Ms. Daniela Bas, a promoter of peace, happiness, and equality, is the Director of UNDESA’s Division For Inclusive Social Development. Ms. Bas was born in Italy, but has since travelled the world for her work and spent many years working at the United Nations. “I was born near the sea,” she says. “Summer times are nice and warm with long, beautiful, sunny days. I was born in the countryside, sunshine means fields of green and trees with fruit and birds coming and singing and crickets at night.” Ms. Bas radiates the sunny energy of the countryside she grew up in. In her role as Director of the Division for Inclusive Social Development, she works side-by-side with UN member states to create policies that will serve the people. She specifically works to promote initiatives that will aid what she refers to as “so-called vulnerable groups of society,” such as indigenous communities, the elderly, and those with disabilities.

“I was born near the sea,” she says. “Summer times are nice and warm with long, beautiful, sunny days. I was born in the countryside, sunshine means fields of green and trees with fruit and birds coming and singing and crickets at night.”

 Though Ms. Bas has worked on many important initiatives throughout her career at the United Nations, one particular initiative she is currently working on is “sports for peace and development.” This initiative does not just encompass sports in their traditional sense. As Ms. Bas says, sports mean, “recreational activities, expressive arts, dance, casual, traditional, and formal sports,” activities which “build self-esteem and leadership and encourage people to believe in themselves.” Ms. Bas is a strong believer in the power of sports, and asserts that “sports give back strength and allow for acknowledgement of abilities and power.” In short, she is confident that sports for all will lead to the long term goal of peace.

“Sports give back strength and allow for acknowledgement of abilities and power.”

Ms. Bas puts the same amount of passion into each action plan that she fights for, but as woman with paraplegia, she feels that when it comes to disability action plans, “I have not only professional but personal knowledge, so that adds value and personality to the decision.” She remarked on the fact that both the current and previous Secretary-Generals of the United Nations “are making sure that we have in place a disability action plan to make the UN inclusive.”

“I have not only professional but personal knowledge, so that adds value and personality to the decision.”

Ms. Bas also supports the idea of intergenerational dialogues, both in casual and structured settings. In a world where younger generations are utilizing technology and social media to communicate, there is a risk of leaving older generations behind. In fact, social media can lead to barriers between generations, especially when it comes to respectful ways to communicate. Ms. Bas notes the importance of intergenerational dialogues when it comes to creating and keeping peace. She explained that because older generations have lived through wars, they can teach younger generations “how to bring and keep peace.” Her one caveat: the dialogues “have to be something that bring hope and joy, not just sharing difficult memories of struggles.”

The dialogues “have to be something that bring hope and joy, not just sharing difficult memories of struggles.”

Indicative of her goals for our world, if Ms. Bas were to create an 18th SDG, she would make it “happiness.” Nothing else, just the one word. Ms. Bas would like the symbol to be a vibrant shade of yellow, a color which brings her back to her childhood in the countryside of Italy and reminds her of sunshine and light, of hope, and of happiness.

Graphic by Julie Levey.
Author

Julie Levey is a 17-year-old girl in science and aspiring doctor from New York, NY. When she is not leading her school's Science Team or interning at Mt. Sinai Hospital, she can be found writing for The Jewish Week and performing in concerts and plays.

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