KHF Outreach
29th International Arab Children's Congress Focuses on Children's Security
12th July 2009

Amman, Jordan (12 July 2009) - The 29th International Arab Children's Congress (IAAC) took place from 5-11 July under the theme "The Right to Protection ... Whose Responsibility?" under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Noor. Nearly 140 teenagers aged 14-16 from seventeen countries convened in Amman to discuss the well-being of children in light of risks such as war, pollution and the global financial crisis. This year's guests of honor were Lebanese singer Najwa Karam and Jordanian actor Zuhair Nobani.

"By bringing together young people from all over the world at a stage in their lives when they can begin to appreciate common values within their diverse perspectives, we hope to lay the groundwork for a more respectful and cooperative world,” Queen Noor said.
Her Majesty Queen Noor greets participants at the 29th IACC
Throughout the week, participants focused on the impact of war on children’s rights and safety as well as the effects of violence, pollution and the global economic crisis on children’s well-being. The participants discussed environmental, educational and protection issues for the vulnerable.
During the closing ceremony, the teenage participants urged world leaders to implement laws and legislation protecting children from all forms of violence, including war, and to hold aggressors accountable. Participants also called for an end to nuclear proliferation by signing the declaration of Global Zero.
Launched in December last year, Global Zero is an international initiative of over 100 world leaders, of which Her Majesty Queen Noor is a Founding Leader. The declaration came in response to the growing threats of proliferation and nuclear terrorism and seeks for a phased, verified elimination of nuclear weapons.
IACC participants pose underneath the Global Zero declaration containing their signatures

The young IACC participants drew up a list of recommendations to be sent to the UN, UNICEF and the Arab League. Their recommendations included calls for the establishment of protection centers for orphans and homeless children, the utilization of clean and renewable energy, the reduction of factories and the planting of trees, the establishment of educational institutions away from polluted areas, the provision of free elementary and high school quality education for all children, and the use of space exploration for the research and development of medicines.

Seeking to increase enrolment in schools, the youths also suggested a 'School Backpack' program to distribute school supplies worldwide in order to encourage underprivileged children to attend schools.

The Arab Children's Congress was instigated by Her Majesty Queen following the 1980 Arab Summit Conference in Amman. The purpose was to give youth aged 14-16 the same opportunity as national leaders, to express their needs and aspirations and to be heard by decision makers in the Arab world.

In 2004, the congress began to host participants from European and Asian countries, becoming an international event that helps bridge cultures, abolishes stereotypes and raises awareness on democratic principles and human rights.

Delegations from the US, Italy, France, Pakistan, Russia and Indonesia participated in this year’s event, along with their Arab peers.

The opening ceremony featured a presentation of a spectacular dance performance Winds of Change by PAC’s MISK Dance Troupe and a presentation of creative achievements by four Jordanian youth, in addition to a procession of all delegations in their traditional costumes accompanied by music played by the Jordanian Armed Forces' Brass Band.  
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