For a number of reasons and in many ways, 2009 was a year in which boundaries -- visible to some, yet devastatingly inhibiting to all -- were transcended. It was a year of hope and inspiration and a year in which Life threw us a few curve balls. Yet we managed to scramble to our feet, dust ourselves off, and get back in the game. It was also a year in which positive male role models from all Walks of Life throughout our global village were honored and recognized on International Men’s Day which was observed on Thursday, 19 November 2009. Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Georgia, Ghana, India, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Malta, Moldova, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, and the United States are a sample of the countries that participated in the worldwide observance of 2009 International Men’s Day and its theme “Positive Male Role Models”. Newspaper headlines, websites, blogs, and online social media networks such as FACEBOOK, and TWITTER, heralded 2009 International Men’s Day as a call for global collaboration to address the challenges and problems men face; improve gender relations between men and women; and promote gender equality. This global celebration and honoring of the selfless sacrifices and contributions that our Fathers, Uncles, Grandfathers, Brothers, and Sons unceremoniously make to families, communities, nations, and our planet is speedily moving Men’s Issues to the center of the world stage.
Trinidad and Tobago was the first nation to celebrate International Men’s Day (“IMD”) on 19 November 1999. Why November 19th? The IMD celebration in Trinidad and Tobago was conceived and coordinated by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh, a History Lecturer at the University of West Indies and IMD’s founder. November 19th is the birthday of Dr. Teelucksingh’s father and his role model. Dr. Teelucksingh also describes November 19th as the day his country’s football team “created a level of unity which crossed gender, religious, and other ethnic divisions”.
Why did Dr. Teelucksingh see a need for IMD?
“I realized there was no day for men . . . some have said that there is Father’s Day. But what about young boys, teenagers, and men who are not Fathers?” Dr. Teelucksingh observed.
So, what is IMD about?
IMD highlights positive male role models – “every day working class men who are living decent and honest lives”. IMD is about creating a safer and better world. IMD has Core Objectives which were initially created in 1999 by Dr. Teelucksingh. The Core Objectives which were formally ratified in 2009 by the IMD Coordination Committee, chaired by Dr. Teelucksingh, appear below:
• To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sports men but everyday, working class men who are living decent, honest lives.
• To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment.
• To focus on men’s health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical, and spiritual.
• To highlight discrimination against men; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law.
• To improve gender relations and promote gender equality.
• To create a safer, better world; where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.
When asked to comment about the Core Objectives for IMD, Dr. Teelucksingh offered the following:
“These illuminating objectives have been designed to strengthen and provide direction to the Global Men’s Movement. Its all-inclusive nature will ensure there will be a better world for future generations. The carefully defined themes will be embraced by persons from all walks of life. These six powerful pillars will become the blueprint for a movement which will positively impact on the lives of the oppressed, poverty-stricken, alienated and marginalized.”.
Several weeks after the beginning of the last quarter of 2009, Warwick Marsh of Australia brought together individuals from diverse geographic locations and professional backgrounds. Marsh who is the IMD Global Coordinator and Founder of Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation (http://www.fathersonline.org) created a Global Team that worked to raise awareness and interest in the worldwide observance of 2009 IMD. Who were members of the Global Team? Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh (Trinidad and Tobago), Founder of International Men’s Day, History Lecturer at the University of West Indies, and Chairman of the IMD Coordination Committee; Jason Thompson, IMD Historian and Global Promotions Coordinator (Australia); Elizabeth Celi, Ph.D., MAPS (Australia); Uma Challa (India), IMD Coordinator for India; David Hatfield (Canada), a leadership consultant and facilitator and IMD Coordinator for Canada; and D.A. Sears who served as the IMD Coordinator for the United States.
IMD Global Team members kept in touch with one another through e-mail. E-mail was also the predominant vehicle used by IMD Global Team members to communicate information about the worldwide observance of 2009 International Men’s Day to individuals, Men’s Groups, Fatherhood Groups, institutions, and grassroots community organizations. A consistent flow of press releases concerning 2009 International Men’s Day were distributed to the electronic and print media, individuals, Men’s Groups, institutions, Fatherhood Groups, community grassroots organizations, Fatherhood Practitioners, and Fatherhood Advocates and uploaded to blogs, websites, FACEBOOK, and LinkedIn. “Tweets” about International Men’s Day 2009 were conveyed on TWITTER. The Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation funded a promotional video podcast for 2009 International Men’s Day which was scripted, researched, directed, and produced by three 21-year old men and posted on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy6Mh_W9r8I&feature=player_embedded). In less than 24 hours, the video posted on You Tube received 153 hits!
Forty-eight hours before the worldwide observance of 2009 International Men’s Day, DADS ON THE AIR (http://www.dadsontheair.net and http://www.893fm.com.au/On-Air), devoted its entire program to 2009 International Men’s Day. DADS ON THE AIR is one of the world’s longest running radio programs that explores Fatherhood issues and a “wide range of social issues around gender and parenthood”; actively promotes a positive view of men, boys, Fatherhood, and co-parenting; and features legislative, political, literary, and academic Thought Leaders from Australia and around the globe. At the invitation of Peter van der Voorde, the producer and presenter of DADS ON THE AIR, Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh; Warwick Marsh, Dr. Elizabeth Celi; Jason Thompson; Frank Crump, an international businessman and Founder of Unified Progress International Education (http://www.upieducation.org) which designed and implements an innovative alternative educational vehicle--a Life Skills Solutions Curriculum™; Uma Challa; and D.A. Sears appeared as guests on the hour-long radio program (the interviews have been uploaded to http://www.dadsontheair.net/storage/shows/Dads_on_the_Air_2009-11-17.mp3). From 10:30 AM through 12:00 PM (Sydney, Australia Time) on Tuesday, 17 November 2009, the DADS ON THE AIR audience were treated to a lively discussion about, among other things, why a worldwide observance such as International Men’s Day is needed, why men are important, and the unique health and parenting issues that confront Men from all Walks of Life throughout our global village.
2009 International Men’s Day took on a life of its own. Its theme “Positive Male Role Models” resonated with individuals and organizations in nations around the globe. How was 2009 International Men’s Day celebrated? Well, let’s take a look at how 2009 International Men’s Day was observed in Australia, Canada, Ghana, Ireland, Italy, and the United States:
On Thursday, 19 November 2009, Elizabeth Celi, Ph.D. (http://www.qualityliving.com.au), psychologist, author, media commentator on Men’s Health and Masculinity, Thought Leader, and a leading voice for Men’s Health in Australia delivered a compelling talk at the Australian Parliament’s Inaugural Celebration of 2009 International Men’s Day held at the Australian Parliament House in Canberra, New South Wales, Australia. Dr. Celi’s powerful talk at the Australian Parliament House on Thursday, 19 November 2009 has helped to move Men’s Health and Masculinity to the center of the world stage.
The Maitland City Council (Maitland, New South Wales, Australia) held a Men’s Breakfast at the Maitland City Bowls, Sports and Recreation Club on Thursday, 19 November 2009 in celebration of International Men’s Day. Maitland’s Mayor, The Honorable Peter Blackmore, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event which included speakers from Men’s Shed Australia and the Salvation Army. The event was attended by numerous men’s interest groups throughout Maitland, including the Morpeth Men’s Shed Group.
The Forbes Shire Council in New South Wales celebrated 2009 International Men’s Day at the Forbes Golf Club by sponsoring a series of activities that included a free barbeque and Trivia Night. The proceeds from the myriad of activities that occurred in celebration of 2009 International Men’s Day were donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Beyond Blue.
Seven men from Uldalla were presented with special achievement awards in recognition of recognized for their contributions to the Uldalla Community on Thursday, 19 November 2009 – International Men’s Day. The event was organized by the Uldalla Community Resources Centre in celebration of 2009 International Men’s Day.
The Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation (http://www.fatherhood.org.au) founded by Warwick Marsh and IMD Global Coordinator held an event in Australia’s Parliament House in Canberra in observance of International Men’s Day on Thursday, 19 November 2009.
In Queensland, the Ipswich City Council celebrated International Men’s Day on Thursday, 19 November 2009 by hosting a free Barbeque Breakfast which was sponsored by National Seniors Ipswich. The WG Hayden Humanities Centre at 56 South Street in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia was the site of the celebration. The event was attended by special guests Ian Maurice, an entertainer, singer, and radio and television host and Sue Ann Price, the Director of the Men’s Rights Agency. The Minor Chords, an entertainment group, along with a number of Australian Men’s Groups which included, but were not limited to, Men’s Shed and the Prostate Cancer Association were also in attendance.
Canada’s inaugural celebration of International Men’s Day occurred on Thursday, 19 November 2009 and was spearheaded by David Hatfield, the IMD Coordinator for Canada. Mr. Hatfield conducted a Men’s Studies course, Manology – Exploring 21st Century Masculinity (http://www.masculinity21st.wordpress.com) on 2009 International Men’s Day and introduced the history, goals, and values of International Men’s Day to individuals who attended the event. Canada’s official recognition of International Men’s Day was also announced at the event by Mr. Hatfield
The Ghana Fatherhood Initiative Foundation (http://www.ghanafatherhoodinitiative.org) under the leadership of its Founder, President, and Executive Director Samuel NiiTeiko Tackie, participated in the worldwide observance of 2009 International Men’s Day in Accra, Ghana on Thursday, 19 November 2009. The event’s keynote address was delivered by Mr. Maxwell Mac-Ocloo, an educator, marriage counselor, and Advisory Board Member of the Ghana Fatherhood Initiative Foundation. The event was sponsored by a number of Ghanaian businesses that included All-Time Events Consults (Accra, Ghana); M&G Medical Laboratory (Accra, Ghana); Designcode Advertising Co., Ltd. (Teshie-Nugua, Accra, Ghana); and Made In Africa.Info (Accra, Ghana). The Ghana Fatherhood Initiative Foundation also facilitated, in observance of 2009 International Men’s Day, the donation of books to the following schools: Hampstead Academy School (Korle-Gonno, Ghana); Most Holy Heart School (Dansoman, Ghana); Dr. Bannerman School (Mamprobi, Ghana); Ransom Education (Mamprobi, Ghana); Favour Complex School (Dansoman, Ghana); Dansoman 1 and 2 Primary School (Ghana); Joohannas Education Center (Mamprobi-Accra. Ghana); Hijaz (Moslem) School (Korle-Gonnor); and Jacklyn High School (Ghana). A number of students from the nine schools which received the donated books attended the event along with members of the Ghana Fatherhood Initiative Foundation, families, clergy, community members, and community leaders.
India’s participation in the worldwide observance of 2009 International Men’s Day which took the form of, among other things, a Vehicle Rally beginning at Public Gardens at 8:30 A.M. and ending in Hitech City at approximately 12:00 P.M., was orchestrated by IMD Coordinator Uma Challa. All India Forgotten Women, Andhra Pradesh Mothers-in-law Protection Association, Mothers and Sisters Initiative, Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting, All India Men’s Welfare Association, Rishtey, and Save Indian Family Foundation were a sample of the organizations in Hyderabad, India that celebrated 2009 International Men’s Day. Numerous publications, including but not limited to, The Times Of India and Munsif Daily, an Urdu newspaper, published articles about 2009 International Men’s Day celebrations in India.
Ireland’s inaugural participation in the worldwide observance of 2009 International Men’s Day took the form of the dedication of an entire morning show to Men that was hosted by Tom Dunne and aired on an award-winning and popular radio show – NEWSTALK.
Italy participated in the worldwide observance of 2009 International Men’s Day for the very first time on Thursday, 19 November 2009. Giorgio Ceccarelli, a law graduate, practicing lawyer, and President of the following four Italian organizations – Children Denied Association, Daddy’s Pride, Army Fathers, and I Love Alatri, a cultural association, organized a rally which commemorated the sacrifices and contributions that men make to their families and communities. The rally was held directly outside of the Coliseum in Rome, Italy.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Unified Progress International Education (“UPI Education”) (http://www.upieducation.org) under the leadership of its founder, Mr. Frank Crump, an international businessman, became the first American organization to embrace and participate in the worldwide observance of 2009 International Men’s Day. UPI Education which designed and implements a dynamic and results-oriented alternative education vehicle – a Life Skills Solutions Curriculum™ – observed International Men’s Day on Thursday, 19 November 2009, by having its students, faculty, and administrators engage in one moment of silence beginning at 11:19 A.M. (EST) and ending at 11:20 A.M. (EST) to commemorate and contemplate the sacrifices that Men have made throughout the world to their families and communities. UPI Education also entered into a partnership with IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® and solicited essays, poems, and articles from students and adults which identified the positive male role models that have influenced their lives for publication on IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®’s blog at http://globalfatherhooddialogue.blogspot.com. .
The American print media along with blogs, websites and online social networks such as FACEBOOK and TWITTER and professional online networks such as LinkedIn created a great level of awareness for and interest in 2009 International Men’s Day in the United States.
Former Los Angeles, California Police Chief Bernard Parks who currently serves on Los Angeles’ City Council and represents its 8th District, published information about 2009 International Men’s Day on his website at http://www.bernardparks.com which was viewed by his constituents.
In a press statement distributed by PR News Wire on 19 November 2009 that recognized International Men’s Day, nationally acclaimed Fathers’ Rights attorney and President Emeritus of the Fatherhood Educational Institute, Jeffery Leving, Esquire who was a participant in the first White House Roundtable On Responsible Fatherhood And Healthy Families on 6 August 2009 in Chicago, Illinois remarked:
“I have a difficult time finding words strong enough to emphasize the importance of fathers in their children's lives.”
In Philadelphia, the United States’ fifth largest metropolitan area and fourth largest media market, The Philadelphia Tribune, a major newspaper, published an article about 2009 International Men’s Day which solicited comments from men in that city about the worldwide observance of International Men’s Day.
The Fourteen Percenter, an international online Fathers’ Rights publication which is published by Don Mathis, a prominent Fathers’ Rights Advocate, in Sherman, Texas, featured information about 2009 International Men’s Day.
The Mens Daily News, a Fatherhood and Men’s issues online publication and New Generation Dad, an online Fatherhood magazine, provided their readership with information about the worldwide observance of 2009 International Men’s Day.
The worldwide observance of 2009 International Men’s Day is energizing the Global Dialogue on Fatherhood and Men’s Issues. It is not only moving Men from all Walks of Life throughout our global village to work together to strengthen and empower our families and our communities, it is also moving Women to work with Men to create key “pieces of the puzzle” to developing and sustaining efficiently functioning family units that positively shape the minds and souls of our children – our future – our bridge to the future.
What are some of the members of the Global Team for 2009 International Men's Day saying about 2009 International Men’s Day?
Warwick Marsh, IMD Global Coordinator pointed to the bridge of friendship and understanding that 2009 International Men’s Day is helping to build:
“While the worldwide observance of 2009 International Men’s Day has provided us with an opportunity to honor the sacrifices that Men have made and to celebrate their valuable contributions to our families, communities, and our society, it is also helping to build a bridge of friendship and understanding that transcends the boundaries of geography, religion, politics, culture, language, class, economics, gender, and ethnicity . . . ”
Jason Thompson, Historian for IMD and IMD Global Promotions Coordinator noted the significant increase in interest that 2009 International Men’s Day enjoyed:
“International Men’s Day enjoyed significantly increased interest around the globe this year with a more than doubling of countries hosting events than in 2008. Australia, for instance, jumped from holding a single event in 2008 to this year hosting over 15 formal observations across the country, including the sponsoring of events by four local governments, a speech to honor men in the West Australian State Parliament, and an observation at Parliament House in Canberra with several notable speakers. Similar increases in awareness were reported in other countries, which, in my view, is a truly remarkable trend.”
Uma Challa, 2009 International Men’s Day Coordinator for India hails the observance of 2009 International Men’s Day on Thursday, 19 November 2009 as a remarkable global event and the camaraderie it spawned among Men’s and Father’s Rights Advocates:
“IMD 2009 was a remarkable international event. As many as 25 international men's rights and father's rights groups celebrated the occasion echoing common sentiments and concerns. While IMD may have been celebrated by a few individual nations in the past, the world witnessed the amazing resonance and camaraderie of men's and fathers' rights advocates for the first time in the history of the men's movement in 2009. The theme ‘promoting positive male role models’ has definitely made men and women around the world pause and think about the many contributions and services of men in our lives, about the vulnerability of men and the need to love, care, and support them every day. This is a great sign and I can only see the men's rights movement gaining more and more momentum in the coming years.”
And Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh, Founder of IMD and Chairman of the IMD Coordination Committee offered thought-provoking observations about 2009 International Men’s Day:
“International Men’s Day – IMD -- has the potential to become the global medium to heal our world. The concept and themes of IMD are designed to give hope to the depressed, faith to the lonely, comfort to the broken-hearted, transcend barriers, eliminate stereotypes and create a more caring humanity. Since its inception, IMD has blossomed into a movement which promotes goodwill and positively transformed the lives of many persons. Every year I am overjoyed to witness and read testimonies of persons who genuinely believe that the observance of IMD has resulted in greater stability in their lives and guided them from darkness into light.”