Graceful in New York City: #ShareHumanity


Outside the United Nations Building in NYC, photo by Lisa Niver
Outside the United Nations Building in NYC, photo by Lisa Niver

On September 11, 2015, I was in New York City. I walked around the city and remembered how I had been in NYC on September 11, 2001. I was grateful that my family and I were okay on that day years ago and now.

The travel company I was working for in 2001 went bankrupt within two weeks of September 11 and while I lost my job, I was grateful as things could have been worse.

As I begin the ninth travel writing contest on We Said Go Travel, I am truly grateful for all the amazing support for the website and for me. Thank you for your support and participation. It has been truly a gift.

I hope you will consider sharing one of your stories in the current contest. In honor of September 11, I want to share about an incredible story that happened that day and about people who share hope all year long and were recognized on World Humanitarian Day.

Colombus Circle, New York City September 11, 2015
Columbus Circle, New York City September 11, 2015

10,500 passengers from diverted flights were in Gander, Canada on September 11, 2001. One flight decided to honor how they had been cared for by the people of Gander and started a “trust fund now at more than $1.5 million and has assisted 134 students in college education…I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a faraway place were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them. It reminds me how much good there is in the world.”

View of Central Park from the Mandarin Oriental September 11, 2015
View of Central Park from the Mandarin Oriental September 11, 2015

World Humanitarian Day  is a day to recognize the work done by humanitarian workers around the world and an opportunity to remember those who have given their lives in the service of humanitarian causes. #ShareHumanity is a global digital storytelling campaign designed by the United Nations and partners to mark World Humanitarian Day 2015. See some of the tweets by United Nations as well as Richard Branson,  Cody Simpson and Shay Mitchell.

“We’re calling on the young and digitally-connected to help us push out these compelling stories and give a voice to the voiceless,” said Stephen O’Brien, UN Humanitarian Chief. “Young people often ask me what they can do to help and I believe we have a shared responsibility to raise awareness and help to inspire humanity on these global issues.”

The #ShareHumanity campaign hopes to build momentum towards the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, set to take place in Istanbul next May, where heads of state, business leaders, civil society representatives, humanitarian workers and ordinary people will set in motion an agenda to better respond to and reach the tens of millions of people around the world facing life-threatening crises.

United Nations, September 11, 2015
United Nations, September 11, 2015

August 19 marks the anniversary of the 2003 United Nations Headquarters bombing in Baghdad that claimed the lives of 22 people. In an effort to raise awareness of humanitarian assistance worldwide – and the people who risk their lives to provide it – the United Nations General Assembly in 2008 designated August 19 as World Humanitarian Day.

United Nations and partners reported that more than half a billion Facebook and Twitter feeds participated in this show of support. “On this World Humanitarian Day, I urge everyone to show solidarity as global citizens by signing up to the #ShareHumanity campaign,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, at a special event on the eve of World Humanitarian Day. “By donating your social media feeds for just one day you can promote humanitarian action and help to give a voice to the voiceless by sharing their stories of crisis, hope and resilience.”

Choose to share your story. One person can make a difference and start a scholarship in Gander or tweet about World Humanitarian Day or enter the Gratitude Travel Writing Contest. Just begin today.


Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

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