20 Years - The Convention on the Rights of the Child


Speakers participating for the Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

UN Leaders
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman
UNICEF Executive Board President Oumar Daou

Master of Ceremony
UNICEF Advocate for Children Affected by War Ishmael Beah


Jeroo Billimoria, Executive Director, Aflatoun International
Jeroo Billimoria is a serial social entrepreneur who has founded six organizations including Child Helpline International and Aflatoun. Through her work, Billimoria has impacted the lives of millions of children.  She has received much recognition for her work including awards from Ashoka, and the Schwab and Skoll Foundations.

Aflatoun is an international NGO that provides children with basic life skills, encourages them to save their resources and start social and financial microenterprises. Through social and financial education, children are empowered to make positive changes in their lives and communities, eventually breaking the cycle of poverty in which many find themselves.  Aflatoun is leading a new social movement to promote child financial literacy on a global scale.

Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, General Secretary, World YWCA
For the last twenty years, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, from Zimbabwe, has worked on issues of women and children's rights. Active in the women's movement, she has focused on violence against women, peace with justice, property rights and HIV and AIDS. Gumbonzvanda is a trained human rights lawyer with extensive experience in conflict resolution. She has worked for UNICEF and UNIFEM.

World YWCA is a global network of women leading social and economic change in 125 countries. It advocates for peace, justice, health, human dignity, freedom and care of the environment, and has been at the forefront of raising the status of women since it was founded in 1855. World YWCA is a member of the Alliance of Youth CEO.  She founded Rozaria Memorial Trust which supports HIV positive children in developing countries.

Archbishop Felix Machado, World Day of Prayer and Action for Children (DPAC) Planning Committee Member
Ordained as Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Nashik, India in 2008, Archbishop Machado is recognized as a champion of inter-religious dialogue.

DPAC is an interreligious movement involving people of religion and goodwill who are committed to building a world fit for children.  Inspired by the CRC, committed to helping achieve internationally agreed goals for children, and guided by religious traditions, participants work to protect child rights. In their prayer, meditation, worship and action, they express the hope that the world can indeed be made fit for children.

Tim Shriver, Chairman, Special Olympics International
As Chairman of Special Olympics, Timothy Shriver serves 3.1 million Special Olympics athletes and their families in 175 countries. He has helped transform Special Olympics into a movement that focuses on respect, acceptance and inclusion for individuals with intellectual disabilities in all corners of the globe.

After taking the helm at Special Olympics in 1996, Shriver launched the organizationís most ambitious growth agenda, leading to the recruitment of more than 2 million new athletes.  He has also worked with world leaders to advance the growth of the Special Olympics mission and vision while challenging nations to adopt more supportive and just policies.

Emilio Garcia Mendez, Child Rights Expert
Emilio Garcia Mendez is recognized as one of Latin Americaís foremost experts on child rights. A national of Argentina, Garcia Mendez is a lawyer and currently serves as a member of the National Parliament of Argentina. He worked with UNICEF from 1990-99, including as Regional Adviser on Children's Rights for the Latin American and Caribbean region.  Garcia Mendez has authored many publications related to children's rights and has a particular expertise on juvenile justice and social policies. He is President of SUR-Argentina Foundation, devoted to Child Rights and holds the Chair of Criminology at the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Buenos Aires.

Ioana Maria Barbu, Young Activist
Ioana Barbu is a national of Romania. She was selected by UNICEF to participate in the global youth consultation on the UN Violence Study in New York in 2006 where she proved to be a youth leader who is passionate about child rights.  Barbu is the founder and president of a Romanian NGO that promotes youth leadership. She also works with a local NGO that develops programmes and services for children and adults with disabilities.  She previously worked as a volunteer for Save the Children Romania.

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