Statement of UN Resident Coordinator Luc Stevens on International Volunteer Day 2012
Today on 5 December, 2012 we celebrate the birthday of His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, the world’s longest reigning monarch. As we celebrate his birthday, we also celebrate International Volunteer Day, which honors the commitment and spirit of volunteers in Thailand and around the world.
Throughout his reign His Majesty has encouraged volunteerism and the values of self-help, and service to community. His Majesty the King of Thailand and the Royal family have embodied this philosophy, volunteering their valuable time to serve the Thai public. On this auspicious occasion we recognize His Majesty’s commitment to volunteerism and self-sufficiency.
We can name no greater example of the volunteer spirit than the collective action of the Thai people during the great floods that inundated Thailand just one year ago. The water claimed nearly a thousand lives, and affected more than 11 million people.
In the face of unspeakable sadness, the world watched Thailand cope and mount a tremendous response. Government agencies, relief organizations and scores of volunteers mobilized a massive effort and showed the world the true heart of a nation. It is this kind of personal resilience—this kind of spirit that we honor today.
On this International Volunteer Day, we are inspired by the willing hearts of the Thai people and the greatness of their King. We resolve to make the world a better, more just, more equitable place through their example.