After World War II, physical devastation was evident throughout Europe – crumbled buildings, ruined parks, impassable streets, damaged infrastructure. Psychological and social damage were equally evident. A strong humanitarian concern led a small group of educators and others concerned for the welfare of young children to seek a way to engage others committed to these aims.
In 1946, Lady Allen of Hurtwood (United Kingdom) and Alva Myrdal (Sweden), with others from France, Denmark, and Norway, developed a plan for the creation of a world organization to promote the wellbeing, rights and education of young children. The UNESCO Assembly in Paris greeted the plan with warm support, and the founders invited representatives of 19 countries from 5 continents to a World Conference on Early Childhood Education in Prague in 1948. At that Conference, OMEP was born and Alva Myrdal was elected its first World President.This new organization was recognized then, as it is now, as the principal mechanism to bring together people from all over the world,without any criteria other than an objective to share information and initiate actions to benefit young children everywhere.