In the past few months we have witnessed the blossom of child advocacy. United Nations Secretary-General has called for “quality education and learning” from early childhood development (ECD) to post-primary schooling. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which establishes global standards to ensure the protection, survival, and development of all children and is the most extensively ratified human rights treaty in the world, has just celebrated its 25th anniversary. More recently, Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay were awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. As pointed out by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, “it is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected”. We are honour that OMEP is playing an increasingly important role in nurturing such an important element of global development.
Besides OMEP-Bulgaria that I mentioned in my last issue of Words from the World President, OMEP-Australia, Norway, Japan, and UK have also submitted their appeals to their national leaders urging them to include early childhood as a visible and unambiguous priority in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Our World Executive Committee members have also been working extremely hard to advocate for ECD and increase the international visibility of OMEP in the past few months.
UN and UNESCO
In October, Immediate Past World President Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson was in Paris, France to represent OMEP at the UNESCO CCNGO/EFA Coordination Group meeting. Ingrid and Judith Wagner, Deputy World President and Regional Vice President for North America and the Caribbean, then joined OMEP’s representative at the United Nations Maria Pia Belloni Mignatti in New York to take part at the High-level meeting of the General Assembly on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the (CRC) on 20 November. Regional Vice President for Latin America Mercedes Mayol Lassalle and President of OMEP-Chile were in Panama for a preparatory meeting of the Ministerial Conference for Latin America and in Lima for the Regional Meeting of Ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean in October.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
Ingrid also went to Aichi-Nagoya, Japan with Regional Vice President for Asia Pacific Eunhye Park and OMEP’s ESD World Project Co-leader John Siraj-Blatchford to co-organise a workshop entitled Developing ESD initiatives for Early Childhood Care and Education at the 2014 UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development.
Networking with Other Organizations and Institutions
In October, Judith presented at the CENDI World Congress in Monterey, Mexico. Regional Vice President for Europe Nektarios Stellakis was in Budapest for International Step by Step Association Conference on behalf of OMEP in October and went to Eurochild Conference in Bucharest in November. Mercedes and Gaby Fujimoto, our representative at the Organization of American States (OAS), were in Brasilia, Brazil a couple weeks ago to attend the XXI Pan American Child and Adolescent Congress organized by the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN) of the OAS.
Moreover, we have been working to launch a new world project on play. At the time of writing this issue of Words from the World President, I, Eunhye and Jessie, General Secretary of OMEP, have just come back from a study tour to Shanghai and Anji to study the possibility and seek collaboration opportunities. We first met Lisbeth Gouin, OMEP’s Representative at UNESCO, who was in Shanghai at the time, and participated in the Shanghai Play Carnival 2014. I and Jessie then visited various kindergartens in cosmopolitan Shanghai and rural Anji County. You may see the photos here if you have not already done so.
We are already preparing for the World Assembly and Conference 2015, which will be held in Washington DC, USA in next July. The theme of the Conference is Early Childhood Pathways to Sustainability. OMEP-USA is now calling for papers. Please click here or visit www.omep-usa.org for more information. The deadline for submission has just been extended to 27 February 2015. Please join us and share the information with your colleagues and friends. Conference registration will begin on 1 January 2015.
Last but not least, the 2014 Annual Report exercise will be open soon. Similar to last year, National Committees will receive an email invitation from SurveyMonkey with detailed instructions for completing the report for your National Committee directly on SurveyMonkey website.
We are about to embark on another year of exciting work of child rights. I hope we will have your continued trust and support. In the mean time, may this joyous season fill your heart and home with peace, prosperity and happiness.