(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and Gentlemen.
As a mother, grandmother, and concerned global citizen, I would like to help protect every child’s right to a safe and happy childhood. 16 years ago, recognizing a shocking reality, I founded the World Childhood Foundation in an effort to prevent the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. While it is difficult to discuss child sexual abuse, as a community we recognize that we must initiate this dialogue and share the responsibility to protect all children.
Tomorrow, world leaders will gather at the United Nations to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals, a new set of 17 global objectives for the next 15 years. Among these is the Sustainable Development Goal 16.2, “End abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence and torture against children.”
I am proud to say that World Childhood Foundation has been working towards this goal since 1999. With the help of many companies and individuals just like you, Childhood has invested over 100 million dollars in more than 600 projects in 25 countries around the world.
Last year, my daughter, Princess Madeleine initiated the ThankYou by Childhood Campaign. The ThankYou campaign harnesses the power of music and art to reach out to youth, engage them in our cause, and educate them on how to protect themselves and other children in their communities. I encourage all of you to visit www.thankyou.org this evening, and dedicate a song to someone who helped you have a safe and happy childhood.
Tonight we launch the World Childhood Foundation ThankYou Awards. These awards acknowledge extraordinary individuals and organizations whose care and contributions enable children to thrive. We are honoured to be in the attendance of our 2015 ThankYou awardees, Her Majesty Queen Rania of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Mrs. Marilyn Carlson Nelson, and the IKEA Foundation.
I would like to express my great appreciation for the Gala Steering Committee and the Childhood USA Board of Directors for their conscientious leadership to make this evening possible.
Tonight we celebrate our successes, while acknowledging that there is still much to accomplish to shape a world in which all children are safe from abuse. Let’s all rededicate ourselves to giving all children a nurturing and safe childhood, maybe even a happy childhood, “It is a small world after all” and we can all do something to reach out and to help, thank you all for your support.