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Carol Bellamy biography

© UNICEF/HQ01-0110/Toutounji
Carol Bellamy, UNICEF Executive Director 1995 - 2005

As fourth Executive Director of UNICEF, Carol Bellamy led the agency from 1995 to 2005. During her tenure, Ms. Bellamy focused on five major priorities: immunizing every child; getting all girls and boys into school, and getting all schools to offer quality basic education; reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS and its impact on young people; fighting for the protection of children from violence and exploitation; and introducing early childhood programmes in every country.

Under Ms. Bellamy's leadership, UNICEF became a champion of global investment in children, arguing that efforts to reduce poverty and build a more secure world can only be successful if they ensure that children have an opportunity to grow to adulthood in health, peace and dignity. She challenged leaders from all walks of life to recognize their moral, social, and economic responsibility to invest in children - and to shift national resources accordingly.  

Ms. Bellamy left behind a fiscally sound organization with strong internal controls. During her tenure, she doubled UNICEF's resources from roughly $800 million in 1994 to more than $1.8 billion in 2004.

Notable advances for children during Ms. Bellamy’s tenure at UNICEF include:

  • A 16 per cent drop in child mortality worldwide since 1990, with progress in every region except Sub-Saharan Africa, where AIDS and conflict have devastated health systems and community coping mechanisms

  • A 99 per cent reduction in polio since 1988

  • A 40 per cent reduction in measles since 1999

  • A 50 per cent decrease in diarrhoea deaths since 1990

  • A greater number of children in school than ever before

  • The enactment of national laws and policies in dozens of countries to better protect and service children.

She encouraged the General Assembly to allow children to take part in the UN Special Session on Children in May 2002, and hundreds did, meeting directly with Heads of State to discuss the issues affecting their lives. The ground-breaking summit adopted new global goals for children and provided world leaders with ideas and inspiration for achieving them. (A complete overview is available at https://www.unicef.org/specialsession/.)

© UNICEF/HQ05-0016/Noorani
Carol Bellamy speaks to a girl who was displaced by the tsunami, at a crisis centre for orphans in the town of Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka.

Prior to joining UNICEF, Ms. Bellamy was Director of the United States Peace Corps. Having served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala from 1963 to 1965, she was the first former volunteer to run the organization, which works in more than 90 countries.

Ms. Bellamy has had a distinguished career in the private sector. She was a Managing Director of Bear Stearns & Co. from 1990 to 1993, and a Principal at Morgan Stanley and Co. from 1986 to 1990. Between 1968 and 1971 she was an associate at Cravath, Swaine and Moore.

Ms. Bellamy also spent 13 years as an elected public official, including five years in the New York State Senate (1973-1977). In 1978, she became the first woman to be elected President of the New York City Council, a position she held until 1985.

Ms. Bellamy earned her law degree from New York University in 1968. She is a former Fellow of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and an honorary member of Phi Alpha Alpha, the U.S. National Honor Society for Accomplishment and Scholarship in Public Affairs and Administration. Ms. Bellamy graduated from Gettysburg College in 1963. She was born and raised in the New York area. She is a Mets fan.

Upon leaving UNICEF, Ms. Bellamy has taken a new position as CEO and President of World Learning and President of its School for International Training. World Learning, based in Vermont, is one of the world's first private, non-profit, international educational organizations.



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