August 31 2009

Ban Ki-Moon thanks SOS Children’s Villages for 60 years of dedication to children and their families around the world

31/08/2009 - Under a deep blue sky, and against the spectacular backdrop of the Austrian Alps, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, met with Mr. Richard Pichler, Secretary-General of SOS Children’s Villages International in the small Tyrolean village of Alpbach.

Photo: Gerhard Berger
The two Secretary-Generals at the "summit meeting in Tyrol's mountains - Photo: G. Berger

Every year, the European Forum Alpbach brings together a great number of high-level representatives and experts from the fields of science, politics and economics. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon was this year’s special guest and also most eagerly awaited key note speaker. He first became aware of SOS Children’s Villages in his home country and later during his days as South Korea's ambassador to Austria, and therefore congratulated the organisation on its 60 years of successful work for the children. He was also delighted to hear about the organisation’s ambitious plans for the years to come which will be an important contribution towards making the rights of children a reality.

Photo: Gerhard Berger
Mr. Ban Ki-Moon gratefully accepted the "Strategies 2009-2016"" - booklet he was given - Photo: G. Berger 

The UN Secretary-General also assured Mr. Pichler of his commitment to supporting the adoption of the “Guidelines for the alternative care of Children” at the UN General Assembly in autumn 2009. SOS Children’s Villages International was a leading organisation in the development of this important international framework which has the potential to improve the lives of many million children.

The European Forum Alpbach was founded in 1945 by Otto Molden in an attempt to reconstruct intellectual life in Europe; the symposium has taken place every year in the Tyrolean village of Alpbach ever since. The open nature of the discussions in Alpbach allow partners from all sides of public debate to be brought together at one table. Over the years, participants in these talks have included scientists, journalists, philosophers, politicians and other individuals of recognized authority on the topics discussed, individuals such as Indira Ghandi, Helmut Kohl, Karl Popper and Yitzak Rabin, to name but a few.