Princess Sofia (formerly Sofia Hellqvist) was in South Africa earlier this week to give the opening address at the Global Child Forum as Patron of this year’s Forum. This was her first speech and her first international visit since becoming a royal. Three months in and Sofia is already giving speeches and meeting foreign dignitaries. Solo!
This wasn’t some Duchess Kate-style micro speech, either. Sofia spoke for 4 1/2 minutes. She thanked Graca Machel (pictured above left), widow of Nelson Mandela and former South African first lady, for being patron of the Forum; talked about what Sofia’s seen with Project Playground; then about the Global Child Forum and what it’s trying to achieve.
Sofia said in part:
“There are still clear violations of the rights of the child and it’s important to engage all sectors of the society, including governments, businesses, the civil society and don’t forget the local NGO’s and children themselves. And the main challenge is that all sectors think and work differently, that’s why it’s crucial to gather everyone and take actions together.
“As our beloved activist Nelson Mandela said: it takes a village to raise a child. And that is exactly what Global Child Forum is trying to achieve. Cross sector partnerships to improve children’s rights. Everyone has the responsibility to raise our children to BE free citizens of the world, free from violence in all shapes and to be self depended people. As long as children suffer we have work to do – as individuals and common commitment.”
The Global Child Forum was initiated by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden in 2009 and Silvia has been active with the GCF ever since. The GCF is “an independent, global multi-stakeholder platform for informed dialogue and thought leadership on how to advance children’s rights in support of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Global Child Forum aims at gathering leaders from business, governments, academia and civil society in a joint effort to implement children’s rights. This multi-stakeholder approach should be supported by effective information sharing, exposing leading case studies and learning from best practice from all parts of the world.”
Here is a video of Sofia’s speech. Her speech starts at about 1:15.
Because I criticize Duchess Kate’s speech-giving skills, in order to be fair, I must point out Sofia’s flaws as well. First, she needs to pull her hair back. Second, she looked down at her notes quite frequently which always bugs. Third, she stumbled over her words a few times. I’ll give her a pass this time because she wasn’t speaking in her native language, but it’s something to work on for the future.
Aside from her hair, Sofia looked very professional in her black pinstriped suit and black heels from Gant.
The night before the Forum, Sofia attended a reception at the Swedish embassy in Pretoria, South Africa. Sofia looked excellent in a blue Armani dress she previously wore for her engagement photos. The low ponytail she wore to this reception would have been perfect for her speech.
Photos: Global Child Forum / Svenskdam / Twitter