2008 has been designated:
European Year of Intercultural Dialogue
International Year of Sanitation
International Year of the Potato
Australian Year of the Scout
European Year of Intercultural Dialogue: The European Commission has decided that 2008 should be European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, and has earmarked a budget of 10 million Euro to promote this. The intention is to respect and encourage cultural diversity by promoting greater cohesion through common values. That is to say, to preserve people's differences by getting them to think alike. (Oh God. Is it only the British who are cynical about the Commission?)
International Year of Sanitation: In 2001 The World Toilet Association declared 19 November World Toilet Day. Since then World Toilet Day has been celebrated world-wide. The World Toilet College was founded in 2005. This year the World Toilet Organisation will hold the World Toilet Summit in Macao in November. The summit will also feature the World Toilet Expo. (I'm sure this is the worthiest of causes, but Toilet College? As in, "I'm going to toilet college"? And a 'toilet summit' just conjures up an image of a porcelain pedestal perched atop the Matterhorn. Wouldn't a little creative branding help fire the imagination? 'Sanitation for Life Day? 'Freedom to Flush'? 'Health through Hygiene'?)
International Year of the Potato: 2008 has been designated international year of the potato by the UN. Garden Organic, an organic growing charity, will hold Britain's biggest potato event, Potato Day, at Ryton near Coventry. Potato Day on 2 February will be open to members only, although a public potato day will be held the following day. The organisers hope that thousands of visitors will come and pay homage to the potato. A special surround-sound exhibition will celebrate the iconic rôle of the potato crisp in cultural change between 1900 and the Fall of the Berlin Wall. (Okay, I made the last bit up).
Australian Year of the Scout: To celebrate 100 years of Australian scouting, a presentation Good Turn token will be issued to all Australian Scouts. The tokens will be transferred from one pocket to another after completion of community good turns.
So much to look forward to. I can't wait.