NEED staff visit the UAE

This month I had the opportunity to travel with Stephanie Kinnunen, NEED magazine’s editor in chief, to Dubai in the United Arab of Emirates. NEED had been asked to be a media sponsor for the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development conference (DIHAD).

We gladly agreed to support the cause and packed our bags. Two long flights and many cups of coffee later, we touched down in the Dubai International Airport. After a few days of wandering through souks and enjoying some delicious Middle Eastern food, it was time for the conference.

The DIHAD conference turned out to be great. The three-day event was full of knowledgeable speakers who touched on relevant development and disaster relief issues. DIHAD’s theme this year was “Empowering Communities between disaster and development,” and topics such as the reconstruction plan for Gaza strip, food crisis and global economic downturn were discussed.

Soccer star Clarence Seedorf, who started the organization Champions for Children to empower children through sports activities, gave an interesting speech about the importance of charity work in his life.

I also enjoyed listening to Bekele Geleta, secretary general of the IFRC, speak about the changing world we live in today. He commented that the media is turning our world into a global village and specified ways we can use this development to our advantage. He concluded by encouraging all of us, “In this changing world we must do everything we can. … We know what needs to be done, we have the means to do it and we must not fail.”

Lauren Fischer

Stephanie Kinnunen and Lauren Fischer visit DIHAD.org

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