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10 December, 2010

GIVING BOYS THE BEST POSSIBLE START IN LIFE: 2011 INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY





In 2011 Men and Women from more than 40 countries are calling on people around the world to unite and focus on “Giving Boys The Best Possible Start In Life”. Organizers of International Men’s Day (www.international-mens-day.com), which is celebrated annually across the globe, are inviting individuals and organisations to consider how we can improve the way the world supports boys in the run up to the next International Men’s Day on Saturday 19th November 2011.


Organizers are promising the biggest boys’ weekend the world has ever seen as the worldwide observance of International Men’s Day shares a 48-hour partnership with Universal Children’s Day on Sunday, 20 November 2011 and is endorsed by the United Nations.



International Men’s Day 2011 is asking people around the world to focus on five key challenges that boys all the over the world experience in areas of health, education, family life, violence and life choices and consider how we can all come up with local solutions to the global problems that boys face.


The people who support International Men’s Day – who include the international authors Warren Farrell and Steve Biddulph – have warned that while it remains important to focus on the specific needs of women and girls around the world, that it is more important than ever before that we don’t ignore the specific needs of the world’s boys and the men they will grow up to become. Warren Farrell states;


“In the last 30 or 40 years we've really helped girls and women develop and that's a wonderful thing but I've also seen that our sons have begun to drop out of school at a much greater rate, fall behind in reading and writing, and fall behind in almost every other psychological, social and academic area. We are on the verge of a crisis with our boys that is equivalent to the financial crisis that many of us didn't see until it came upon us. International Men's Day is one of the very few alerts in the world to that crisis. It is an early warning signal. We need to choose to pay attention to it or it will hurt us for years and decades to come."


The good news is that together we can make a difference. They five key challenges that the International Men’s Day team suggest for focusing the collective minds of people who want to take action and give boys the best possible start in life are:


HEALTH AND LIFE EXPECTANCY: Why are boys around the world more likely to die before the age of five and why do boys in every continent look forward to a much shorter life than girls? What are the reasons for boy’s higher likelihood of suicide? What action can we take to give boys the best possible start in life and help them live longer, happier, healthier lives?


EDUCATIONAL FOCUS: Why are boys in richer countries underperforming girls and also less likely to be in education, and why are tens of millions of boys in poorer countries still not completing a primary education? How can we address truancy, and poor literacy rates which leave boys prone to adult unemployment, substance abuse, obesity, depression, and poverty? What action can we take to focus on boys’ education in way that gives them the best possible start in life and closes the gaps between girls and boys and rich boys and poor boys?


TOLERANCE OF VIOLENCE: Why are we so tolerant of violence and abuse against men and boys and why do we still tolerate a world where we send boys to fight the wars among adults? What actions can we take to help boys’ grow up free from violence and challenge our collective tolerance and support of violence against men and boys?


RIGHTS TO FATHERHOOD: How can we give boys a right to family life that gives them an equal opportunity to know and experience both their father and mother and ensure that their role as a future father is equal to a girls role as future mother. What actions can we take to give every boy an equal right to fatherhood?


REAL LIFE CHOICES: How can we make sure that every boy has opportunities to make a range of positive life choices in terms of work, family and leisure and reduce the number of boys whose life choices are limited and end up poor, illiterate, unemployed, homeless, imprisoned and isolated? What action can we make to help every boy get the best possible start in life and make a positive transition form boy to man that makes the world a better place for everyone?


To help respond to these challenges, the International Men’s Day team are inviting any government, organisation, community or individual that wants to give boys the best possible start in life to take part in the biggest boys’ weekend ever on International Men’s Day (Saturday 19th November 2011) and Universal Children’s Day (Sunday 20th November 2011). If you have an idea for an event or a project that can help respond to one of the five challenges to give boys the best possible in start in life we encourage you to highlight it as part of International Men’s Day celebrations for 2011.


Feel free to contact the International Men’s Day Coordination team at www.international-mens-day.com to share your thoughts on giving the best start to boys. This year we are giving out a prize certificate for the IMD FLAGSHIP PROJECT which illustrates the best solution-oriented approach to one or more of the five areas listed above.


Do the young men of the world feel that there is a need to focus on their issues and to give them the best possible start in life? Is International Men’s Day important to them? Two young men -- Peter Thompson of Australia and Navin Farley Crump of the United States offer insightful answers:



WHAT INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY MEANS TO ME
BY: PETER THOMPSON (c) 2010

My name is Peter Thompson, I'm 14 and live in Australia. I was happy when I recently heard that 2011 IMD would be focused on boys, because they really need support. A lot of my friends and other boys seem lost with everything; their schoolwork and what they want to do when they leave school. They also don't know what to do in their spare time and are doing things that they will surely regret later in their life. Some are dropping out of school, others are taking drugs, and a lot seem lost and unable to talk when they are upset. I remember my friend came to school one day and it seemed like something was deeply troubling him, however, when I asked him what was wrong he wasn't able to tell me, nor anyone else that asked. I believe this is a good example of what I see with a lot of the boys. Things are troubling them and they don't know how to talk about it or don't have anyone willing to listen to them. To me, boys at school have a sort of "It doesn't matter" attitude towards their schoolwork because they don't pay attention in class and goof off, and when they get bad marks, they don’t seem to care about it.


With these things in mind I would really like it if more help and support could be offered to boys to help them cope with school, giving them opportunities for jobs once they finish school, and helping them stay on track in their spare time. I would also like to see them be able to open up and talk about whatever is on their minds and maybe have more people who encourage them to talk. I would be extremely happy if International Men’s Day could make people pay more attention to these issues.

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INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY – 2010
BY: NAVIN FARLEY CRUMP (c) 2010

My name is Navin Farley Crump and I am 15 years old. I wish to share my views regarding International Men’s Day and what it means to me as a teenage male in America. In my opinion, the main objective of International Men’s Day is to encourage all people to participate in creating a better world for men everywhere.



When Dr. Teelucksingh founded International Men’s Day on November 19th, 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago, I believe his goal was to give men the “recognition” they deserve for their contribution(s) to societies worldwide. International Men’s Day, supports the quote by Ryunosuke Satoro, “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” The greater the number of people who come together in support of this endeavor, the louder the voice. Just as the 1st Amendment provides Americans with the right to freedom of speech, International Men’s Day provides men with a voice to be heard globally.


International Men’s Day aims to make life better, not just for grown men but for young males alike. This is why Dr. Warren Farrell, an internationally acclaimed thought leader on Men’s issues recently stated, “In the last 30 to 40 years, we have helped women and girls develop and that is a wonderful thing but I have also seen that our sons have begun to drop out of school at a much greater rate; fall behind in reading and writing, and fall behind in almost every other psychological, social, and academic area...” Males are often mistreated, unappreciated and overlooked – and as a result, as Dr. Farrell says, “We are on the verge of a crisis with our boys.”


Dr. Teelucksingh has increased world awareness on this subject. I would like to thank Dr. Teelucksingh for founding International Men’s Day. I hope that more and more people become involved and that International Men’s Day continues to play an influential role in improving the lives of men.



IS NOVEMBER THE BEST MONTH?: JEROME TEELUCKSINGH, Ph.D.

There is something unique about the final three months of every year. It contains a considerable number of special days. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is observed in October. Not many persons are aware that a small number of men are also affected by breast cancer!! Health is a concern for all of us and thus it is no surprise that ‘Movember’ was created. Movember, (a combination of the words ‘moustache’ and ‘November’) is an annual month-long event which involves the growing of moustaches to raise our awareness and funds for men’s health issues. And, World Diabetes Day which affects millions of persons is globally observed on 14 November.


On 19 November there is International Men’s Day and one day later there is the observance of Universal Children’s Day. A few days later, the world solemnly observes 25 November which is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Many are aware that 25 November also marks the beginning of the global campaign- 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. These 16 Days which include World AIDS Day (on 1 December) and International Day of Persons with Disabilities (on December 3), ends on 10 December with the observance of International Human Rights Day.


For citizens of the United States, the month of November is significant as it is Thanksgiving Day. This Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month. Additionally, on 19 November 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the famous Gettysburg Address.


The Western observance of All Souls’ Day is on 2 November and follows All Saints’ Day which is to remember the souls of the deceased. Another solemn occasion is Remembrance Day which is annually observed on 11 November. It is also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day. It is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries to remember the members of their armed forces who have died on duty and the official end of World War One in 1918. Interestingly, Australia, a Commonwealth country, has a link with November. On 19 November 1941, during World War Two, the HMAS Sydney was sunk off the coast of Geralton in Western Australia, and 645 men lost their lives.


Has 19 November become a ‘teachable moment’ in the world’s history? The evidence seems to suggest that International Men’s Day and other days of activism or remembrance are presenting ‘teachable moments’ and inviting us to create and be part of ‘teachable moments.’ In November 2010, one of the IMD websites (http://www.international-mens-day.com) recorded 372, 920 visits. This was for one month! This is another visible indicator that IMD has earned its place among other important days of activism and is fast becoming the people’s choice!

A CITIZEN OF THE WORLD: JEROME TEELUCKSINGH, Ph.D.

In July 2008, then presidential candidate of the USA, Barack Obama, speaking in Germany, referred to himself as ‘a fellow citizen of the world.’ How many of us can claim to be a citizen of our world? What does it mean to be a citizen of the world? Being a citizen of the world means implies a common bond with humanity. It means you are affected by positive and negative developments in any part of the world. As a citizen of the world you have a responsibility to bridge the divide between developed and developing countries. If we were all citizens of the world then there would be an absence of bigotry and xenophobia. This means that as a citizen of the world you do not display religious fanaticism, extreme nationalism and hatred of immigrants. International Men’s Day hopes to be the passport that will guarantee you global citizenship in a global village.

Volunteers and well-wishers of International Men’s Day are devising strategies and creating a global community that is more collaborative and less aggressive. International Men’s Day is not a top-down movement. It has spread from the bottom-up and maintained its growth among the grass-roots. International Men’s Day has challenged those who negatively view males, it has challenged stereotypes of males and females and challenged those who have trivialized the role of boys and men. IMD is poised to challenge history.

Two of the popular slogans in President Obama’s election campaign were ‘Change we can believe in’ and ‘Yes we can.’ These are relevant in the worldwide campaign to spread the message of IMD. The question we must ask ourselves- Is International Men’s Day creating permanent, positive change that we can believe in? When facing disappointments of small audiences or criticisms in promoting and observing IMD, you must think of those 3 words that gave hope to millions of Americans, overcame barriers and electrified huge crowds- ‘Yes we can.’