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Today is Universal Children’s Day – established by the UN to promote the welfare of the children of the world. While the ‘generic’ day is celebrated on 20 November, many countries have special Children’s Day’s celebrated throughout the year.

Children are key to all the strategies and activities of the UN – the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), while aimed at benefiting all of humankind, are primarily focused on children. As UNICEF notes, “six of the eight goals relate directly to children and meeting the last two will also make critical improvements in their lives.”

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children” – Nelson Mandela
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From an adult point of view, another important benefit of this day is that it reminds us of the innocence and wonder of being young. It reminds us that we don’t always have to over-complicate matters; that sometimes the best strategy is to approach matters afresh, with curiosity and without prejudice, the way children do by default.

This applies in life, as in the sciences. To quote physicist Frederick Seitz: “A good scientist is a person in whom the childhood quality of perennial curiosity lingers on. Once he gets an answer, he has other questions.” Marie Curie shared this sentiment when she said: “I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale.”

So, on this day, consider the children – may their best interest guide your actions, and may their example inform your ways. Happy Universal Children’s Day!

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