LWF welcomes new UNICEF director

Catherine Russell, UNICEF’s new Executive Director. Photo: McIlwaine/UNICEF
Catherine Russell, UNICEF’s new Executive Director. Photo: McIlwaine/UNICEF

Following five decades of fruitful partnership, LWF urges “stronger collaboration for our shared mission”

(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has welcomed the appointment of the new Executive Director of UNICEF, Ms. Catherine Russell, who took up her post on 1 February. Noting that the LWF has partnered with the United Nations Children’s Fund for over five decades, General Secretary Rev. Anne Burghardt says the global communion of churches would “welcome stronger collaboration for our shared mission.”

In a letter sent to Ms Russell, Burghardt says she looks forward to an opportunity to meet and further discuss ways of collaboration. From its foundation in 1947, she continues, the LWF has had “a commitment to supporting people in need, with a specific focus on the rights of children and their caregivers.”

LWF and UNICEF have been partners for more than five decades, working together to protect the rights of children and give them hope and a future.
Letter from LWF General Secretary Rev. Anne Burghardt and director of World Service Department Ms Maria Immonen

Since 1965, LWF has been a trusted partner for UNICEF, helping to implement multi-sector projects in education, water, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition and health, disaster risk reduction, human rights, community empowerment and early child development. In recent years, the two organizations have worked closely together in 13 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, focusing on child protection, education and livelihoods.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Russell served as Assistant to the U.S. President and director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. She previously served as Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State and was the principal architect of the ground-breaking U.S. global strategy to empower adolescent girls.

As she took up her new post, she noted that “millions of children globally are still reeling from the impact of the COVID pandemic and other crises.” UNICEF, she said, is leading the call to protect their rights and their futures, adding: “I look forward to the work ahead.”

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