January 23, 2005: Headlines: Directors - Bellamy: Unicef: NGO's: World Learning: Seattle Post Intelligencer: UNICEF head Carol Bellamy aims to triumph past tragedy

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UNICEF head Carol Bellamy aims to triumph past tragedy

UNICEF head Carol Bellamy aims to triumph past tragedy

UNICEF head Carol Bellamy aims to triumph past tragedy

UNICEF head aims to triumph past tragedy


NEW YORK -- Carol Bellamy has witnessed her share of horrors as head of the United Nations children's agency for the past 10 years, from traumatized Iraqi children to starving Sudanese babies to frightened tsunami orphans. Through it all, she says, she's tried to push forward.

"You can't just stand there and be helpless," she says. "You have to do something."

The 63-year-old executive director of United Nations Children's Fund, or UNICEF, who leaves her post April 30, recently returned from Asia's tsunami-devastated regions. Of more than 150,000 people killed, more than a third are believed to be children, and countless more were orphaned.

She says she deals with the suffering she witnesses by taking action. "Are we doing something, are we doing enough, can we do more?" she says she constantly asks.

In an interview with The Associated Press in her office overlooking the East River last week, Bellamy spoke of concentrating UNICEF's attention on disease prevention, rebuilding schools, and finding ways to make children happy again.

An example of the latter: In Sri Lanka, Bellamy said she saw a boy happily playing with a cricket bat handed out by volunteers - an image of progress that sticks with her.

"Maybe later he was crying and feeling terrible again, but he was at least laughing at that point, he was OK at that point," she said.

Bellamy has always tried to look beyond adversity. As a schoolgirl growing up in New Jersey, if she did badly on a test, her response was "to repress that and go on to the next one."

She made that comment in 1985 after losing to Ed Koch in the New York City mayor's race. She was the first woman to run for City Hall, after several years as the first woman president of the City Council.

"I just go on to the next thing," she said at the time.

Not that Bellamy isn't shaken by the hardship she encounters as executive director of UNICEF, overseeing more than 7,000 people in more than 150 countries.

Touring villages nearly swept away by the tsunami, she recalled she was stopped cold by their eerie silence - areas that were once bustling, but now "so quiet because everyone was gone."

Under her leadership, Bellamy says, UNICEF has strengthened its capacity to respond rapidly to emergencies like the tsunami, and has emphasized restoring normalcy and routine - like schooling - in disrupted communities.

The organization also has increased support for fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic and child violence and exploitation, she said.

"It was a great organization when I came here," said Bellamy, who talks fast and gestures excitedly with her hands. "But I think I've strengthened it and made it more relevant."

She's not without critics. The Lancet, a respected British medical journal, recently wrote that she had misdirected UNICEF's attention toward children's rights and away from children's health.

Bellamy said the criticism was unfounded because such basic children's issues cannot be separated.

"You don't say, 'We're doing rights, not health,' or 'We're doing rights, not education,'" she said. "It's all connected."

Bellamy arrived at the job in 1995 from a post as director of the Peace Corps under former President Bill Clinton, 30 years after she'd served as a volunteer for the organization in Guatemala.

As a volunteer, she taught families to boil water to prevent disease, and promoted immunizations and the building of latrines - lessons of child survival that are the building blocks for the work she now promotes at UNICEF.

Clinton paid tribute to Bellamy last week, as it was announced that she'd be replaced after two five-year terms - the maximum under term limits - by outgoing Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman.

"Carol has been a strong and effective voice on behalf of the world's most vulnerable children, leading the fight against poverty, disease, abuse and discrimination," he said in a statement.

Donna Shalala, secretary of health and human services under Clinton and a longtime Bellamy friend, described her as "funny, intense and smart," and told the AP that "people have always underestimated her skill because she doesn't have a huge ego, and she has always put children first."

Single and with no children of her own, Bellamy is looking forward to her new job: heading the Brattleboro, Vt.-based World Learning and its School for International Training. The group prepares students and professionals to work in international development.

"It lets me stay involved, in a small way, in trying to improve cross-cultural understanding," Bellamy said. "This is a small world and we don't all have to love each other, but a little bit more tolerance would be useful."

When this story was posted in January 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Ask Not Date: January 18 2005 No: 388 Ask Not
As our country prepares for the inauguration of a President, we remember one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century and how his words inspired us. "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

January 15, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: January 15 2005 No: 375 January 15, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
Bellamy finishing term - Veneman to head Unicef 15 Jan
230 RPCVs volunteer for Crisis Corps 14 Jan
Peace Corps Fund needs silent auction items 12 Jan
Matt Gould in one-man Peace Corps show in Hollywood 12 Jan
Taylor Hackford's "Ray" Nominated for Golden Globe 12 Jan
Ambassador Johnson shares memories of Thailand 11 Jan
Senator Dodd suggests PC return to Venezuela 11 Jan
Ambassador Hull wants PC to return to Sierra Leone 11 Jan
Poiriers unhappy with PC investigation of missing son 10 Jan
Emile Hons reflects on the Deborah Gardner murder case 10 Jan
Judge Paul A. Bastine criticized for stalling Divorce 6 Jan
Volunteer Patricia D. Scatoloni dies in Macedonia 4 Jan
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Senator Norm Coleman, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee that oversees the Peace Corps, says in an op-ed, A chance to show the world America at its best: "Even as that worthy agency mobilizes a "Crisis Corps" of former Peace Corps volunteers to assist with tsunami relief, I believe an opportunity exists to rededicate ourselves to the mission of the Peace Corps and its expansion to touch more and more lives."
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In the new session of Congress that begins this week, RPCV Congressman Tom Petri has a proposal to bolster Social Security, Sam Farr supported the objection to the Electoral College count, James Walsh has asked for a waiver to continue heading a powerful Appropriations subcommittee, Chris Shays will no longer be vice chairman of the Budget Committee, and Mike Honda spoke on the floor honoring late Congressman Robert Matsui.
RPCVs and Peace Corps provide aid  Date: January 4 2005 No: 366 Latest: RPCVs and Peace Corps provide aid
Peace Corps made an appeal last week to all Thailand RPCV's to consider serving again through the Crisis Corps and more than 30 RPCVs have responded so far. RPCVs: Read what an RPCV-led NGO is doing about the crisis an how one RPCV is headed for Sri Lanka to help a nation he grew to love. Question: Is Crisis Corps going to send RPCVs to India, Indonesia and nine other countries that need help?
The World's Broken Promise to our Children Date: December 24 2004 No: 345 The World's Broken Promise to our Children
Former Director Carol Bellamy, now head of Unicef, says that the appalling conditions endured today by half the world's children speak to a broken promise. Too many governments are doing worse than neglecting children -- they are making deliberate, informed choices that hurt children. Read her op-ed and Unicef's report on the State of the World's Children 2005.
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Former Peace Corps Deputy Director Bill Moyers leaves PBS next week to begin writing his memoir of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Read what Moyers says about journalism under fire, the value of a free press, and the yearning for democracy. "We have got to nurture the spirit of independent journalism in this country," he warns, "or we'll not save capitalism from its own excesses, and we'll not save democracy from its own inertia."
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Is Gaddi Leaving? Is Gaddi Leaving?
Rumors are swirling that Peace Corps Director Vasquez may be leaving the administration. We think Director Vasquez has been doing a good job and if he decides to stay to the end of the administration, he could possibly have the same sort of impact as a Loret Ruppe Miller. If Vasquez has decided to leave, then Bob Taft, Peter McPherson, Chris Shays, or Jody Olsen would be good candidates to run the agency. Latest: For the record, Peace Corps has no comment on the rumors.
The Birth of the Peace Corps The Birth of the Peace Corps
UMBC's Shriver Center and the Maryland Returned Volunteers hosted Scott Stossel, biographer of Sargent Shriver, who spoke on the Birth of the Peace Corps. This is the second annual Peace Corps History series - last year's speaker was Peace Corps Director Jack Vaughn.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

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Story Source: Seattle Post Intelligencer

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Directors - Bellamy; Unicef; NGO's; World Learning



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