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European Commissioners mark UNICEF’s birthday with “tiny stories” looking towards a better world for children

© UNICEF/UNI43123/Mihanoff
Circa 1946 in Egypt, children, including two boys in a toy wagon made from salvaged wood, play in the UNRRA refugee camp in Tolumbat. Ante Peruvici, holding the teddy bear, is from Yugoslavia.

BRUSSELS, 16 December 2016 - A quartet of senior European Union Commissioners have joined renowned novelists Paolo Coelho, Chimamanda Adichie and some 200 other writers, poets, and bloggers to pen their hopes for the world’s children in an initiative inspired by this week’s 70th anniversary of the United Nations children’s agency, UNICEF.

The four -- European Commission Vice President, Kristalina Georgieva; Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides; Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn; and Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, were each invited to write a “tiny story” of just seven sentences to express their vision for children.

“What I want for every child is that they share my good fortune and go to school and stay there to fulfil their dreams”, wrote Ms Georgieva.  She added: “Dreaming is good but we can go further. Together we must turn the dream of an education for every child into reality”.

Education was the also theme of Mr Stylianides’ contribution, although he put the focus on the situation of children living in countries experiencing conflict and other crises.

“When I was a child in Cyprus, my classmates and I faced numerous challenges during our school years. We were not sure what the future had in store, but somehow we knew education would be the key to it,” wrote the Commissioner.

“Now I know that children in emergencies are facing many more difficulties; access to education is at risk for millions of them.

In his contribution, Commissioner Mimica highlighted the need to better protect children in a world where many dangers remain hidden or unacknowledged.

“I want to live in a world where every boy and girl is free from violence,” he wrote. “Where communities can break the wall of silence and where governments can enforce the laws which protect their people”.

For his part, Commissioner Hahn made a plea: “I wish #foreverychild a life in peace, freedom and prosperity, in a word full of opportunities.” He concluded: “I wish #foreverychild to grow older than UNICEF’s anniversary we are celebrating today”.

The stories have been shared widely on social media platforms, and form part of activities marking the creation of UNICEF in December 1946. A selection of other UNICEF tiny stories can be found here

UNICEF was established by the United Nations General Assembly to help children in post-war Europe, China and the Middle East. Funded entirely through voluntary contributions from governments, civil society, the private sector and concerned citizens, it rapidly expanded its reach and by 1955 was working for children in more than 90 countries.

Today, UNICEF is the world’s largest children’s organization, working with partners in 190 countries and territories and through the efforts of 13,000 national and international staff to reach every child.


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

To find out more about UNICEF, go to

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For more information contact:
Simon Ingram, Senior Communication Advisor, UNICEF Brussels Office, Tel: +32 (0)491 90 51 18,




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