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Words from the World President – April 2014

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Hello everyone! Spring is here and may the lovely blossoms fill your heart with joy and happiness! There has been a lot going on here at OMEP in the past three months that I think you’ll be interested to know.

As mentioned in the previous issue of Words from the World President, on 13 February, 2014, OMEP co-organized another high level side event, namely “Refugee Children and the Right to Early Childhood Education: A Humanitarian and Sustainable Development Issue”, during the 52nd Session of the Commission on Social Development in New York. I was there with our Deputy World President Judith Wagner, who was one of the presenters, and Maria Pia Belloni Mignatti, OMEP’s representative at the United Nations (UN) and the moderator of the side event. You may recall that a powerful winter storm impacted the Philadelphia and New York City metropolitan areas at that time, and a few meetings of the UN were forced to be canceled. We were quite worry at first. Yet, despite the terrible weather and all the warnings to stay indoors, we were really amazed at how many people actually attended the side event and how committed they were to early childhood. There was such good energy in the room. We hope that will translate into even more advocacy for early childhood development (ECD) now and on the post-2015 agenda.

During our stay in New York, I and Judith met with a number of prominent figures in the UN and in various non-governmental organisations (NGOs). We had meetings with Rima Salah, Assistant Clinical Professor in the Yale Child Study Center and former Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, and Carmen-Gloria Arriagada, Permanent Representative at the UN, to discuss strategies for promoting ECD on the post-2015 agenda; with Maher Nasser, Director of Outreach Division in the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), and Jeffrey Brez, Chief of the NGO Relations and Advocacy Section of DPI, to encourage DPI to include ECD and create opportunities for ECD leaders to present at the upcoming DPI conference; with Andrei Abramov, Chief of the NGO Section of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN, to consult about OMEP’s application for special status at ECOSOC; and with Joseph A. DeMeyer, Chair of UN NGO Committee on Education, to talk about OMEP’s contributions to the committee. Of course, we gathered with members of OMEP’s very own “New York Team” for an informal and relaxing evening and had a brainstorm about the future action and research projects of OMEP.

My work did not stop after I got home. Here at the World Secretariat we have been busy helping Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson to compile our Annual Report 2013. This is the first time we made use of the Survey Monkey online submission system and we made a number of changes to the report guidelines. Please allow me to say a big thank you to all our national committees that have submitted their country reports. Right now we are thinking about how we should organize and present the rich data we have collected. This is a wonderful learning process and fully prepares me to take lead of the preparation of the Annual Report for 2014 next year.

Don’t forget that our World Assemly and Conference 2014 will be held in Cork, Ireland. This year we will have over 300 presentations, including about 270 paper and poster presentations, 25 symposia, and 10 workshops. Our Executive Committee is currently working hard for the World Assembly (1-2 July 2014) and preparing for the election of the Regional Vice Presidents for Africa and for North America and the Caribbean. All interested national committees may submit their nominations to secretariat@worldomep.org by 25 May 2014.

And notice we now have our own official Facebook and Twitter pages as well as a YouTube channel? If you haven’t done so already, please go ahead to like/tweet/follow us. We are also looking for a catchy slogan for OMEP. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.

Last but certainly not least, this year marks the 25th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Do let us know about your plans to mark this exciting milestone!

Thanks and see you in Cork!

Maggie

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