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Early Childhood Peace Consortium Inauguration

Session Presenters
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

Event Chair

Pia Rebello Britto, PhD, Sr Advisor ECD Unit UNICEF
Pia Rebello Britto, PhD, Senior Advisor ECD Unit, UNICEF

"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

Welcome Address

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Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director Programs, UNICEF

“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

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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

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

Keynote Address

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H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser the United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations

"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."

Read full transcript...

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

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Dr. Nicholas Alipui, Director UNICEF Programs

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

United Nations

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Dr. Amina J. Mohammed, U.N. Secretary-General's Special Advisor of Post-2015 Development Planning

"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

UN Panelist

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Ms. Marta Ruedas, Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), United Nations

"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

Closing Remarks

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Dr. Christian Salazar Volkmann, Deputy Director Programs Division, UNICEF

“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