Ensuring All Children THRIVE: Early Childhood Development in Conflict and Crisis Settings
By Anissa Molloy, GCE-US
A special thank you to honorary cohosts Senators Roy Blunt and Chris Coons, and Representative Colin Allred for taking the time to attend the THRIVE event. Thank you also to the sponsors of this event, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Basic Education Coalition, Catholic Relief Services, Global Campaign for Education-US, The LEGO Group, RESULTS, RTI International, Sesame Workshop, and UNICEF USA.
- Bill O’Keefe, Executive Vice President for Mission, Mobilization, and Advocacy at Catholic Relief Services, moderated an informative panel on Early Childhood Development in Conflict and Crisis Settings.
- Fan Tait, MD, FAAP, Chief Medical Officer of the American Academy of Pediatrics, shared her experiences and neurological research on stressors that affect children’s development in conflict areas
- Sarah Gesiriech, U.S. Government Special Advisor on Children at the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID), spoke about the U.S Government commitments and future plans in global early childhood development
- Pia Britto, Ph.D., Chief of Early Childhood Development at UNICEF, shared her experiences in the field of developing models for quality early childhood services and policies around the world
- Danny Labin, Vice President of International Projects at Sesame Workshop, shared the work Sesame is doing for children in conflict areas, such as adapting Sesame Street episodes to the languages spoken in different refugee resettled areas, including for the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
After questions for the panelists from the audience, attendees had the opportunity to participate in activities presented by Karen Hughes, Senior Manager of Government and Public Relations in the Americas for The LEGO Group. The activities highlighted the importance of child-friendly spaces for children, as playing helps their emotional, physical, developmental, and cognitive growth. A pop-up child-friend area was set up by UNICEF USA to demonstrate the importance of early childhood development and education in conflict and crisis settings.
Anissa Molloy is an intern with GCE-US and student at Florida International University.