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Nane Annan delivers keynote at World of Children Awards

NEW YORK, 18 November 2003 – International and regional school children brought together at UNICEF headquarters for a Global Town Hall meeting challenged the three 2003 World of Children honorees on issues critical to children’s rights.  At the session, Mrs. Nane Annan, a lawyer, painter, children’s book author and wife of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, gave the keynote address and participated in the vibrant discussion.

Eighty students from the UN International School and regional schools dialogued with the World of Children honorees and Mrs. Annan regarding issues ranging from child slavery to the alarming rise of HIV/AIDS among youth worldwide.  The discussion was held in conjunction with the announcement of the recipients of the Sixth Annual World of Children Awards.  Often referred to as the “Nobel Prize for child advocacy” the awards were bestowed as follows:

Fani Lerner, former first lady of Curitiba, Parana, Brazil, was presented with The Kellogg’s Child Development Award, a $100,000 award sponsored by the Kellogg Corporate Citizenship Fund, the founding sponsor and charitable arm of Kellogg Company.  This award recognizes those who have made extraordinary contributions to children by significantly improving their opportunities to learn and grow.   Ms. Lerner was honored for her leadership, which revolutionized social work in Brazil by creating 16 programs for needy children and adolescents, including initiatives to feed, shelter and educate homeless, orphaned, abandoned, physically disabled and mentally handicapped children.

Dr. Martin Eichelberger, founder and president of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and director of emergency trauma and burn services at Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C, was awarded with The Cardinal Health Children’s Care Award, a prestigious $100,000 award sponsored by the Cardinal Health Foundation, the charitable arm of leading health care products and services provider, Cardinal Health.  This award recognizes an individual who has made a significant lifetime contribution to the health and well-being of children.  Dr. Eichelberger has contributed extensively to the field of pediatric trauma and injury control.

Ryan Hreljac, age 12, of Kemptville, Ontario, Canada, was awarded with The Founder’s Award, a $15,000 scholarship, recognizes a young person under age 21, who is making extraordinary contributions to other children.  Ryan founded the Ryan’s Well Foundation at age six and has raised nearly $800,000 since 1998 to build more than 70 wells that help provide fresh water and adequate sanitation in seven African countries.

 “Last year, world leaders pledged at the UN children’s summit to work toward ‘A world fit for children,” Mrs. Annan said.  “There is still a long way to go until every child can grow up free from fear and free from want.  In my travels around the world, I have met countless children who have told me in words, poems or drawings about their most unbearable situation, and yet they have found their way to a school, a kitchen or a caring family.  They stand in front of me, still with hope and trust in their eyes.  We must not let them down.” 

“Today we are honoring persons who keenly understand this, and the world is a richer and improved place when children’s rights and dignity are respected,” expressed Mrs. Annan.

Founder of the World of Children Awards, Harry Leibowitz, said “With these awards we hope to inspire more people to recognize that what really matters is making the world safer, healthier and more caring for children.  By providing these funds and recognition for those who make a critical difference, we seek to raise the voices of children around the world.”   

The World of Children Award finalists were selected from hundreds of global applicants.  The World of Children’s International Advisory Council, headed by boxing legend Muhammad Ali, a UN Messenger of Peace, chose the finalists.

Carlos Gutierrez, chairman and chief executive officer, Kellogg Company, said Ms. Lerner, recipient of the Kellogg’s Child Development Award “serves as an inspiration to all of us that we can do more to alleviate poverty and provide opportunities for the world's most vulnerable children."

Robert D. Walter, chairman and chief executive officer of Cardinal Health praised Dr. Eichelberger, recipient of the Cardinal Health Children’s Care Award, calling him “an exceptional individual whose efforts have touched the lives of thousands of children.”

The World of Children and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF are working to help bring attention to the plight of children around the world and to the children’s advocates who have significantly impacted the lives and well being of children. 

About UNICEF:  Founded in 1946, UNICEF helps save, protect and improve the lives of children in 158 countries through immunization, education, health care, nutrition, clean water and sanitation.  UNICEF is non-partisan and its cooperation is free of discrimination.  In everything it does, the most disadvantaged children and the countries in greatest need have priority.  For more information about UNICEF or to make a donation, please visit www.unicefusa.org or call 1-800-4UNICEF.

World of Children, Inc. (WORLD OF CHILDREN) is a U.S. non-governmental organization located in Columbus, Ohio. Since 1998, the WORLD OF CHILDREN Awards program has recognized 37 honorees from 18 countries who have devoted their lives to making the world a better place for children, awarding more than $800,000 that has been reinvested in helping children.  WORLD OF CHILDREN seeks to identify individuals across the globe who have gone beyond the normal boundaries of their work to advance the rights and well being of children.  By honoring children’s advocates, WORLD OF CHILDREN hopes to bring them, their work and their organizations to the forefront of international acclaim and attention.

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