Washington, DC (PressExposure) September 02, 2009 -- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon met with Richard Pichler, General-Secretary of SOS Children's Villages, in the Austrian Alps on Sunday. The head of the U.N. warmly congratulated SOS for the charity's six decades of dedication to providing homes and better lives for children around the world.
Mr. Ban Ki-Moon was in Tyrol, Austria, the meeting site, as the keynote speaker at the European Forum Alpbach. The forum is an annual gathering that has taken place in the village of Alpbach since 1945. The setting is a venue for prominent experts, journalists, and politicians to come together to discuss world problems.
This year's forum spotlight was on global political and cultural conflicts.
Such conflicts often wreak havoc in children's lives. SOS Children's Villages operates safe havens for orphaned and abandoned children in 132 countries around the world. In war-torn areas, local SOS staff members including village directors and SOS mothers risk their own lives to protect vulnerable children who have been traumatized by the loss of their families.
U.N. Secretary Long Familiar with SOS Children's Villages
U.N. Secretary-General Ban first became aware of SOS Children's Villages in his home country of South Korea. He encountered SOS again while serving as South Korea's ambassador to Austria, where SOS was founded in 1949.
In Austria on Sunday, Mr. Ban was delighted to accept a booklet from Richard Pichler on SOS's "Strategic Plan 2009-2016." The document outlines SOS's ambitious plans for the future. SOS's work will be an important contribution toward making the rights of children a reality.
The U.N. Secretary-General also assured Mr. Pichler of his commitment to supporting the adoption of the "Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children" at the U.N. General Assembly in fall 2009. SOS Children's Villages International helped develop this important international framework, which has the potential to improve the lives of millions of children without parental care.