Remembering the past and meeting the challenges of the future at the Annual Meeting

May 11, 2012
Last week, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF had the pleasure of hosting more than 300 board members, volunteers, and donors, along with corporate, foundation and NGO partners, celebrities, and media and U.S. government agency representatives at the 2012 Annual Meeting. Together, we heard from UNICEF experts on the latest trends and technology helping to reduce the gaps in services for millions of children. More than 16 partners from the development community, finance, media, technology, our volunteer corps, and civil society gave snapshot style presentations about their support of UNICEF’s work. CNN’s inimitable Fareed Zakaria presented an evidence-based case for mankind’s ability to triumph over impossible odds and solve problems related to development, technology, medicine and human rights.  This of course includes the daunting challenge of bringing to an end the daily, preventable deaths of some 21,000 children around the world.

Caryl M. Stern, President & Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Fund for UNICEF at the 2012 Annual Meeting. | © U.S. Fund for UNICEF

ABC News’ Cynthia McFadden led a spirited discussion on the challenges and opportunities inherent in UNICEF’s response to humanitarian emergencies.  UNICEF Ambassador Lucy Liu shared some of her personal reflections on her eight years as a volunteer and encouraged those present to stay engaged in our work for the survival, protection and development of all children.  Some of the most poignant elements of our annual meeting related to the remembrance of two beloved UNICEF Ambassadors who are no longer with us: Danny Kaye and Audrey Hepburn.  Dena Kaye and Sean Hepburn Ferrer recalled the influence of UNICEF on their family lives and personal values.  Dena sang a beautiful Japanese nursery rhyme that her father had memorized for her on a long-ago UNICEF trip.  On what would have been her 83rd birthday, Sean spoke of his mother’s relentless efforts to raise awareness and help for the world’s children through UNICEF.  Private citizens, CEOs, and college students alike were on hand to immerse themselves in our mission and our goals for the coming year.  All of us believe in zero and will do whatever it takes to make the way for that possibility to become a reality within the next generation.