Statement by Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani on World Children's Day
Children of today, officials of tomorrow
The Chairman of the Assembly of Experts, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, says the future of Iran and the entire world lies in the hands of children.
Mr. Rafsanjani, who also leads the Expediency Council, made the comment at a meeting with a group of children on the eve of World Children's Day.
Hashemi Rafsanjani further said that followers of all divine faiths have always prayed for emergence of a world free of violence and abuse.
Hashemi Rafsanjani praised UNICEF for choosing the title “A World Free of Violence” for the current year, saying that education and child psychology are what the world needs most today and tomorrow and that the only way to pursue that end would be through accessibility of education in the farthest reaches of the world.
Recalling the atrocities criminals have committed throughout history, Mr. Rafsanjani said studies suggest that most dictators were influenced by violent behavior they were exposed to during their childhood before reaching the point of taking pleasure in the suffering of fellow humans.
He urged children and instructors to comply with ethical principles and said educational discipline – training which produces moral or mental improvement – constitutes a practice for leading a life with detailed planning in the future.
He likened children to mirrors which reflect what they see and hear adults and instructors do and say; officials should place enlightening images in front of these mirrors, he said, adding that failure to educate children properly is like failure to treasure the divine trust.
The chairman of the Expediency Council said that the designation of a day as World Children's Day is a great initiative by the United Nations to draw the attention of nations and governments to children.
At the meeting, the UNICEF Representative in Iran, Christian Salazar, presented a report on the activities of the UN Children’s Fund and said one the objectives of UNICEF is to urge governments to institutionalize efforts to eliminate child abuse through cultural channels.
With regard to children attending the session, he said select children from different nationalities represent millions of children who hold the future of the world in their hands.
Praising the talent of Iranian children, the UNICEF official said these children guarantee a promising future for Iran.
Also at the session, a number of children recited poems and performed onstage, acting out the way they feel about their environment.