 member states.
The main goals of the UN are:
– To maintain international peace and security through peaceful means in solving disputes and conflicts
– To develop friendly relations between nations (autonomy and equal rights)
– Generate and accomplish co-operation to solve economical, social, cultural and humanitarian problems
– To advance human rights and their universality
– To serve as a co-operational centre for all nations
According to the principles of the UN, all member nations are plenipotentiary and equal, must fulfill the obligations of the UN Charter, resolve all international conflicts with peaceful means, and help the UN in all actions taken by the UN according to its Charter.
The main bodies of the UN are:
– The General Assembly
– The Security Council
– ECOSOC (the Economic and Social Council)
– The Secretariat
– The International Court of Justice
– The Trusteeship Council
(Sources: Leisma, 2009; printed material produced by the UN Association of Finland).
The previously mentioned UN Millennium Development Goals 2000 are:
1. Eradication of extreme hunger and poverty
2. Achievement of Universal Primary Education
3. Promotion of Gender Equality and Empowering Women
4. Reduction of Child Mortality
5. Improvement of Maternal Health
6. Combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other Diseases
7. Ensuring Environmental Sustainability
8. Global Partnership for Development
(Source: UNA printed material, UN Millennium Development Goals website, quoted 16.4.2014).
Wide-ranged and large goals, but perfectly achievable with commitment from all UN member nations.
Are we close to achieving these goals, or have we already achieved some of them?
I will discuss each of these goals separately in my upcoming posts, with facts and personal thoughts.
People sometimes ask me about the secret behind my success. Me? Successful? Wow, thank you for your confidence. I bet we all have admirers, people who respect and value what we do, and some people who would like to be like us. Many of us love inspirational quotes, sayings that have a positive impact upon our thoughts. Here are some of my favorite quotes about success:
“Success comes to those who dedicate everything to their passion in life. To be successful, it is also very important to be humble and never let fame or money travel to your head”.
“Success is not a destination, but the road that you’re on. Being successful means that you’re working hard and walking your walk every day. You can only live your dream by working hard towards it. That’s living your dream”.
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will”.
Further on, Elite Daily has listed 10 traits of extremely successful people (as follows):
– Successful people work very hard
– Successful people are very curious, and always eager to learn
– Successful people network
– Successful people always work on themselves
– Successful people are extraordinarily creative
– Successful people are self-reliant and take responsibility
– Successful people are relaxed and keep their perspective
– Successful people live in the present moment
– Successful people respond instantly
– Successful people never quit
(EliteDaily.com. The 10 Traits of Extremely Successful People. Quoted 8.9.2014).
From my perspective, success is ALWAYS a personal experience. When you focus on your own thing, and doing what feels right to you, you will feel a whole lot more successful than following in someone else´s footsteps. Believe me, find your life purpose, and follow your passion, and you will feel successful.
Why is it so important to listen to your inner guidance?
When you listen to your inner voice, intuition, instead of focusing on external issues in order to just have a lot of “bling, bling” in your life, you will feel grateful instead of empty.
There is no one single recipe for success, but here is some further advice:
– Always have a goal in mind, but also remember to enjoy the journey on the path of your life destiny.
– Stay true to yourself, but always respect (and listen to) others.
– Be prepared for failures as well, since they are a part of your success. Success is often 99 % perspiration and 1 % inspiration.
– When you study other successful people, try to see behind the facade. We often do not realize how much effort these people have put into becoming so successful. Success does not come over night, although it sometimes may seem so.
Many blessings to you on your successful life journey.
“For a successful entrepreneur it can mean extreme wealth. But with extreme wealth comes extreme responsibility. And the responsibility for me is to invest in creating new businesses, create jobs, employ people, and to put money aside to tackle issues where we can make a difference”.
The old saying “Rome was not built in one day” actually means that all things take time to create, and great things like the city of Rome take a very long time. Therefore, we should not expect to accomplish something or achieve success immediately. Having patience is extremely important.
Is time man-made?
Some arguments about time:
– Time is the ongoing sequence of events taking place, including the past, present and future.
– Time is measured using seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, and light years.
– From the age of Newton up until Einstein, time was considered to be absolute and to flow equably. In his special theory of relativity, Einstein postulated the constancy and finiteness of the speed of light, showing that there is a requirement for distances to appear compressed and time intervals appear lengthened. (andersoninstitute.com. Definition of Time. Quoted 13.8.2014).
– The concept of time, including daytime and nighttime, has always existed.
– Time is made up of motion and distance, both of which are illusions since the physical world is not real.
– Time in terms of a clock itself is not only unreal, but unhealthy. Natural time (tide moving in and out, the wax and wane of the moon, sunrise and set, etc.) is normal, but cannot actually be made to fit a clock anyway.
What do you think about these arguments/definitions?
The next time you feel irritated or under pressure due to time-related matters, ask yourself how significant the issue is in terms of years, decades, centuries, or even light years. Also think about, and get familiar with, how time is being valued in cultures other than your own.
Admitted – there are many situations in life and work places that require immediate attention, and fast reaction (at least in the Western World). For example, think about acute emergencies, crisis situations, catastrophes, where fast and professional procedure in managing the situation is of out most importance.
A few years ago I read a book called “In Praise of Slowness – Challenging the Cult of Speed”, written by Carl Honoré. (http://www.carlhonore.com/books/in-praise-of-slowness/)
The book is about the world being stuck in fast-forward, and about the rise of a Slow Movement.
Description of the Slow Movement by C. Honoré:
“The Slow Movement is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting”.
According to the philosophy, we need a Slow Movement because ever since everything has been getting faster, we now seem to be addicted to speed, where each moment of the day is like a race against the clock. Many of us live in a road runner culture which has gone so far that it is visible in what should be the most important asset of our personal lives: our HEALTH.
Signs of accelerated speed:
– Courses in Speed Yoga and Speed Meditation are available these days.
– Many of us are trying to hurry up relationships by connecting with as many people as possible, and forgetting about the quality while focusing on quantity.
– Speed Dating, where singles spend three minutes with a high number of other singles choosing who could be a suitable romantic partner.
– Constant busyness: it is culturally accepted and seen as a positive sign that you are busy.
Symptoms of living too fast:
– Constant tiredness.
– Feeling like a robot accomplishing tasks and just getting through things on your To-Do list without really being engaged in what you do.
– Feeling of racing through your life instead of living it.
– Getting frustrated and annoyed if things do not happen instantly or in the way/at the speed you want them to happen.
(carlhonore.com. Quoted 13.8.2014).
If you recognize these signs and symptoms in your life:
Some benefits of slowing down:
– Positive physiological reactions
– Increased productivity.
– You start seeing the wood for the trees (instead of living like a robot, you will find what is purposeful and what is not so important).
– Quality becomes more important than quantity.
– The term “life in years” becomes more important. Living a life filled with meaningfulness and joy is important.
– Instead of seeking merely external pleasures, it is possible to find internal peace.
– You radiating internal peace and well-being will have positive influence on everything.
“When you slow down, step back a moment and put things in perspective,
you can then move on with more efficiency.”
What are the proportions of giving and taking in your life?
Take some time to reflect upon each and one of your relationships, do some notes if necessary, and think about the results. What do you see?
Are you predominantly a giver? Or a taker?
Don’t worry if you are out of balance in giving and taking – there are ways of correcting the situation. Focus on what is purposeful, listen to your intuition, and first then decide, whether continuing the giving is the right thing to do (this means, if you are in a situation where you are constantly giving without getting anything in return).
As in Chinese philosophy, giving and taking need to be in balance in order to create harmony.
We need to value oppositions and contrary forces, since:
– There is no light without darkness
– There is no high without any low
– There is no hot without any cold
– There is no masculinity without femininity
– There is no ying without the yang
– There is no ebb without any flood
However, we also need to be aware of the fact that the world is not only black and white, but a colorful place with as many perspectives upon life as there are people. More than seven billion people on Earth, and there is no one exactly identical to you. We are all unique; something worth thinking about the next time you might not be feeling happy about yourself.
As a giver, as you probably are if you are reading this, just think about what a wonderful quality it is. Giving, and being a giver, has been proven to increase the level of satisfaction in a person’s life. Think about a situation where you have helped someone out, or given them something without asking for anything in return. How did that make you feel?
Being a giver is extremely good for your health, and for building successful relationships. Through giving and being generous, you can win people’s hearts.
It is also important to keep in mind the limits for your giving, and who you are giving to:
– What is the purpose of your giving?
– Is this particular giving worthwhile?
– Do(es) this person/these persons/community deserve your continuous giving?
– Do you receive anything in return for your sacrifices?
– If you give in a relationship, but never receive anything in return, could you by chance redirect your energy towards something more lucrative?
Giving is more important than taking, but in order to live a perfectly balanced life you, as a giver, must be open to receiving as well.
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier”.
The following video by Give and Take- author Adam Grant gives us further insight into what it means to be a giver in a long-term perspective:
“Someday when scientists discover the center of the universe, many people are going to be disappointed to find out it isn´t them”.
By shifting the focus from ourselves towards other people, and by expressing appreciation even in the toughest moments, we can be certain of a positive, or at least neutral, outcome in any relationship. Why not try it out sometime? Politeness does not cost us anything.
Quoting Dr. Wayne W. Dyer:
“Let go of your ego’s need to be right. When you’re in the middle of an argument, ask yourself: Do I want to be right or be happy? When you choose the joyous, loving, spiritual mode, your connection to intention is strengthened”.
How do you express your gratitude to people in your life?
Do you think thankfulness is a waste of time or do you praise even the negativity surrounding you, transferring it into positivity with your personal attitude?
77 Ways of Expressing Appreciation and saying thank you:
1. Thanks a ton!
2. Thank you.
3. Wow, thank you!
4. You are amazing!
5. You made my day!
6. What you did was extraordinary.
7. Thank you for being a source of inspiration.
8. You, my friend, are a star!
9. I could never have done this without you.
10. Universe wouldn´t be the same without you.
11. Heaven must have sent you.
12. You, my dear, are an Angel upon Earth!
13. You taught me a wonderful lesson.
14. Thank you for being my teacher.
15. You have helped me become a better person.
16. You should become nominated for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.
17. Your Aura is spreading light even in the darkest of hours.
18. You are the Zen Master of my life.
19. Has anyone ever said you are a Genius?
20. You are the Master of the Universe.
21. You definitely bring out the best in others.
22. You rock!
23. In your presence, even faded flowers come alive.
24. You make the world go round.
25. You make the world a beautiful place to be.
26. Your smile is contagious.
27. In your presence, breathing is easy.
29. I owe you.
30. Someday, I hope to become as great as you are.
31. I am not flattering you, I am just being honest: you are fantastic!
32. I am proud to have you as my friend/partner/colleague…
34. You are completing me/our team/the Earth…
35. Mahalo nui.
36. You opened my eyes, thank you.
38. I am deeply indebted to you.
39. Gratias tibi ago.
40. Your invaluable contribution is very highly appreciated.
41. I want to express my heartfelt acknowledgement for your contribution.
42. How do you exercise that kindness muscle of yours?
43. You are a life-buoy!
45. Even the greatest philanthropists would turn pale alongside of you.
46. May I become a member of your fan club?
47. It takes pressure to create a diamond like you.
48. You´ve probably worked hard to become the diamond you are today.
49. What is the secret behind your success?
50. Asante sana.
51. You are one of a kind.
52. I´d be happy to know the recipe behind your uniqueness.
53. Mange tak.
54. What kind of a DNA does it take to produce someone like you?
55. Danke sehr!
56. Köszönöm szépen!
57. Kia ora.
59. Merci mille fois!
61. Muchas gracias.
64. Takk fyrir!
66. Takk skal du ha!
67. Grazie mille!
68. Words are not enough to express my gratitude.
69. Muito obrigada/o!
70. Дзякую вам.
71. You can also send a thank you card, a flower, or what is appropriate.
72. Terima kasih banyak.
73. Thank you for kicking my butt!
74. If you cannot think of anything to say, just smile.
75. If you, for some reason, are incapable of smiling, give the person a hug instead.
76. Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow. Thank you for sharing joy!
77. You must be one of the new miracles of the world!
Now it´s your turn! Think about different ways of thanking someone, and showing appreciation. I am sure you can come up with some pretty creative ideas. Imagination is allowed.
Global Finland, communication unit for development of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, arranged a summer school day in Pori on July 16th, 2014.
Agenda of the day:
10-10:15 a.m. Opening
Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto and rap artist Signmark
10:15-11:15 a.m. Can Climate Catastrophe Be Avoided?
Rachel Kyte, The World Bank
Jukka Uosukainen, UNEP
Kaisa Kosunen, Greenpeace
1) Why is democracy needed? Demo
2) Human rights and taxes in developing countries – The ABC of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). SASK and FinnWatch.
3) The World Post 2015. UNA of Finland and UN Youth of Finland.
13:00-13:25 A World of Conflicts – Is Peace a Utopian Dream?
Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto
1) Somalia/Finn Church Aid actalliance
2) Syria and exile/Red Cross Finland
3) Middle East/CMI (Crisis Management Initiative/Martti Ahtisaari Centre)
15:00-16:30 New Challenges of Finland´s Foreign Policy
Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja,
Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto,
Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Leena Toivakka, and
Researcher Hiski Haukkala. The discussion was lead by Press Counsellor Leena Brandt.
Can Climate Catastrophe Be Avoided?
Notes taken based upon the discussion:
– In terms of Climate Technology, a positive signal is that technologies are available, although we are running out of time.
– The public sectors and governments must take the initiative, but of course also the private sector and corporations need to take action.
– A New Green Economy (renewable energy sources) is emerging, and the time of negotiations is hectic at the UNEP which is also serving developing countries, and (thanks to which) whole new bodies have been found in order to accelerate development.
– Implementation must be taken care of quickly, all over the world, since we are running out of time.
– Climate change has to be fought against in order to assure prosperity for everyone.
– In the past 20 years, remarkable improvements have been made in terms of pollution control (see e.g. OzonAction Programme).
– Incentives must be taken in the economy, both on macro and micro levels. Currently not even the G20 discuss the topic enough. The IMF and finance ministers of the world do discuss to some extent, although not enough.
– NGO ́s need to create change and pressure.
– The coal boom of China is coming to an end faster than thought since people understand their need of clean air.
– The trends of alternative energy sources are amazing, and costs are coming down fast. The amount of wind energy worldwide has tripled in a short period of time, and solar energy is now used tenfold.
– Paris 2015 deal? => End of fossil fuel era? The breakthrough of renewables is now unstoppable.
– Consumers can create pressure by expressing their opinions, and providing politicians with constructive feedback. Networks can be helpful when communicating needs. There are many ways of influencing.
– There are many new faces in the climate scene throughout societies.
– Change can be made visible through education. Long-term decisions need to be made NOW. Children can also teach their parents e.g. in terms of recycling. Students change their own schools and universities through demanding renewables.
– Correct choices must be made in politics, although e.g. in Finland there are not so many environmentalists in the parliament. However, more and more climate groups exist on a national level and people are more busy acting than debating.
– EU 2030: More radical actions needed.
– Business coalitions (e.g. Richard Branson ́s coalition of companies).