In the afternoon of 19 August, 2003, a bomb attack on the United Nations headquarters in Iraq killed 22 humanitarian aid workers and injured more than 150 others. Paying tribute to the victims of the attack, the United Nations designated 19 August of each year as World Humanitarian Day, to honour the invaluable service of aid workers who labour under the ever-present risk of harm to deliver aid to those in need.  

In 2023, driven by the climate emergency, protracted conflict, and global economic turmoil, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has reached an historic high of 360 million, or one in 23 – and as humanitarian need rises, so too does the scale, complexity, and danger of humanitarian operations. So, the campaign for World Humanitarian Day 2023, marking the 20th anniversary of the tragedy, is a reaffirmation of commitment to the fundamental principles of humanitarianism: to alleviate suffering, single-mindedly, unconditionally, and without any ulterior motive, “no matter who, no matter where and #NoMatterWhat”. 

 Reaffirming Griffith’s commitment to World Humanitarian Day, discover the stories of Griffith alumni who have been recognised for their humanitarian work: 

  • Dr Nora Amath, finalist in the 2017 Australian of the Year Awards, is an educator, author, human rights advocate, interfaith leader and community developer. Find open access versions of Dr Amath’s research on Griffith Research Online. 
  • Dr Mubashar Hasan, Griffith Business School’s 2021 Outstanding International Alumnus, is a globally-recognised expert on matters of countering violent extremism, freedom of speech, and authoritarianism. Find open access versions of Dr Hasan’s research on Griffith Research Online. 
  • Beny Bol OAM, President of the Queensland African Communities Council, works closely with the justice system using restorative justice principles to influence positive community behaviour. In 2021 Beny received an OAM for service to youth. 
  • Dr Ajitha Naidu Sugnanam, dentist and Royal Australian Air Force squadron leader, has treated hundreds of patients and imparted her knowledge of dentistry in a multitude of teaching roles while volunteering in Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, and India.  
  • Zhariff Afandi, Griffith Health’s 2020 Outstanding International Alumnus, has used his academic background in developmental psychology to develop socially responsible initiatives and coordinate humanitarian relief efforts both locally and internationally,

Discover Griffith’s open access research on humanitarian aid through Griffith Research Online: 

Search Griffith Research Online for more on these topics. 

Griffith University is proud to produce world-class research contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. 

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