With less than 30 days to go before we hit the New Year, most of us are already looking ahead and planning for 2017. We're thinking about 2017 business goals, scheduling everything for January, and setting some ambitious resolutions. Some of us might even forget that it's still 2016!
But before you write off this year, it's important to pause and take a moment to reflect on how you've changed. A year is a long time, and if you think back on everything that's happened in your personal and professional life in 2016, you might realize that you're ending the year a totally different person than when you started it.
Acknowledging how you've changed and grown is important for goal-setting and resolution-making. To get you started, here are ten world events that changed us all in 2016:
1. The U.S. Presidential Election
No matter your politics, the presidential election took its toll on everyone. The results left millions--and the world--shocked, and we are now navigating one of the most interesting transitions of power in history. However, this event is a great opportunity to be aware of how we present ourselves as leaders and engage in this political age.
2. The Brexit Referendum
The world was shocked to hear news that the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union--known as "Brexit." The full effects of this withdrawal from the political and economic agreement have yet to be seen, with many divided over whether this was a positive economic move for the United Kingdom.
3. The Zika Virus
The spread of the Zika virus throughout the Americas and the resulting Zika fever epidemic caused worldwide alarm. The effects of Zika are so extreme that health officials have urged women in affected areas to delay pregnancy anywhere between six months and two years. Zika is not just a threat to health; it threatens economic growth due to reduced tourism. Thankfully in November 2016, the World Health Organization announced the end of the epidemic, though Zika is still a major concern.
4. President Obama's official trip to Cuba
Following the 2015 announcement that the U.S. would renew formal relations with Cuba, President Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba since the 1920s. This was a historic visit that shows a long-term dedication to ease tensions between the two countries. And with the recent death of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro as well as the Trump presidency, we find ourselves re-focusing on the effects this will all have on politics, economics, and human rights.
5. The continued threat of ISIS
Sadly, this year was marked by many terrorist attacks from ISIS, including ones in Brussels, Iraq, and Pakistan. Now more than ever the global community must cooperate to combat these efforts. At the same time, the uneven reporting of terrorist attacks has drawn international criticism, as some tragedies are highly covered and other, often deadlier, events are ignored.
6. The Orlando nightclub shooting
Our nation was rocked by the Orlando nightclub shooting, which was the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. This event put heightened national attention on the issues of gun violence, gun control, LGBT rights, and American-Islamic relations.
7. The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Olympics captured the attention of the entire world and was marked with many milestones: Rio became the first South American city to host the summer games, the United States celebrated having the most overall medals, and the International Olympic Committee shined the spotlight on the world refugee crisis by allowing the creation of the Refugee Olympic Team. However, the Olympics were not without controversy: many did not approve of the choice of Rio de Janeiro as host due to environmental and political concerns.
8. Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests
Whether to move forward with plans for the Dakota Access Pipeline has been the talk of the nation recently. This issue is a symbol of the tug of war between numerous competing interests including our need to be energy independent, environmentally responsibility, job creation, preservation of Native American culture, and more.
9. The Syrian refugee crisis
Who can forget the devastating image of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old boy photographed lifeless on the beach? Or five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, sitting in an ambulance injured and in shock after an airstrike in Aleppo? These haunting images have incited renewed public attention regarding the Syrian refugee crisis, its many victims, and the weak global response.
10. Women in congress
This year American voters elected the most diverse congress yet, as the total number of women of color in the Senate increases from one to four. Sure, this may seem small, but this is a huge step in the right direction and will lead the way for increased representation in the future.