UNICEF hosts Development Conference on child safety

IMG_5112Students, professors, and experts gathered in the ICC this past Friday for Georgetown’s 10th annual Development Conference.

Organized by students in UNICEF Georgetown, the conference was led by professionals in the fields of child education and safety. The keynote speaker, Dr. Susan Bissell, is the Associate Director and Chief of Child Protection Programmes at UNICEF and specializes in violence against children.

“We must address political and social issues in order to protect children from violence and exploitation… Children are lost to prostitution, child labor, and trafficking, and we have to prevent this.”

“This speech was really enlightening,” said UNICEF general member Rebecca Hong (SFS ’15). “It showed how children are among the world’s most vulnerable populations.”

This year’s conference started with multiple workshop sessions in which speakers introduced human rights issues through the lens of their specialty. Among these special speakers was Georgetown University Science, Technology, and International Affairs professor Irene Anne Gillison.

“Areas of conflict and post-conflict are specifically important, not only because these areas lack security, but also because of the loss of social networks, family values, and sufficient environment conditions such as shelter, safe water and sanitation, essential health services,” Gillison said.

Department of Defense professional Darya Pilram echoed Prof. Gillison’s presentation by incorporating her own experience working for the Department of Defense’s ship missions. “Diplomacy, and security are particularly important to understand when it comes to peacekeeping missions.”

“Overall the conference was very successful,” said UNICEF Georgetown committee member Stephanie Arzate (SFS’15). “Students had the opportunity to learn more about this field through different specialties, and look at a field which really embodies the ideal of ‘men and women for others.’”

Other speakers throughout the workshop included Vice President of Afghan Education for a Better Tomorrow Nahid Aziz, Senior Representative of Food and Water Watch David Andrews,  Fellow at the Center for National Policy George Edwards, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Peggy Clark, and 10 to 15 other qualified professionals in the field of development.

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Photo Lucia He

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