Press Release – June 24 2021

SOS Children’s Villages elects new President and top leadership

The new leadership commits to implementing important changes to improve safeguarding and the quality of childcare to the highest standard, with transparency and accountability. 


INNSBRUCK, Austria, 24 June 2021 – SOS Children’s Villages, the world’s largest non-governmental organization supporting children and young people without adequate parental care, present in more than 130 countries and territories, has elected Dr Dereje Wordofa as President and Ms Beáta Juvancz as Vice President, effective 24 June 2021. 

The change in leadership comes as the organization moves forward to implement a wide-ranging Safeguarding Action Plan in a commitment to fulfil its promise to keep children safe. In addition, the organization is increasing its efforts to implement the SOS Care Promise, including youth participation, training for care practioners, mental health support and education. 

Dr Wordofa’s early priorities will be to lead changes in the broader governance and culture of SOS Children’s Villages to strengthen programme quality and safeguarding in every corner of the organization.

Dr Wordofa has dedicated his 30-plus-year career to social development and humanitarian work, most recently as the United Nation’s Assistant Secretary General of the UN Population Fund. Before leaving for the UN, Dr Wordofa, 55, served as SOS Children’s Villages Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Africa and the Middle East. 

Ms Juvancz, 54, has been Board Chair of SOS Children’s Villages Hungary since 2018. Ms Juvancz, a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley in Hungary, brings to SOS Children’s Villages extensive experience gained through 30 years in general management, strategic oversight and finance. 

The General Assembly, the highest governing body of SOS Children’s Villages, elected the new President and Vice President today, as well as members to the International Senate, capping off a three-day virtual meeting.

“I am profoundly humbled and honoured by the trust placed in me to be the fourth President of this prominent federation, with more than 70 years of impact,” Dr Wordofa said. “I hope to bring a fresh perspective and new insights based on my experience advocating for the rights of children. 

“I commit to addressing the failings from the past to strengthen safeguarding and programme quality to the highest standard, with transparency and accountability,” Dr Wordofa said. “As President, my job description in one line will be to ensure that every child and young person grows up with the bonds they need to become their strongest selves.”  

For more than three decades, Dr Wordofa has worked in strategic leadership positions at civil society organizations. At the United Nations, he oversaw UNFPA’s progammes worldwide to promote sexual reproductive health and rights. In his capacity, he spoke on behalf of the UN Secretary General to member states and other partners advocating for action on the Sustainable Development Goals.  

Dr Wordofa takes over the role as President from Siddhartha Kaul who announced on 7 May that he would not seek re-election. The General Assembly also voted for members of the International Senate, with 60% of those elected serving for the first time on the 22-member body. 

As president, Dr Wordofa will assume overall leadership of the global federation. He leads the International Senate and ensures a common approach among the governance bodies. The President represents the federation externally and internally. He will work in close cooperation with the Executive Board headed by Chief Executive Officer Ingrid Johansen who joined the organization in January 2021.  

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About SOS Children’s Villages  

SOS Children’s Villages, founded in 1949 by Hermann Gmeiner, is the world’s largest non-governmental organization focused on supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it. 

Child neglect, abuse and abandonment are everywhere. Families are at risk of separation. Locally led, we work in more than 130 countries and territories to strengthen families who are under pressure so they can stay together. When this is not in a child or young person’s best interests, we provide quality care according to their unique needs. 

Together with partners, donors, communities, children, young people and families, we enable children to grow up with the bonds they need to develop and become their strongest selves. We speak up for each child’s rights and advocate for change so all children can grow up in a supportive environment.

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