Presidents, government ministers, senior United Nations leaders, UNICEF ambassadors, partners, children and young people gathered at events around the world to commemorate UNICEF’s 75th anniversary last week.
âSince its founding 75 years ago in the aftermath of World War II, Unicef has worked for every child, whoever they are and wherever they live, âsaid Henrietta Fore, Unicef Executive Director. âToday the world faces not one but a series of aggravating crises, threatening to undermine decades of progress for children. Now is the time to make UNICEF history, but it is also the time to act by ensuring vaccines for all, by revolutionizing learning, by investing in mental health, by ending the discrimination and fighting the climate crisis. “
To mark the occasion, Unicef held its first Global Forum for Children and Youth (CY21), co-hosted by the governments of Botswana and Sweden. Over 230 speakers from over 80 countries attended the event, including United Nations Secretary General AntÃ³nio Guterres, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, President of the Republic of Botswana HE Dr Mokgweetsi EK Masisi, Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation Matilda Elisabeth Ernkrans, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, Unicef Goodwill Ambassador and Education Advocate Muzoon Almellehan, representatives of over 200 organizations from business, philanthropy, civil society and children and youth. During the event, Unicef partners reaffirmed more than 100 commitments to accelerate results for children and youth.
Around the world, royals, presidents, ministers, government officials and Unicef representatives gathered with children and young people to commemorate the 75th anniversary:
- In Nepal, Unicef hosted a regional event at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation with policymakers, influencers and youth, to renew commitments to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and accelerate action on issues impacting children in the region. A youth statement co-created by nearly 500 South Asian youth was presented.
- At Bellevue Palace in Germany, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Unicef Patron Elke BÃ¼denbender hosted 12 members of the UNICEF Youth Advisory Board to discuss their vision to reinvent the future of every child.
- In Spain, Unicef Spain organized a special anniversary event, in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Letizia, Queen of Spain and Honorary President of Unicef Spain, ministers, mediator, members of Congress, Unicef Spain Ambassadors, partners and other guests, with a round table on the challenges of the protection of the rights of the child in the context of COVID-19.
- In Botswana and Lesotho, 75 letters written by children and young people describing their visions for the future were presented to heads of government and representatives during parliamentary sessions.
- In the Eastern Caribbean, Tanzania and Uruguay, intergenerational dialogues have taken place between youth advocates, government and Unicef representatives on children’s rights issues in which young people shared their ideas, experiences and vision for the future.
- In Italy, school children were invited to make a wish for the birthday of UNICEF and presented to national and regional representatives by the President of Unicef Italy, encouraging the commitment to grant their wishes at events organized with the national firefighters, Unicef Long-time ambassadors of Italy.
Anniversary galas, concerts, exhibitions and other cultural events have taken place across the world with prominent guests, young and old, including:
- In the United States, Unicef Ambassador Sofia Carson has joined Fore’s Executive Director for the Ceremonial Lighting of the Empire State Building in New York. Additionally, 10 national galas featuring Oscar-nominated director Ben Proudfoot’s documentary If You Have were held across the country with $ 8.9 million raised for the work of UNICEF. Special guests included Unicef Ambassadors Orlando Bloom, Sofia Carson, Danny Glover and Lucy Liu.
- In the United Kingdom, the UK Committee for Unicef (Unicef UK) hosted their first Blue Moon gala in London, raising Â£ 770,000 to help Unicef continue its work for children around the world. The gala took place in the presence of Unicef Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham, Unicef British President Olivia Colman, and Unicef British Ambassadors James Nesbitt, Tom Hiddleston and Eddie Izzard, with live musical performances by Duran Duran and Arlo Parks.
- In Eritrea, Moldova, Montenegro, Sierra Leone and the State of Palestine, concerts featuring youth orchestras, choirs and dance performances were held in the presence of presidents, ministers, dignitaries and other special guests.
- In Libya, Nigeria, Serbia, Spain, Turkey and Zambia, photo exhibitions have been launched.
- Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Laos RDP, in Lithuania and Oman, documentaries were produced to take guests on a visual journey through UNICEF’s past, present and vision for the future.
Many singers and musicians around the world have published and dedicated songs to Unicef, including:
- Members of the Swedish pop group ABBA has pledged to donate all royalty payments from their new single Little Things to Unicef.
- Unicef Regional Ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa Yara performed the song ‘We want to live’ and Tanzanian singer Abby Chams performed ‘Reimagine’ at a World Children’s Day concert – the biggest public event in Dubai EXPO 2020 with the two songs released to mark the anniversary.
- In Norway, Unicef Ambassador Sissel dedicated the song âIf I Can Help Someoneâ to Unicef, performing it on a nationwide telethon to help spread the message of hope, passion and getting things done for every child over 75.
Other memorable initiatives include:
- In collaboration with the Monnaie de Paris, millions of commemorative â¬ 2 coins were produced and distributed throughout France.
- The United Nations Postal Administration issued a sheet of special event stamps to mark the anniversary. The sheet of 10 stamps presents the programming and advocacy priorities in the areas of health, nutrition and vaccines, education, climate and water, sanitation and hygiene, mental health and humanitarian response. The national postal services of Croatia and Kyrgyzstan also issued commemorative stamps.
- In Botswana, Denmark, France, Turkmenistan, United States, in Zambia and many other countries around the world, iconic buildings and landmarks have been illuminated in blue to mark 75 years of UNICEF’s relentless work for every child.
- Thanks to a partnership with TED World, five young people TED Talks were launched to amplify the ideas, expertise and vision of young people around the world around the theme of Reimagine. TEDx community events have also been organized in more than 20 countries in partnership with Unicef national offices.
- Unicef headquarters announced plans to sell 1,000 data-driven non-fungible (NFT) tokens, the largest ever created by the UN TVN collection to date, in honor of UNICEF’s 75th anniversary.
For 75 years, Unicef has been at the forefront of global humanitarian crises, armed conflicts and natural disasters to help protect the rights and well-being of every child. In more than 190 countries and territories, Unicef helped build new health and social protection systems, beat disease, provided essential services, education and skills, and developed healthier and safer environments for children and their families.