First meeting of UNICEF Executive Director and Pope Francis in Rome

UNICEF Chief met with His Holiness Pope Francis in Vatican City to discuss children's rights and child migration

Pope Francis shakes hands with UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore

19 November 2018

Vatican, Holy See, 19 November 2018 – UNICEF Executive Director Ms. Henrietta H. Fore met with His Holiness Pope Francis in Vatican City on Thursday, 15 November to discuss migrant and refugee children, the Generation Unlimited Partnership, and the 30th Anniversary Committee on the Rights of the Child, which will be marked in November 2019.

During the private audience with the Pope, Ms. Fore began by thanking him for his moral leadership and messages to the world to welcome, protect and integrate migrants and refugees.



She presented him with drawings by uprooted children from Afghanistan, Colombia, Croatia, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru, as well as Rohyinga refugees and migrant children and young people in Italy.

Thanking Ms. Fore for the gifts, Pope Francis said that the drawings of children spoke straight to his heart.


Drawing for Pope, Guatemala
"The smile of a child represents peace. Take care of this peace and always have it." Jonathan, 11, Guatemala.
Drawing for Pope, Afghanistan
A drawing by nine-year-old Milad tells the story of war and fighting in his neighbourhood in Afghanistan, before his family embarked on the long journey to Croatia.


Their discussions also covered the recently launched Generation Unlimited initiative, as well as the importance of nutrition, clean water, education and measures to address the exploitation of child migrants and child soldiers.

The Holy See supports the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees which provide a continuum of protection and support for all those forced to flee their homelands.

UNICEF has enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Caritas, the charitable development arm of the Catholic Church, for over a decade in 65 countries.

In 2017, UNICEF worked with Caritas in 24 countries, directing nearly $29 million to the organization, mainly on education, water, sanitation and hygiene, and child protection.