The Vice-President of SOS Children’s Villages International supports the President of the global federation of 117 member associations and acts on his behalf when necessary. As such, she is a member of the International Senate, and chairs its Programme and Audit Committee.
Dr Gitta Trauernicht was elected Vice-President of SOS Children’s Villages International in June 2012, and re-elected for a second four-year term in June 2016. Her association with the organisation began in 2004 when she became a member of the Supervisory Council and Board of SOS Kinderdorf Deutschland.
As sociologist, teacher and politician, Dr Trauernicht has advocated for the rights of children, women, families, the elderly and the disabled for more than 30 years. She started her professional career in Germany in 1984 as Director of the Institute for Social Work in Münster, before leading the Youth Welfare Office in Hamburg for six years.
Dr Trauernicht has served in several political positions since 1995, including three terms as minister in a social portfolio in Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. From 2009, she has been a member of parliament for Schleswig-Holstein. During this time, she most notably sought to bring judicial reforms that benefit children, the disabled and the elderly.
In her role as Vice-President of SOS Children’s Villages International, Dr Trauernicht is passionate about empowering SOS Children’s Villages’ mothers. She is an advocate for early help for vulnerable children and families, and actively campaigns for equal opportunities for children, especially girls.
Dr Trauernicht was born in Emden, East Friesland in Germany. She holds a Masters in sociology, educational sciences and German philology from the Westfälische Wilhelms University in Münster, and obtained a Doctorate of Philosophy from the Technical University in Berlin. Her scientific dissertations focused on street children, gender-specific education, early help for children and families, and residential care and its alternatives, among other topics.
In 2015, Dr Trauernicht represented SOS Children’s Villages and other leading international NGOs at the United Nations in New York, calling for children and young people to be at the centre of implementing the new Sustainable Development Goals.