CESI to Host World-Leading Experts on Early Childhood Development for Peacebuilding

The Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation will host an international one-day conference on Wednesday 31 May exploring the role of early childhood development (ECD) for promoting peace building in societies affected by conflict.


Only a few spaces remain for the conference that will address three core questions:

  • What role can ECD services play in promoting social cohesion and peacebuilding?
  • What are the lessons that can be learnt from those currently providing ECD services in countries affected by conflict?
  • How do we know whether ECD services are making a difference and having a measurable impact on the lives of children and families and in contributing to broader social cohesion?

Plans for the creation of a global research network, led by Yale, Queen’s, NYU and Harvard under the auspices of the Early Childhood Peace Consortium will also be shared. A developing framework for understanding and measuring the impact of ECD services on social cohesion and peacebuilding, that will inform the future work of the network, will also be launched.

Download the event flyer (PDF, 407KB)


08.30 – 09.00 

REGISTRATION (tea and coffee served)

09.00 – 09.15

Welcome, Professor Patrick Johnston (President and Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University Belfast)

09.15 – 09.25 

Welcome, Professor Paul Connolly (Director of the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation, Queen’s University Belfast)

09:25 – 09:30

Welcome (Video Message), Ms Marta Santos Pais, Assistant Secretary General at the UN, and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children

09.30 – 10.15 

Early Childhood Development and Peacebuilding: The International Political and Policy Context, Dr Rima Salah, Chairperson, Early Childhood Peace Consortium

10.15 – 11.00 

Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families, Professor James Leckman, Child Study Center, Yale University

11.00 – 11.30 


11.30 – 13.00

ECD Services in Conflict-Affected Societies: Successes, Issues and Challenges:

  • The Media Initiative for Children: Respecting Difference Programme in Northern Ireland, Siobhan Fitzpatrick, CEO, Early Years, Northern Ireland
  • ECD in Conflicts of the Arab Region and Peacebuilding Challenges, Dr Ghassan Issa, Director, Arab Network for Early Childhood Care and Development
  • ECD for Peacebuilding in Serbia, Ljiljana Vasic, Director, Pomoc Deci, Serbia
13.00 – 14.00


14.00 – 14.45

A Measurement Framework for ECD Services to Promote Peacebuilding and Social Cohesion and Overview of the Work of the ECPC Research Network, Professor Paul Connolly (Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation, Queen’s University Belfast)

14.45 – 15.15

Panel Discussion I – The Challenges for ECD Service Providers

15.15 – 15.45

Panel Discussion II – The Challenges for Researchers

15.45 – 16.15

Concluding Session and Next Steps, Professor Paul Connolly



Registration is essential for this event. Spaces are now limited. There is no cost for attendance and refreshments and lunch will be provided. To register please contact David Piekaar on: (028) 9097 5956 or via email at:



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