Hemispheric Agenda for children considered as directing council meets in Washington


October 21, 1998

As the directing council of the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IACI) opens its its four-day 73rd annual meeting in Washington Wednesday, attention is focussed on overhauling the Institute’s programs to lift the situation of the hemisphere’s children.

"We are all aware that the strength of the system will be equal to its effectiveness in dealing with the weakest of its members," Organization of American States (OAS) Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Christopher R. Thomas, opened the meeting stressing. He told the Institute’s members theirs was "a most important specialized organization within the inter-American system... a system that deals with the concerns of people, and children are among the weakest of its members."

Ambassador Thomas went on to remark to the delegates from OAS member countries that "globalization has exposed children everywhere to problems, challenges and dangers, sometimes foreign to their societies and cultures. It has broadened the dimension and intensified the urgency of your involvement."

Another official addressing the opening session was Honduran representative to the Institute, Dr. Fernando Tomé Abarca. Reviewing the progress it had made over its seventy-one year life, Dr. Tomé, the chairman of the directing council, commented on the process of renewal which involved a modernize structure and program for the Children’s Institute. He said this current session would consider how to confront the major challenges that affect children.

The agenda also includes a report by IACI Director General Rodrigo Quintana which contains a progress report on programs underway in the Americas; proposed amendments to the statute; and plans for the upcoming 18th Pan American Child Congress.

Before its wrap-up on Saturday, the meeting will elect the chairman and vice chairman to run the directing council for the next two years.

Formally established in 1927 by the IV Pan American Child Congress, the Inter-American Children's Institute advocates for the creation of public policy on behalf of children and articulates a relationship between state and civil society in this regard. It also promotes critical awareness of the problems affecting children in the Hemisphere.