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"Save the Date for the World's Children" 2002: Teleconference and benefit gala dinner in Greece

"Save the Date for the World's Children" 2002: Teleconference and benefit gala dinner in Greece

1 December 2002

McDonald's Hellas and the UN Refugee Agency in Greece joined forces to celebrate 20th November, a day dedicated to children around the world. The date was symbolically chosen as it coincides with the anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention for the Rights of Children (1989). Two jointly organised events, a European Tele-conference and benefit gala dinner, aimed to draw public attention to the problems and special protection needs of refugee children as well as raise funds for UNHCR.

The Tele-conference "Refugee children: a trip with or without destination?", organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, focused on the issue of protecting refugee children and providing them viable and durable solutions. Attended by some 120 persons, a satellite link between Athens, Geneva, Strasbourg and Madrid allowed state officials, Greek parliamentarians from the European Commission, UNHCR experts and academics to debate the topic at hand. Various parameters of protection provided to refugee children and unaccompanied minors were analysed, such as the conditions of hospitality in the countries of asylum, the issue of integration, reunification with their families, access to education and protection from violence.

A benefit gala dinner opened by the Minister of Culture followed the tele-conference. More than 250 guests attended, mainly ambassadors, government officials, members of local authorities, the Directors of UNIC, UNICEF and IOM, heads of non governmental organisations and journalists. The event was generously supported by the corporate sector; over 60 companies bought tickets for the gala, thus proving the factual concern and commitment of companies vis-à-vis humanitarian issues and the sense of social responsibility deriving from their corporate values. Some 40,000 Euros was collected to benefit refugee children in Greece and abroad.

January 2003