In the last week of April, between 25-26 April 2017, ChildPact members gathered in Belgrade for the annual General Assembly. George Bogdanov, the Executive Director of the National Network for Children in Bulgaria, was elected as the new President of ChildPact, while Donjeta Kelmendi, the Executive Director of the Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection in Kosovo, was elected as the new Vice President. New members of the Steering Committee were elected: Zini Kore (Albania), Arshak Gasparyan (Armenia) and Saša Stefanović (Serbia).
The two days meeting provided the framework for the official handover of the former Secretary General Mirela Oprea to the new Secretary General, Cristina Rigman, who has been in charge since March 2017.
Membership procedures and formal acceptance of newly registered members and statutory changes were discussed, as well as ChildPact Strategy 2016-2020, the annual report, the activity plan and budgeting, the second implementation of the Child Protection Index and the external relations of the coalition in the next phase.
We publish below the welcoming address of the new President of ChildPact, George Bogdanov.
I decided to stand for election as President of ChildPact because I believe that we have to have a strong regional coalition of children’s rights and child protection networks who are able to successfully bring children’s issues to the political agenda. We, as national coalitions, have to be strong and well developed structures that have the capacity to work together with our national governments and influence their decisions in the field of child protection, education, juvenile justice, health and other important policy areas related to children.
ChildPact is a great organization and I would like to give my contribution as an expert, but also give my heart to the cause in which I believe. In our region, the child focused organizations are struggling with a lot of problems, such as growing xenophobia, ethnic issues, limitations of democracy and insufficient financial resources. All of these stand in between our hard work and achieving our goals to make children happy and independent citizens in our societies. In our work at ChildPact we have to openly face these limitations and strive to overcome them, so we make our dreams for the children in the region possible.
As elected President of ChildPact, I would like to focus more on our internal structures in order to make the organization more transparent, better-functioning and more results oriented. We have to make ChildPact stronger, to follow our principles and our vision to improve children’s lives, and to support our member organizations to grow. My wish for ChildPact is that after two years, when the mandate is finished, we can say “Wow, what an excellent job we did!” And I am sure that we will do so, because I see the passion and the desire of all of us.
In this message I would like to thank Mariana Ianachevici, our former President, and also Mirela Oprea, our former Secretary General, for their work and for leading ChildPact during the very difficult times of its forming as an organization. Now it is time for the organization to grow even more, and for this new phase we have our new General Secretary, Cristina Rigman. Her excellent energy and our new very motivated Steering Committee: Donjeta Kelmendi (Vice President, Kosovo*), Zini Kore (SC member, Albania), Arshak Gasparyan (SC member, Armenia) and Saša Stefanović (SC member, Serbia), will be fundamental.
To all of us I wish a lot of success in our new role and let’s make remarkable changes for children’s rights and child protection in our region, together with all ChildPact members!