USA: Conference to explore effect of early childhood development on world peace


An article from Yale University

In partnership with UNICEF and Queens University Belfast, the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC) at the Yale Child Study Center will host an open house conference at the Omni Hotel in New Haven this Thursday, Nov. 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The organizing question for the event will be: “Can early childhood development advance ‘The Culture of Peace?’”

Syrian girl holding up peace sign in a Turkish refugee camp. (© Radek Procyk –

“The goal of the ECPC is to shed light on the contribution of the science of early childhood development to creating a path to peace,” said Rima Salah, chair of the ECPC and assistant clinical professor in the Child Study Center. “Working towards a common goal of reducing and preventing violence against children, the unified group that makes up the ECPC recognizes the power of investing in the early years to build peaceful societies.”

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Question related to this article:

What is the best way to teach peace to children?

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At Thursday’s conference, the ECPC will provide an update on its research and advocacy efforts, including how it seeks to advance early childhood development, care, and education by building peace and fostering social cohesion among individuals, groups, communities, and nations. During the event, the ECPC will also officially launch its online platform, a resource that aims to help users build with “blocks of peace” for the children of the world.

Keynote speakers for the program include Pia Rebello Britto, chief and senior adviser of early childhood development at UNICEF; Sherrie Rollins Westin, president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop; and H.E. Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, founder of the Global Movement for The Culture of Peace, former under-secretary general and high representative of the United Nations. Presenters from six low- and middle-income countries will also discuss the early childhood development programs they are creating with colleagues at UNICEF and Queen’s University Belfast, Yale, New York University, and Harvard to build social cohesion and peace within their countries.

“The ECPC has brought together a multi-disciplinary, multi-sectored, and multi-dimensional range of experts who have worked in the fields of early childhood development and peace-building initiatives around the globe, that up to this point, have been working in silos,” said Dr. James Leckman, ECPC executive committee member and the Neison Harris Professor in the Child Study Center. “Science says that peace is possible — and the science of early childhood development can facilitate the development of a more peaceful world.”

The ECPC is founded on the idea that the global community must address the root causes of violence and conflict and that families and children can be agents of change for peace. The consortium is building an inclusive movement for peace, social justice, and prevention of violence through using early childhood development strategies that enable the world community to advocate peace, security, and sustainable development. For more information on the ECPC, visit the consortium’s website.