Children to take-over United Nations Headquarters on Monday

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In the buildup to November 20 (World Children’s Day), stars and leaders from the worlds of entertainment, government, sport and business will rally for children with UNICEF. Global ‘take-overs’, star-studded events to spotlight most disadvantaged in over 130 countries.

NICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham, President of Chile Michelle Bachelet, singer, songwriter and UNICEF Ambassador P!nk, actress Millie Bobby Brown, singers, songwriters and musicians Chloe x Halle, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and FCB and FCB Foundation are among the many stars, leaders and organisations lending their voices to children for World Children’s Day, UNICEF has announced.

“It’s a fun day with a serious point. A day for children by children to help save children’s lives, fight for their rights and help them fulfill their potential,” said Justin Forsyth, UNICEF deputy executive director, in the Press Release of the organisation.

The day, set for November 20, marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the mobilisation of the first World Children’s Day. Children from around the world will ‘take over’ key roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to help save children’s lives, fight for their rights and fulfil their potential.

13-year-old British star of hit series Stranger Things 2, Millie Bobby Brown, who is backing the initiative, said, “I am so excited for the first ever global celebration of World Children’s Day on November 20th with UNICEF. It’s our day, everyone! A day for us to raise our voices and unite. So let’s do it – in our schools, with our friends, with our families!”

World Children’s Day event at the United Nations, New York, US, on Monday, 20 November

UNICEF will bring together high-profile supporters, influencers and special guests alongside children who represent some of the world’s most vulnerable children to speak out to the international community on issues that matter to them. Singers, songwriters and musicians Chloe x Halle will debut a specially penned track to mark the day. Isabela Moner from Transformers: The Last Knight and Nickelodeon, Logan actress Dafne Keen, Jaden Michael, star of Wonderstruck; Zari, star of the local Afghan version of Sesame Street; and Sherrie Westin, executive vice president of Global Impact, Sesame Workshop will all join UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and 150 children in a take-over of United Nations Headquarters.

Events on World Children’s Day in different parts of the world

In Geneva, around 200 children and young people will ‘take over’ the Palais des Nations, with the participation of the Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) Michael Møller. The French youth music group and UNICEF Ambassadors, Kids United, will perform their version of P!nk’s smash hit What About Us, in an event organised entirely by young people.

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham will release a short film in which he quizzes children about their views of the world. During the heartwarming film, Beckham is seen in conversation with five children asking a series of questions such as what changes they would like to see for children in the future and what rules they would give grown-ups. The film was recorded in New York with children aged 6-10 years-old: Smith (6), Jenna (7), Fiona (7), Jayla (8) and Royce (10).

Beckham said, “This World Children’s Day, we are handing over the reins to children, encouraging them to speak out for each other. One important lesson from my travels with UNICEF is that we need to listen to children about the world they want to live in. On November 20th, children will unite to discuss what matters most to them such as violence, bullying, education and demand a better future for every child.”

In Spain, the mighty FC Barcelona football pitch, home of UNICEF goodwill ambassador Leo Messi, will be taken over by 24 children aged 9 and 10 years-old who will be put through their paces in a practice session with coach Ernesto Valverde, before being joined by the players for the game handshake. Children will also storm the boardroom and take over the roles of president and vice president at the club’s board of directors. Over at Fundació FC Barcelona, children will take over key roles.

Messi said, “My dream is that all the world’s children have the right to live in a safe, comfortable environment in which their health and education are guaranteed.”

In India, 22 special child athletes aged 13-18 years-old will take over the cricket field and play with legendary cricketer and UNICEF goodwill ambassador Sachin Tendulkar and UNICEF deputy executive director Justin Forsyth. At the event, 14 year old Raseel Arora will also unveil a unique idea ‘cricket scoreboard’ idea that recognises girls’ achievements in India.

In Copenhagen, South Korean actor and long-serving national UNICEF Ambassador Ahn Sung-ki will help children take over the work of the world’s largest humanitarian supply warehouse.

In Accra, 10 children from eight African countries will tell the world about the Africa they want during a series of TED Talk-style events called Africa Dialogues. The event will be streamed live, and recordings of the 5-10 minute talks by the children will be disseminated on digital platforms. The children come from Burkina Faso, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Gambia.

Around the world, leaders across levels of government will support World Children’s Day, including prime minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, Taoiseach of Ireland (prime minister) Leo Varadkar, president of France Emmanuel Macron, prime minister of Jordan Hani Al-Mulki, president of Chile Michelle Bachelet and with support from the United States Conference of Mayors, mayors from across the US will participate.

More than 50 organisations globally will turn over roles to children including LEGO, Qantas and H&M Foundation. For example, to celebrate children’s right to play, children will take over the roles of chairman of the LEGO Foundation Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, and chief marketing officer of the LEGO group Julia Goldin. The children will spend the day directing a team of advertising creatives at LEGO® House and LEGO offices in the making of a LEGO stop-motion advert on the power of play to be released early January 2018.

In schools around the world, children will also take over classrooms and assemblies to raise their voices and fund raise in solidarity with the world’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable children.

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