MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL
“On 21 May, the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, UNESCO encourages people around the world to join us in celebrating cultural diversity, and advocating for ways to protect and promote it in their own communities. In this way, all will be included and no one will be left behind.”
— Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
According to the United Nations, three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension. Bridging the gap between cultures is urgent and necessary for peace, stability and development. Cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only with respect to economic growth but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life. This is captured in the seven culture conventions, which provide a solid basis for the promotion of cultural diversity. Cultural diversity is thus an asset that is indispensable for poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable development.
This is one of my favorite American theme days. National Napping Day is always observed the day after the return of Daylight Saving Time. National napping day is so welcome after springing forward an hour. I miss that hour I “lost.”
Basically, the 2 o’clock hour went away Sunday morning, March 10. I am never prepared to sacrifice that hour. Are you?
Napping is beneficial and here are a few facts to back that up. These facts are from the website http://www.holidayscalendar.com/event/napping-day/.
- Naps around 20 or 30 minutes are best for improved short-term alertness.
- Napping three times a week results in a 37 percent decrease in heart-related deaths.
- Naps can improve performance by 34 percent.
- In Ancient Rome, it was common to take a nap after lunch.
- Sixty million Americans are sleep-deprived at any one time.
- Humans are the only mammals to plan or delay naps.
- Just thinking about a nap can lower blood pressure.
- Most mammals nap.
The Mayo Clinic recommends taking naps in the early afternoon. For me, that is a perfect time. My early afternoons in Rome, Italy, were the best. Siesta time. What is there not to like about a siesta? I tried incorporating them into my work life in the United States. I was, however, unsuccessful. Management smiled when I mentioned it and agreed siestas are nice then handed me extra work.
If you do try to nap on the job in the United States and get caught, you might get fired. Not so in Japan. There, it is commonplace to sleep on the job and furthermore, it is acceptable.
In Japan, it is called “inemuri,” according to Bryant Rousseau in his article “Napping in Public? That’s a Sign of Diligence in Japan,” that appeared in “The New York Times.”
“It is often translated as ‘sleeping on duty,'” Rousseau wrote. He added that “Brigitte Steger, a senior lecturer in Japanese studies at Downing College Cambridge, England, says it would be more accurate to render it as ‘sleeping while present.'”
Some of my fellow New York City subway riders will be happy to learn it is acceptable and common to sleep on commuter trains in Japan. Rousseau added, “It helps that Japan has a very low crime rate.”
Maybe it is not good to fall asleep on public transit in the United States or other countries, but a nap, in a private place, can refresh and rejuvenate you.
All this talk about napping is making it hard to keep my eyes open. I am reaching for my blanket and fluffy pillow right now. Oops, let me hide my smartphone. Zzz.
Image, “The Hammock,” painting by Gustave Courbet, Wikimedia Commons.
Photo: “Purrfect Cat Nap,” https://animals.desktopnexus.com/wallpaper/599030/.
Photo: “A Mid Station Nap,” by Ian Spence, Wikimedia Commons.
“Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”
Statement for International Women’s Day by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women
Date: Wednesday, March 6, 2019
At a time when innovation is dominant, shaping and changing the way people live in every part of the world, we have to be intentional about its use to positively impact the lives of women and girls. That means making sure they are not only consumers of innovation, but take their place as innovators. With their engagement, both design and execution of solutions can address the unique needs of women and girls, from the creation of decent work to delivery of products, services and infrastructure for women in all walks of life. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” puts innovation at the centre of efforts to reflect the needs and viewpoints of women and girls and to resolve barriers to public services and opportunities.
The first week of March is “Words Matter Week” and March 4 is “National Grammar Day.” This is probably important to me and maybe 12 other writers/editors.
Here are a few bon mots in honor of the day and week —
Today, October 11, and every day stand with girls everywhere. The theme for 2018 is, “With her: a skilled girl force.” From the UN Women website, “The 1.1 billion girls of today’s world are challenging the status quo. They’re redefining girlhood and doing so against the odds.”
Photos: UN women, 2018