If we deal with children in a quality way, and if we provide them with good education, we participate in creating a healthier society. Mr. Aleksandar Sasa Djordjevic became UNICEF’s National Ambassador in 2005. On 3 July 2005, UNICEF and its National Ambassador, one of the best European basketball players, held a big and extremely successful fundraising basketball match in Belgrade dedicated to children.
In your opinion, what are UNICEF’s most important values which impact children?
As a UNICEF ambassador for over ten years, I am very familiar with what the UNICEF has done throughout its history, and what it is doing now for children. I am proud to be a part of this team. I really believe that if we manage to instill the values advocated by the UNICEF in a number of children and families, we are giving generations of today’s children a chance for happier childhood. The biggest value that the UNICEF provides is that the solutions it has been working on have resulted in creating equal opportunities for every child so that they can exercise their rights, develop properly and grow up to be contented and accomplished adults.
What, in your opinion, as a parent and a UNICEF National Ambassador, is the most important thing children in Serbia need?
We, the adults, have a huge responsibility. We need to engage with our children more, understand them better and send them the right messages. It is very important that, through our personal example, we show children that we hear them, and that we want to talk to them, resolve problems and celebrate successes together. It is important that we come to a mutual agreement on the obligations that each and every one of us has to have, both in family and in public. This is the foundation of a healthy family and a good team. Adults need to be role models for children, teach them how to demonstrate solidarity and tolerance, and how to respect the principles of fair play and non-discrimination.
What role can sport and athletes have in preventing violence that is increasingly present in society, including in schools?
With their behaviour every athlete needs to set a good example to children, to show them that violence is never an answer to a problem; rather that talking and team work are. Children have to learn this as soon as they start engaging in play or doing sports. This is why parents have such an important role, because they are the ones who first play with children, and it all starts with play when their children are very young. Later, when a child engages in sport in a more active manner, parents need to provide a positive motivation for them and cheer them in the right way. Coaches and teachers, who are also role models for children, are important figures too and they have to demonstrate the best values of sport and team work. By playing sports children learn how to respect rules, cooperate, work towards success and deal with defeat. Sport is an important life skill. Once these values are instilled in them from the get go, children will promote them further when they become famous and successful.
What qualities should a person have in order to become and remain a National Ambassador for UNICEF?
— The UNICEF ambassadors are role models for children and young people. They are willing to defend children’s rights, and, together with the UNICEF, work towards creating a world that fits children. I try to support all UNICEF’s campaigns as much as I can, and I will continue to support them because I believe in the UNICEF values and mission. Together, we can make changes for each and every child.