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유니세프 60주년 (1946~1959)

2006.12.27
UNICEF was never meant to be here today, in the first decade of the 21st century. Yet today, a world without UNICEF is unimaginable. Brought to life by unanimous vote at the first-ever session of the United Nations General Assembly – the United Nation’s International Children’s Emergency Fund was to provide short-term relief – food, medicine and clothing – to children in a Europe ravished by war. It was the first international organization for children ever. The organization quickly became known as UNICEF, and its first executive director, Maurice Pate, declared “There are no enemy children,” and put children’s needs above politics in the post-war world. At the peak of its activity in Europe, over 6 million children received daily meals and milk, earning UNICEF the nickname ‘milkman to the world’. UNICEF was – and still is today – funded entirely by voluntary contributions, and the first National Committee to support the organization was established, in the United States. The idea to sell greeting cards to help children was born, and rapidly began raising funds, and UNICEF’s global profile. Of course, children around the globe were affected by the World War, and soon the relief effort spread to China and Palestine, then Latin America. Within five years, UNICEF was active in almost 100 countries, and began expanding the scope of its mission, bringing health campaigns to tackle leprosy, trachoma and tuberculosis. There was considerable resistance to the idea of continuing the UNICEF experiment beyond post-war relief, but it was apparent that children faced an ongoing ‘silent emergency’ every day, a spiral of poverty, disease and hunger that kills thousands, and stifles global development. But UNICEF did become a permanent part of the United Nations, and began providing community-based, basic health services, training midwives, providing birth kits, building cold chain networks and developing the idea of mass campaigns to eradicate yaws and battle malaria. Today, it’s commonplace to see celebrities speaking out on humanitarian issues, but in fact, UNICEF pioneered the idea, when Danny Kaye became an ‘Ambassador at Large’, the world’s first celebrity spokesperson for a goodwill cause. The United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of the Child stated that the hunger, poverty, disease, discrimination and ignorance endured by million of children was a violation of their basic rights. The idea that every child had the right to health, education, equality and protection was born, and the landscape of children’s lives was changed forever.
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