Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s video message marking the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in New York today:
Girls and boys, excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I am so pleased to join you in congratulating UNICEF on its seventieth anniversary.
We recognize all that this remarkable organization has done for children and our world. Lives saved. Lives improved. Lives like mine.
I would not be where I am today without UNICEF. When I was six years old, the Korean War broke out. I had to flee my village. I was hungry and in need.
That’s when the United Nations came. I was one of millions of Korean children who received food packets from UNICEF. As Secretary-General, I have wanted to do for other children what the United Nations did for me.
Today, more children have been uprooted from their homes than at any time in modern history. They deserve the same hope that UNICEF gave me. On the seventieth anniversary of UNICEF, my wish for children is this: for every child — hope.
Congratulations again. Let us all rededicate ourselves to advancing the human rights and well-being of every child, everywhere.