OPENING SPEECH BY LIC. ALEJANDRO BONASSO,
 DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE IIN


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Good evening to everyone.  Please allow me to welcome you to this house and thank you for responding to our call within the spirit of the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the IIN. 

It has not been easy to be able to select such a distinguished group of presenters, commentators and participants as we will have for this cycle.

I think this is a sort of present that the Uruguayans make to themselves by getting together a select group of pediatricians, technical personnel and professionals of the region and at the same time is a service to the region made with the same spirit that inspired the founders of the Inter-American Children's Institute. Even though the IIN has its headquarters in Montevideo, its founders always thought in terms of its service to the region, beyond national borders.Without going any further I am reminded of Dr. Enrique Rodríguez Fabregat, Minister of Public Instruction, speaking at the founding ceremony of the IIN in 1927, where he availed himself of the opportunity to proclaim what he called "The table of the Rights of the Child", many of its articles being instruments of great validity even today. Let's highlight some:"Right to maintain and develop his/her own personality" (Art. 4). "Right to social consideration" (Art. 8) all for the child; abolition of the juridical distinction between legitimate and natural child". Sentences such as "the child is only a child, he has the right to have parents".  

To remember those documents inspires us again. There was talk about transforming of orphanages and reformatories for minors, where the block system destroys individual personality, into family colonies of education and work organized in small social groups where a father and a mother could share the affection for their own children with a small group of homeless children. Many of those concepts, seventy years later, are being reflected upon and INAME is making of them objects of revision.  

It is surprising to find then a right generally forgotten in future revisions: the right to happiness (Art. 9) "The right to be a child in order to become a man, the right to mold, through a healthy body and a clean soul,  the workers of freedom, the architects of the world conscience."

I thought that remembering Dr. Rodríguez Fabregat on this occasion, as well as quoting those passages that are at the foundation of this house, would be a source of inspiration to all of us. At the same time, as Director General, I feel that somehow it is you and your work that are fulfilling the mission of this institution as a specialized organization of the Organization of America States to look after the affairs relating to children.  

To be a specialized organization for children today is not easy because of the broad spectrum of concerns and at the same time, the Statutes of the IIN require of us to be a forum and place for dialog.

I hope that through the different modules of this seminar we will have the opportunity to set in motion a round table of dialog that will be replicated both in real time and through the Internet. This dialog welcomes input from all spheres and levels, multidisciplinary perspectives, people involved with the public sector, people holding high responsibilities, people in the non-government sector. The IIN is doing a lot of work through its web page, which is often visited and provides a good service to people in the region working on topics related to children. 

The Executive Committee of the Inter-American Children's Institute met this year for the first time via Internet. 

There is very rich material published in the web page. This technical vehicle developed in Uruguay will provide a service to the region, with the intention that other countries will follow the lines of reflection and analysis and will share their own conclusions and recommendations.  

So, I welcome you again, I thank you for being here and I hope that you will share and fulfill the high expectations that I have today, dealing with a topic as important and transcendent as the family.

Thank you very much.