During his eight-year tenure as the Executive Director of UNICEF, Mr. Lake dedicated himself to realizing a world where the rights of all the children would be fully respected. Besides his leadership role at UNICEF, his career includes a full range of foreign policy, national security, humanitarian and development issues at the most senior levels, including as National Security Advisor under President Bill Clinton, and as Director of Policy Planning in President Jimmy Carter’s administration.
As Executive Director of UNICEF, Mr. Lake contributed to promoting human security, which Japan fundamentally subscribes to, by supporting children around the world. This includes his swift determination to provide emergency assistance to Japan for the first time in 50 years in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th, 2011. Mr. Lake travelled to Japan as early as two months after the earthquake and visited hard-hit town of Onagawa in Miyagi prefecture, and encouraged the children affected by the disaster by reminding them that they had not been left behind by the world. He visited Japan again during the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai in 2015, and made an encouraging speech on the need to protect children as most vulnerable to disasters.
The decoration of Mr. Lake serves as a manifestation of the continued cooperation and partnership between the Government of Japan and the United Nations including UNICEF, and between Japan and the United States.