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Anthony Lake
On 1 May 2010, Anthony Lake became the sixth Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund, bringing to the position more than 45 years of public service.

In 2010 he visited 17 countries on four continents, Haiti twice, and logged over 120,000 miles internationally.

During his career, Anthony Lake has worked with leaders and policy makers across the world. In 2007-2008, he served as a senior foreign policy adviser to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, a role he also performed during the Clinton presidential campaign of 1991-1992. He has managed a full range of foreign policy, national security, humanitarian and development issues at the most senior levels: as National Security Advisor (1993-1997) under President Bill Clinton, and as Director of Policy Planning in President Carter’s administration (1977-1981). He joined the US State Department in 1962 as a Foreign Service Officer.

Upon leaving the government, he served as the United States President’s Special Envoy, first in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and later in Haiti, from 1998 to 2000. His efforts, for which he received the 2000 Samuel Nelson Drew Award, contributed to the achievement of the Algiers Agreement that ended the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. He also played a leading role in shaping policies that led to peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Northern Ireland.

His experience in international development began in the 1970s, as Director of International Voluntary Services, leading the work of this ‘private Peace Corps’. In that same decade, he also served on the boards of Save the Children (1975–1977) and the Overseas Development Council. Over the past 10 years, Anthony Lake has been an International Adviser to the International Committee of the Red Cross (2000-2003) and Chair of the Marshall Legacy Institute, which works in conflict-affected countries to remove landmines and assist survivors, and advance children's rights.

Anthony Lake’s ties with UNICEF are long-standing, dating back to 1993, when he worked with UNICEF’s third Executive Director, James P. Grant, on the organization’s presentation of its flagship publication, ‘The State of the World’s Children’, at the White House. From 1998 to 2007 he served on the Board of the US Fund for UNICEF, with a term as Chair from 2004 to 2007, after which he was appointed a permanent honorary member.

Immediately prior to his appointment with UNICEF, Anthony Lake served as Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees at Mount Holyoke College and a member of the Advisory Council of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and has served on the Governance Board of the Center for the Study of Democracy at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

He obtained a B.A. degree from Harvard in 1961, read international economics at Trinity College, Cambridge, and went on to receive his Ph.D. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1974.

A native of New York, Anthony Lake is married and has three children and five grandchildren.

Entries by Anthony Lake

An Open Letter to the Generation That Will Grow Up With the Sustainable Development Goals

(25) Comments | Posted September 1, 2015 | 10:43 AM

An open letter to a girl born into poverty in September 2015

I am writing to you because this month, the month of your birth, leaders from virtually every country are meeting about the shape of your future.

The 17 global goals they are committing themselves to achieving over...

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A Day of Rage

(6) Comments | Posted August 17, 2015 | 3:29 PM

By Anthony Lake and Geeta Rao Gupta

Friday was a particularly hard day. Work interspersed with outrage.

No, not outrage. Simple rage. Because, among other issues, we were focused on various reports of rape. The terrible rape and enslavement of women and girls in Iraq. The horrific...

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Quel avenir y a-t-il pour les enfants de la Syrie?

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2015 | 11:16 PM

SYRIE - Ce mois-ci, le conflit syrien entre dans sa cinquième année de déchirements. C'est une étape effroyable soulignant quatre années de montée en puissance des violences et des souffrances, sans aucune issue à l'horizon.

Des dizaines de milliers de civils ont perdu la vie. Des millions ont fui. Habitations,...

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To Reduce the Impact of Disasters, Increase the Focus on Children

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2014 | 8:04 PM

This month, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake returned to Japan to see child-led progress in Onagawa, three years after visiting communities affected by the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011

Three years ago, I visited a junior high school in Onagawa. Just 12 weeks earlier, the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami...

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Painting a Happier Picture for Children

(0) Comments | Posted January 2, 2014 | 8:26 AM

Why do we love children's drawings? Because they capture the happy and carefree moments in their lives and ours. They depict the world as children see it -- innocent, bright and uplifting. How often have you smiled at the crayoned images stuck to a refrigerator door, or rediscovered between the...

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A Promise Renewed: A Great Global Ambition and Every Father's Dream

(0) Comments | Posted June 16, 2013 | 11:15 AM

What will you be doing this Father's Day?

Reading homemade cards? Playing catch with your kids? Grilling in the back yard with the family?

We often take such simple pleasures for granted. But, elsewhere, millions of fathers around the world will struggle to help their children survive and thrive.


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First 1,000 Days Last Forever: Scaling Up Nutrition for a Just World

(6) Comments | Posted April 14, 2013 | 8:01 PM

It is entirely fitting that Ireland is hosting the 15-16 April International Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Climate justice in Dublin.

Fitting because it was here, in Ireland, that an historic injustice took place - the Great Hunger of 1845-52, in which one million human beings died, many of them...

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Call To Action Forum Marks A Turning Point In Child Survival

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2012 | 5:11 PM


It is no longer wishful thinking to imagine a world where the child mortality rates in the poorest countries reach those of wealthier nations, and where every child's right to survive can be realized.

That is the encouraging conclusion of several teams of...

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Water And Our World

(1) Comments | Posted March 22, 2012 | 10:00 AM

Today is World Water Day -- since 1993, an occasion to focus public attention on the critical importance of clean water to global health... and human progress.

This year there is much to celebrate: between 1990 and 2010, 2 billion people gained access to improved sources...

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Special Olympics 2011: Including the Most Excluded

(4) Comments | Posted June 25, 2011 | 12:10 PM

This week, thousands of athletes from around the world have gathered in Greece for the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2011. Like all Olympians, these young people are ready to test their skills and strength against their peers in athletic competition. Win or lose, they have all traveled a long...

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Look Beyond the Rubble

(0) Comments | Posted January 11, 2011 | 5:10 PM

Tons of uncleared debris. Tent cities filled to overflowing. Tens of thousands of children in need of protection. Such harsh images of Haiti -- and stark assessments of the on-going crisis there -- are likely to dominate our thoughts this week, as we mark the somber anniversary of the earthquake...

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Right in Principle, Right in Practice

(2) Comments | Posted September 20, 2010 | 1:57 PM

As someone who has welcomed children and grandchildren into the world, I know what it's like to peer in at ten infants through the glass walls of a new-born nursery, imagining the bright futures ahead in the 80 years of life they can expect.

The future for ten newborns in,...

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