Global Agenda 2013

United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation
UN-Water (no irony intended) is focusing on water in its broadest sense: Unesco is supposed to promote “actions at all levels in relevant areas, including education, culture, gender, the sciences, conflict prevention and resolution, as well as ethics, among others.” (For those planning to quote “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” it’s “nor any drop to drink.”)
ABU DHABI
World Future Energy Summit, Jan. 15-17
Yes, oil has made Abu Dhabi the richest city on the planet. But the emirate is hedging its bets and also trying to become a global leader in renewable energy, including an intriguing project to build a zero-carbon, zero-waste, car- free, solar-only neighborhood, Masdar City.
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND
World Buskers Festival, Jan. 17-27
A busker, of course, is a street performer, and for the past 19 years the best jugglers, clowns, mimes, living statues, magicians et al. have descended annually on Hagley Park.
WORLDWIDE (sort of)
National Hugging Day, Jan. 21
The Rev. Kevin Zaborney came up with the holiday to address what he saw as a reluctance among Americans to show feelings in public, and it has spread to many unfeeling corners of the world. But do heed this warning from nationalhuggingday.com: “While some encourage hugging everyone, National Hugging Day always suggests at least asking first.” Especially in America, where a lot of people are armed.
WASHINGTON
U.S. Presidential Inauguration, Jan. 21
Didn’t we just have one?
DENMARK
Invasion by the British retail chain Tesco, Jan. 21
This according to the BBC mockumentary Time Trumpet. Jan. 21 will be a very busy day (see above).
DAVOS, SWITZERLAND
World Economic Forum, Jan. 23-27
If you haven’t received an invitation by now, you are not a very important person.
SAPPORO, JAPAN
Sapporo Snow Festival, Feb. 5-11
This is the 64th annual festival, which now draws about two million people to view hundreds of stunning sculptures made of ice and snow.
RIO DE JANEIRO
Carnival, Feb. 9-12
Many Catholic towns and cities hold carnivals on the week before the start of Lent to say farewell to the pleasures of the flesh, but none come anywhere close to Rio’s riotous bacchanalia at the steamy peak of the Southern summer.
NEW ORLEANS
Super Bowl XLVII, Feb. 3
Few sporting events can match the hoopla and hype of the championship game of American football — a sport few outside the U.S. understand (alas!! – ed). XLVII means foreigners can watch only under parental supervision.
VAL DI FIEMME, ITALY
FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, Feb. 20-March 3
“Nordic” refers to the cross-country type of skiing and to all the winners.
HOLLYWOOD
Academy Awards, Feb. 24
If “World War Z” gets one, it’ll be the first zombie movie to get an Oscar. Brad Pitt stars.
LONDON, ONTARIO
World Figure Skating Championships, March 10-17
Not to be confused with the Super Bowl (see above).
THAILAND
Songkran Festival, April 12-15
The traditional Thai New Year, when in addition to various religious and family obligations, people everywhere throw water at each other. It’s in good fun, and it’s at the peak of the hot season.
WORLDWIDE
Earth Day, April 22
Some 20 million people participated in the first Earth Day in 1970, and more than a billion people in 190 countries celebrate it now. Anti-environmentalists point out that it is Lenin’s birth date.
PARIS
French Open at Roland Garros, May 21-June 9
Still the only Grand Slam tennis tournament on clay.
BROCKWORTH, ENGLAND
Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, May 27
A Double Gloucester cheese is rolled down the hill and people chase after it. The winner gets the cheese, and everybody retires to a pub. The nearest are The Cross Hands and The Victoria.
VENICE
International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia, June 1-Nov. 24
Showing in Venice is the premier seal of artistic quality. You can’t buy it here, though, for that you hop the train to...
BASEL
Art Basel, June 13-16
“See it in Venice, buy it in Basel.” Nearly 300 leading galleries and more than 2,500 artists are represented.
BORLANGE, SWEDEN
Peace & Love Festival, June 25-29
For those who missed the Sixties. It’s about nonviolence, equality, diversity, fellowship, solidarity, freedom, understanding — oh yes, and music. Peace & Love is the biggest annual festival in Sweden, which just goes to show.
AMSTERDAM
Keti Koti Festival, July 1
It means “the chains are cut” in Sranan Tongo, the Creole language of Suriname, and Keti Koti celebrates the abolition of slavery in the Netherlands’ former Caribbean colonies of the Dutch West Indies and Suriname with a festival of food, music, dance and ceremony at the Oosterpark. This is the 150th anniversary, so it will be especially festive.
LONDON
Wimbledon, June 24-July 7
Still the only Grand Slam tennis tournament on grass.
KAZAN, RUSSIA
27th Summer Universiade, July 6-17
Also known as the World University Games, these will be a dress rehearsal for Russia’s staging of the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014.
PAMPLONA, SPAIN
Running of the Bulls, July 6-14
If you’ve not yet had the ultimate adrenaline rush, do it now, before animal- rights groups succeed in shutting it down. Fifteen people have been killed since 1924, almost all by goring.
 
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