Session Presenters at the Early Childhood Peace Consortium inauguration, UNICEF HQ, NYC, 20 Sept., 2013. Photo credit: N. Shemrah Fallon
Hallmark session speeches by leading experts on the exchange between the natural sciences and other disciplines on the biological basis of early life experiences as a foundation for healthy later-in-life outcomes for current and future generations of children everywhere, spun the inaugural event into high gear.
The United Nations was represented at the highest level and included: H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al Nasser, the UN High Representative of the Alliance of Civilizations and keynote speaker; Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director (Programs); Dr. Amina J. Mohammed, the UN Secretary General's Special Advisor on post 2015 Development Planning; and high officials from United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Dr. Nicolas Alipui and Ms. Marta Ruedas.
Representatives from Sesame Workshop emphasized the need to "value every child" and "harness the educational power of media to help all children to reach their highest potential, with the promise that the next generation can bring people together and fuel burgeoning social change."
In their presentations, all speakers committed to work for building Peace in the World, emphasizing the role of children and their families as agents of change…and also, beacons of hope.
Teach Our Children Well
"To achieve real peace, we must teach our children peace. Early environments are as much a part of our endowment as our genes."
Pia Rebello Britto, PhD, Sr. Advisor ECD Unit, UNICEF; ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
A Consortium for Change
“What brings us together is our belief – backed by emerging evidence – that violence of any kind, early in life – either experienced or observed – can have long-lasting and detrimental impacts on the health, life skills, competencies, attitudes and beliefs of young children and adults, alike."
Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director Programs, UNICEF, ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
A Culture of Peace
Introduction to Consortium
To H.E. Al-Nasser: "We are grateful to you for your dedication to the cause of peace and your commitment to this consortium. Your Excellency, you have accompanied us since the beginning of this journey and supported our vision to create a legacy of sustained peace drawing on the transformative power of Early Child Development"
To all the participants: "Dear Colleagues and friends, your science, your knowledge, your practical experience, your dedication to the well being of children and their families globally, helped to orchestrate a global movement for peace, that values the role of young children and families as agents of change in peace building. This is changing the tide of violence, that is marking, our world today."
"Until now peace building efforts have, generally, involved top down approaches leaving children, families on the margins. This Consortium reinforces the evidence that formative years of life and intra and interfamily as well as community relationships are powerful agents of change that can promote resilience, social cohesion and peace."
"Our goals are ambitious, but there is nothing too ambitious for the welfare of children and their families.....With you all joining the movement, we will certainly achieve our goals."
Rima Salah, PhD, Rima Salah, PhD, Adjunct Faculty Yale University Child Study Center, former Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, former Deputy Special Representative of the Sec-Gen, UN Mission in Central African Rep and Chad; ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
A Time for Change
"In closing, let me say this, our world is a great, yet complex thing. To leave it to a generation which is unprepared, and unequipped with the proper principles and ethics, would be hazardous. Hence, instilling values of harmony and tolerance in our children through instruments of early education is vital for a peaceful future. The time for change is NOW. Let us benefit from today, for a better tomorrow."
H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser the United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013, UNICEF NY
Post -2015 Agenda
UN Session Chair
Dr. Alipui oversees the core work of UNICEF and is at the forefront of program policy, guidance and management.
Dr. Nicholas Alipui, Director UNICEF Programmes, ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
It Takes Teamwork
"How can we building vibrant communities where children are front and center (especially in post-conflict settings)? The success so far as been achieved through teamwork; we must work together."
Dr. Amina J. Mohammed, U.N. Secretary-General's Special Advisor of Post-2015 Development Planning, ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013, UNICEF NY
Need for Justice & Security
"Around the world violence is hold back states and societies from achieving their potential. To say we are working on the Millenium Development Goals we must work to mitigate violence against women and children. Justice and security services need to be established and be able to support communities."
Ms. Marta Ruedas, Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), United Nations; ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
Energy, Enthusiasm & Endurance
“The Early Childhood Peace Consortium can and should be an important advocate to place ECD higher on the global peace and development agenda. This is really urgent. During today’s workshop, there heard several concrete proposals on how to move forward with our advocacy for ECD. Without such concerted advocacy, we will not have resources and political attention we need to scale-up ECD programs worldwide, especially in countries heavily affected by violence and conflict.” He concluded, “Partnerships need steadfast support. Today was great. There is high energy and enthusiasm. But the peace building agenda is a long road. It needs endurance.”
Dr. Christian Salazar Volkmann, Deputy Director Programs Division, UNICEF; ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
The Epigenetic Evidence
"The experience of the child is 'biologically embedded' and serves to influence health and capacity over the lifespan" and that "this effect is apparent even at the level of the DNA of the individual; the activity of genes implicated in brain development and function is directly regulated by the social environment."
Dr. Michael Meaney, Professor of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University and Adjunct Senior Investigator in the Singapore Institute for Clinical Studies, ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
Taking Academic Action
Scientific Evidence Chair
"We need to take action to make our world a better place for our children and for future generations. The academic community will be one of the partners in this important undertaking to refine and implement in a sustainable fashion ECD programs of proven value."
James F. Leckman, MD, Neison Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Psychology and Pediatrics at Yale University, ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
PPT Presentation: "Initial Academic Community"
The Neurobiological Evidence
Known for her pioneering research in the study of the role of the neuropeptide, oxytocin, in parent care and bonding, Dr. Carter affirms, "The biological and evolutionary prototype for peace and safety is the parent-child interaction."
Dr. C. Sue Carter, Research Professor in Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Research Professor Psychology, Northeastern University in Boston, ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
Practice Session Chair
Demonstrated the scientific and theoretical keystones of AÇEVs early childhood and parent (mother and father) training programs and its evidence-based practice as a tool to promote peace and tolerance behaviors in children, families and communities.Ayla Göksel, M.Sc., CEO Mother Child Education Foundation, AÇEV, ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
Surest Pathway Toward Peace Building
"Supporting early childhood development as well as transforming families, causes ripple effects to the community. This is at the core of societal development and is possibly the most enduring and the surest pathway toward peace building."
Ciğdem Kağıtçıbaşı, Ph.D, Professor of Psychology at Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey. A founding member of AÇEV. ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
PPT Presentation: "Early Child Development as a Pathway to Peace: ACEV Experience"
Peace in the Family - A Head Start
"Peace in the family gives a child a better start and leads to better school performance, less aggression, more autonomy and a better self-concept."
Diane Sunar, PhD, Head of Psychology Department at Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey; ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
Media Session Chair
"Make the image of peace as compelling as the image of war. Teach peace as a value, a tool, a habit, a virtue, and a rule. Can we teach children that the law of the planet Earth is peace?"
Melvin Ming, CEO Sesame Workshop, ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
Harnessing the Power of Media
Our mission is to value every child, harness the educational power of media to help all children to reach their highest potential, with the promise that the next generation can bring people together and fuel burgeoning social change."
Dr. Charlotte Frances Cole, Senior Vice President of Global Education at Sesame Workshop, ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
An Appetite for Peace
"This is not work for the weak. This is work for the courageous. The appetite for peace is part of human nature."
Kyle D. Pruett, MD, Kyle D. Pruett, MD, Clinical Professor in the Child Study Center; Clin Prof Psychiatry; Sch of Nursing; ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
Agents of Change
Violence Prev/Peace Promotion Chair & Moderator
The Consultative Group's mission is to improve early childhood policy and practice focusing on children in disadvantaged circumstances by promoting a wider dialogue among practitioners, policy-makers, researchers, and national and international agencies; through the analysis, synthesis and dissemination of knowledge and through coordinated advocacy. Ms. Zimanyi addressed the role of young children and families as agents of change in reducing violence and promoting peace.
Ms. Louise Zimanyi, Executive Director Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development; ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
A Network of Alliances
Violence Prev/Peace Promotion Panelist
Network on Peace Building/UNA: Marked the development of successful strategies to implement programs in situations of emergency, high vulnerability, fragility and conflict, and demonstrated the importance of network alliances and partnerships in the process of peace building through ECD.
Child Safety Hugely Matters
Violence Prev/Peace Promotion Panelist
Now is the time to build a new legal system prioritizing: First things first, "child safety matters hugely for an overall sense of safety"; translational justice; building the state's capacity to manage its own rule of law needs, critical to confidence building and to reach marginalized groups. "Parents innately want to do right by their children but they have to be given the chance."
Dr. Sheelagh Stewart, Director of Governance and Rule of Law, Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), United Nations Development Program (UNDP); ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
Investment in Models that Work
Foundation's Session Chair
Programmatic evidence is critical to demonstrate impact and data can be used to advocate for increased investment in program models that work.
Dr. Brenda Haiplik, Senior Education Advisor - Emergencies, UNICEF, ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
Rationale for Peace
Bernard van Leer's mission is 'to improve opportunities for children up to age 8 who are growing up in socially and economically difficult circumstances. We see this both as a valuable end in itself and as a long-term means to promoting more cohesive, considerate, creative and peaceful communities with equal opportunities and rights for all.’ Ms. Jordan presented the types of issues that foundations are interested in, the knowledge and evidence they are seeking from other partners and the rationale for supporting peace promotions efforts.
Ms. Lisa Jordan, Exec Dir Bernard van Leer Foundation, ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
We are all neighbors
The Fetzer Institute's mission is to 'foster awareness of the power of love and forgiveness in the emerging global community' and is 'grounded in a conviction that the connection between the inner life of spirit and outer life of service and action in the world holds the key to lasting change.' As Program Officer of the Fetzer Advisory Council on Natural Sciences, Mr. Mohammed spoke on the 'call for a more profound understanding of the scientific basis of love and forgiveness.'
"We are all neighbors along 'the longest street in the world' where children should live in peace."
Mohammed H. Mohammed, Program Officer, Fetzer Institute, ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013
Building Global Knowledge
Marya, who holds a Juris Doctor degree from the J Reuben Clark School of Law, presented on work of The Doha International Family Institute, a 'non-profit organization that is supporting the Qatar Foundation on its journey from carbon economy to knowledge economy by unlocking human potential, for the benefit of not only Qatar, but the world. Founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Amir of Qatar, QF is chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.'
Marya Reed is the Director of Operations at the Doha International Family Institute, a member of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development,ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013