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May 21, 2002

"If you're not beguiling by age twelve, forget it." —Lucy (Charles Schulz)


Over 70 Heads of State addressed the United Nations Special Session on Children earlier this month. Here are excerpts from some of their statements:

The President of Finland, Ms. Tarja Halonen: "Children must have the right to a safe childhood. Its most important elements are love and care. Children, girls as well as boys, must have the right to enjoy their childhood. Children must have the right to receive instruction, gain knowledge and learn skills for adulthood. I would particularly emphasize education for girls. Often it is not considered as important as the education for boys or is denied in practice because of household chores or other responsibilities."

President of the Republic of Croatia, Stjepan Mesic: "Let me ask you a question. When you remember the thousands, the tens and hundreds of thousands of children beggars, labourers, fighters, children who are victims of family violence and sexual abuse, can you say, do you have the courage to say: we are doing everything we can , and this world cannot be better than it is, not even for children? I cannot say that, nor dare I say it. I am convinced taht this world can and must be better for the children!

"Let me ask you another question. When you face information on how many children lack the slightest chance to reach adulthood because they will die of hunger or otherwise curable diseases -- incurable for these children because drugs will never reach them -- or on how many children have no opportunity to attend school and learn at least the essentials, will you have the courage to say: we have done everything that could be done, and we cannot do better in the present-day world; not even for the children? I do not dare say it. I have absolutely no doubt that this world not only must but also can be better -- primarily for the children."

President of Zambia, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa: "As we assemble to deliberate on the future of the world's children in this great city of New York, let us remember the irony that makes this meeting particularly challenging. We know too well after the dreadful events of September 11, 2001, that tomorrow can only be guaranteed for the world's children if we fight emerging threats to peace and personal security for all today. One terrorist act in one country is a terrorist crime against us all. People of New York and the United States of America, may your wounds heal fast and may ground zero remain, for all humanity, a symbol, not of our vulnerability but our unshakeable foundation of mother earth. Collectively, and on behalf of all the world's children, we must pledge: We shall make the world safe from all forms of terrorism -- physical, social, cultural, environmental, and economic."

The 2003 World Forum on Early Care and Education will be held in Acapulco, Mexico on May 13 - 16, 2003. Watch our web site, www.ChildCareExchange.com for details as plans develop.


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