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20,000 teenagers give birth - every day

The university has a commitment to gender equality and to the rights of reproductive health. The words of Rector at launch of UN report and photo exhibition on child brides at the University of Copenhagen

The figures are shocking: 20,000 girls below the age of 18 years give birth in the developing world – every day. The data is from a new report from the United Nations’ UNFPA organisation.

The report, known as the State of the World Population, or SWOP report, appeared to shock the consciences of the attendees at the University of Copenhagen event Tuesday. Human rights violations presented by these scenarios were repeatedly stated by the various speakers.

Ralf Hemmingsen, Rector of the University of Copenhagen, was one of the speakers at the launch of the State of World Population (SWOP) report 2013. The event was followed by the opening of an exhibition, ‘Too Young to Wed’, based on the SWOP report’s focus on teenage pregnancies.

See a gallery from the event here.

Wants partnerships with poor country unis

“A photo is worth a thousand words, they say,” started Mr. Hemmingsen in his speech introducing the exhibition. “We can all recall a photo that stays with us long after we saw it.”

The Rector went on to address the University of Copenhagen’s commitment addressing the global challenges of reproductive health and gender equality on the developing world.

He reaffirmed the university’s commitment to fostering partnerships with universities in low and middle income countries to create capacity for research on social determinants of health.

Syrian refugee camps

Other distinguished speakers included Natalia Feinberg from the Ministry for Development Cooperation and Pernille Fenger, the Chief of UNFPA Nordic.

Her Royal Highness, Princess Mary, who has served as UNFPA’s patron for over 3 years, was also in attendance.

Dr. Manal Tahtamouni, Director of Institute for Family Health in Jordan, gave a presentation on early marriage amongst Syrian refugees in Jordan. The poverty and desperation brought about by an emergency situation, she asserted, has led to an increase in early marriages amongst the refugees. She, however, stressed the importance of understanding the contextual cultural issues surrounding this phenomenon.

Exhibition on European tour

The moving photo exhibition by photographer, Stephanie Sinclair, is on its first leg of its European tour.

The exhibition has already been on display in many big cities in the world, starting its tour at the United Nation’s Headquarters in New York City. Copenhagen is its first European showing.

The exhibition is on display at the Chr. Hansen Auditorium in the CSS campus. All are encouraged to view it and get a glimpse of the world outside ourselves.

Read the UN report here.

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