Hi everyone! I hope you all had a very wonderful and relaxing summer!
Please allow me to first extend my biggest thanks for your participation and support to our 66th OMEP World Assembly and International Conference. We were joined by delegates of over 46 countries, the first time there has been more international delegates than local. Both the Assembly and Conference were a success, and thank you for making my first year as the President of the World Assembly efficient and effective. I believe you will also join me to give our sincerest gratitude and thanks to the Irish Committee for organizing the event and for doing such a fantastic job in taking care of us. The venue hosting the Assembly was magnificent and the arrangement to meet with the Lord Mayor will be special memories to treasure.
This year, we welcomed three new Preparatory Committees to OMEP: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Myanmar, and Pacific Island Nations. Moreover, the World Assembly was delighted to award OMEP-Cameroon the rights of full National Committee. Taken together, OMEP is now established in almost 70 countries worldwide, and remains as the oldest and largest international organisation promoting the health, well-being, rights and early education of the world’s children from birth to age eight.
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mrs. Abimbola Are and Dr. Judith Wagner, who were unanimously reelected at the World Assembly as the Regional Vice President for Africa and the Regional Vice President for North America and the Caribbean, respectively. In addition, nine veteran OMEP members were awarded lifetime honorary membership. They are: Colette Durand, Doreen Launder, Francis Douglas, Madeleine Baillargeon, María Victoria Peralta Espinosa, Nóirín Hayes, Nurper Ulkuer, Ofelia Reveco Vergara and Seppo Sauro. Congratulations to you all!
I have more happy news to share. OMEP has just been elected as one of the two international focal points to the Collective Consultation of NGOs on Education for All (CCNGO/EFA) Coordination Group of UNESCO for 2014-2016! Prof. Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson will be our representative at CCNGO/EFA Coordination Group and this will definitely be a very valuable opportunity for OMEP to promote our work and advocacy.
Speaking of advocacy, in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 66th OMEP World Assembly also called upon the world community, and especially its leaders, to make early childhood an unambiguous priority in both policy and practice and to vigorously protect and promote the rights of all young children, their parents, their teachers and caregivers, and the institutions that serve them at the local, state, and global levels. Please click here for our World Declaration 2014. You may also find our Annual Report 2013 and the PowerPoint presentations at the World Assembly as well as watch the Conference keynote addresses by clicking here.
Soon after the World Assembly and Conference, I and Dr. Nektarios Stellakis, our Regional Vice President for Europe, were invited by OMEP-Bulgaria and went to Sofia to attend a forum and meet with key policymakers. There, we submitted our first appeal letter to the Mayor of Sofia and Chairperson of Children, Youth and Sports Committee for the inclusion of early childhood development in the post-2015 agenda.
If you would like to join our advocacy, you may use our template to communicate with national leaders, urging them to insist that early childhood be included as a visible and unambiguous priority in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is VERY time sensitive since the SDGs will be finalized in September. Please refer to the instructions and send the letter at your earliest convenience.
Once again thank you for joining us at this year’s World Assembly and International Conference. I look forward to seeing you all again next year in Washington DC.