COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The Too Young to Wed photo exhibition travelled to Denmark where it opened at the University of Copenhagen on November 5 in the presence of H.R.H. Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, among many others. Co-hosted by the UNFPA Nordic Office, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the University of Copenhagen, the opening coincided with the launch of this year's State of World Population report, UNFPA's flagship publication.
A second, abridged version of the Too Young to Wed exhibit has recently been created and will be shown in areas where child marriage is prevalent, beginning in Morocco in November 2013.
In his opening address, the Rector of the University of Copenhagen, Mr. Ralf Hemmingsen spoke of global issues relevant to development, health and social progress, such as child marriage, and how they are increasingly part of the research and educational agenda of the University of Copenhagen. Ms. Natalia Feinberg, Head of Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke on behalh of the Minister for Development Cooperation about the efforts of the Danish Government to include sexual and reproductive health and rights in the post-2015 agenda.
In her presentation of this year’s State of World Population report, Ms. Pernille Fenger, Chief of UNFPA Nordic Office, highlighted two key figures: “Every day in developing countries 5,000 girls who are 14 or younger give birth. And every day, almost 40,000 girls who are 17 or younger are getting married. Keep these numbers in mind when you visit the photo exhibition,” she said.
Drawing on her experience from the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, the world’s second latgest, keynote speaker Dr. Manal Tahtamouni, Director of Institute for Family Health in Amman, spoke about cases of child marriage there and highlighted cultural traditions as one explanation for the practice, coupled with the wish to save girls from the uncertainty of refugee life. "Unfortunately, married life for a very young girl may not offer much more protection," she said.
The exhibition will remain in Copenhagen and relocate to UN City through December 14, 2013.