King attends Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit 2018

[26-03-2018 02:54 PM]

Ammon News - AMMONNEWS - His Majesty King Abdullah II attended the opening ceremony of the Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit 2018, on Monday at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre in the Dead Sea.

President of Panama Juan Carlos Varela, Panamanian First Lady Lorena Castillo de Varela, and a number of former presidents of different nations, Nobel Laureates, and 250 government officials, leaders, academics and representatives of civil society organisations from around the world attended the ceremony.

During the summit, participants will be deliberating on and developing a plan of action to address the challenges facing children impacted by forced migration.

The plan will propose mechanisms for practical and sustainable action to provide education and healthcare for refugee and displaced children, and to safeguard their rights and protect them against exploitation and abuse.

His Royal Highness Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, who is a member of the Steering Committee for the summit, delivered a keynote speech during the opening ceremony.

"Around the world, in countries and regions affected by conflict, or poverty, triggered by man-made or natural disasters, or even by climate change, children are bearing the brunt of the suffering," Prince Ali said.

The summit, His Royal Highness added, is a gathering of people from different backgrounds who all share a strong commitment "to work for a better future for children that is worthy of them" and to put together a collective effort towards ensuring that these children live the lives that they should be living.

Jordan, "in its time-honoured tradition of hospitality no matter how challenging", has put the protection of refugee communities and children at the top of its priorities, Prince Ali said, noting that the Kingdom "is the largest registered and non-registered refugee-hosting country in the world when compared to the size of its population".

"Nearly half of all refugees today are children," His Royal Highness added.

Prince Ali called on participants at the summit to take action on the ground to make a difference in the lives of children.

"Let us utilise this summit to help open the world’s eyes to our children’s dreams and aspirations, because they are today’s hope for a better future," His Royal Highness said.

In his speech, Panama President Varela said: "As a head of state and leader, I feel a special commitment to guarantee every child in my country a fair opportunity and environment to develop, free of any exploitation, abuse, violence and discrimination."

The president praised Jordan’s efforts to protect "refugees that have fled a horrendous ongoing war in Syria and a still unstable regional situation", noting that "more international resources are needed in Jordan and the Middle East region for humanitarian aid and to offer hope to the victims of war".

In a televised message at the ceremony, Her Royal Highness Princess Haya noted that there are more than 15 million displaced children around the globe due to conflict, violence, climate change and poverty.

Princess Haya emphasized the importance of working towards addressing the challenges faced by children worldwide, all of whom have the right to live in safety and freedom and to have access to education and protection.

Delivering a keynote address, Founder of Laureates and Leaders for Children, Kailash Satyarthi said: "I dream of a world where no child needs to carry a passport or a visa. If technology, knowledge and money can flow freely through borders without having to seek refuge anywhere, why can’t children have the same privilege?"
"I dream of a world where all borders and hearts are open to every child. I dream of a world where childhood is not a charity issue, but where the essence of childhood innocence, purity and forgiveness are forces that drive everyday life," Satyarthi added.

In remarks in a televised message, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres stressed the importance of holding the summit to address the challenges facing children worldwide, such as violence, poverty, and climate change.

In a speech at the ceremony, Mohamad Al Jounde from Syria, winner of the International Children's Peace Prize, spoke of his experience as a child refugee who had to flee with his family at age 12 to Lebanon.

"I remember checking the schools every day whether they had a place available, but without any success. I hated that I could not go to school, so I built one. I wanted to make sure that Syrian children could continue their education," he said.

Also speaking at the event, youth delegate from India Shubham Rathore said he started working when he was 13 years old "because my family was poor and could not afford food".

Rathore said he was later rescued from child labour and was able to finish his education as an electrical engineer, urging world leaders to safeguard the rights of children by putting the necessary laws into force.

From Peru, youth delegate Khiabet Salazar highlighted an initiative in her country to encourage young people to defend the rights of children and help ensure they receive the education they deserve.

The opening ceremony also included an opera-style performance by Jordanian child singer and Arabs Got Talent winner Emanne Beasha.

Launched in 2014 by children’s rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Satyarthi, Laureates and Leaders for Children is a movement that mobilises Nobel Laureates, youth, celebrities and other leading thinkers and influencers across disciplines and generations who are champions for children.

The movement was conceived as an engaging platform to establish the groundwork for a more sustainable and forward-thinking leadership capable of safeguarding the future of the world’s children, particularly in the face of global challenges and chronic social predicaments impacting communities worldwide.

The Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit is headed by José Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president of East Timor.

The summit’s Steering Committee includes Prince Ali, Panamanian First Lady Lorena Castillo de Varela, the movement’s founder Satyarthi, human rights activist and President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Kerry Kennedy, and American economist and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University Jeffery Sachs.

The opening ceremony of the summit was also attended by Their Royal Highnesses Prince Feisal bin Al Hussein, Prince Hashim bin Al Hussein, and Princess Rym Ali.

Senate President Faisal Fayez, Royal Hashemite Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh, Adviser to His Majesty and Director of the Office of His Majesty Manar Dabbas, and a number of ministers and senior officials were also in attendance.

International attendees included former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, as well as current and former officials from various nations, Arab and foreign ambassadors to Jordan, and representatives of a number of international organisations and institutions that have received the Nobel Prize.

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