The queen of Sweden is in town advocating global child protection initiatives as part of her World Child Foundation, and was the headliner at a Thursday lunch at the Swedish Embassy just hours before another of her initiatives kicked off a music festival featuring electronic dance figure Tiësto.
“It is something we owe each other as human beings," Queen Silvia said of protecting kids, in front of a crowd of stakeholders at the House of Sweden in Georgetown.
Advocates for child protection in both the private and public sector, including Carolyn Miles, president of Save the Children, as well as Susan Bissell, chief of UNICEF’s Child Protection Unit, attended the lunch.
WCF has raised over $80 million for more than 600 projects that protect and aid children experiencing abuse and exploitation, according to the organization. “Regardless of our individual roles, focus areas or expertise, we are all working toward the common objective of protecting the most vulnerable among us — the children,” Swedish Ambassador Björn Lyrvall said.
Queen Silvia’s remarks at the luncheon became anecdotal when she shared with the audience the reason she founded WCF in 1999. A young child shared with her the story of her sexual abuse. From that day on, Queen Silvia said she has worked tirelessly on behalf of children so she can “be their voice so that they may be heard.”
On Wednesday, Queen Silvia visited child advocacy center Safe Shores. The center adopts the “Children’s Advocacy Center” model, which puts multiple professionals in the same room so children who experience abuse do not have to relive the trauma through sharing their stories multiple times, she said.
“I have promoted this model through for almost 10 years now,” she said. “We are proud to support more than 15 of these centers around the world.”
Queen Silvia is also promoting her “Thank You” campaign, which she said acknowledges individuals who have supported children experiencing abuse or exploitation. In partnership with The Global Poverty Project, the Thank You Festival will be held Thursday at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., starring “top-tier EDM” artists, including Dutch disc jockey Tiësto.
“This visit is an opportunity to bring World Childhood Foundation in front of global leaders and key influencers, and with the Thank You campaign to be able to bring the issue of child protection to an entirely new audience,” WCF Executive Director Charlotte Brandin said in a statement.
“Everyone who can support a child — professionally or privately — can feel the value of a relationship with a child and can be re-energized with the power this brings,” Queen Silvia said of the campaign.
Correction (June 27): An earlier version of this story misstated the amount of money the WCF has raised.