ACEI Joins UNICEF in Fight for World's Children

Article excerpt

Because so many of us are inclined to think of our membership in a professional organization in terms of the tangible benefits we receive, we sometimes overlook some of the other key benefits available to us. In this case, I'm speaking about ACEI's role as an advocate for children's rights.

Today's problems that affect children are often monumental and ACEI alone cannot solve them. By pooling our resources and seeking opportunities for interaction and networking, however, we can help improve policies and programs more effectively than we can through isolated, individual efforts. Let me give you an example.

Many of you are probably not aware that ACEI represents your interests as a member of the United Nations NGO Committee on UNICEF. The NGO (Non-governmental Organizations) Committee includes groups, like ACEI, that have been granted consultative status with UNICEF. We receive frequent mailings and are invited to send a representative to all meetings, seminars and conferences sponsored by the NGO Committee. Participants have the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the leading children's issues, share their concerns and expertise, help develop strategies for action and otherwise support the work of the UN and the association they represent.

The NGO Committee provides an important forum for open dialogue and joint action by NGOs working in child-related areas. It is governed by an elected board and currently has eight subcommittees that meet regularly to address various issues related to children.

In 1988, the NGO Committee organized a symposium at the UN Headquarters titled, "Educators and the Rights of the Child." ACEI was one of several co-sponsors of this event. The group met to review and promote the Un's Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was subsequently adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989. In giving its support to the Convention, ACEI joined a coalition of more than 120 U.S. and international humanitarian organizations advocating adoption of the landmark bill.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most significant human rights treaty of its kind ever adopted. It calls on all countries to respect and promote the social, political, economic, cultural and civil rights of children regardless of their race, creed, sex or social status. The treaty prescribes that children's rights be given political priority by governments. …