UNICEF Organizes First Int'l Conference on Child Rights in Partnership with ATSU

Recently, an international conference dedicated to the incorporation of child rights into university education programs and curricula was held in Kutaisi. The conference was organized by UNICEF, in partnership with Akaki Tsereteli State University, and under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport of Georgia.

The two-day conference brought together professors and students, government officials, international child rights experts, diplomats, as well as international and civil society organizations in Georgia to discuss child rights. At the opening of the conference, the participants were welcomed by the Minister of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport, Dr. Mikheil Chkhenkeli; UN Resident Coordinator Dr. Sabine Machl; UNICEF Representative, Dr. Ghassan Khalil, and Akaki Tsereteli State University Rector, Dr. Roland Kopaliani.

The Kutaisi International Conference provided a space to share experiences in teaching and learning about child rights, aimed to empower future specialists to act towards putting child rights into practice in their daily lives at home, at school, and in their communities. The conference provided a structured exchange among international and national experts on theory, research, policy, and practices relating to child rights.

"The importance of cooperation between UNICEF and the Akaki Tsereteli State University is quite significant, as for the first time in University history, the Child Rights Center will be established, which further highlights the role of universities in the extremely valuable work of protecting child rights," said Dr. Kopaliani.

As part of the conference, UNICEF supported the establishment of the Child Rights Center at the university which will serve as a resource hub and raise awareness on child rights among different specialists, civil society organizations, academia, parents, and children. 

“I am delighted that the Akaki Tsereteli State University in Kutaisi is one of the first universities in Georgia to incorporate child rights into their programs and curricula”, said UNICEF's Dr. Khalil. “Education on child rights is about taking action. By learning about child rights, and the child rights approach, children and adults are empowered to bring about change in their immediate environment and the country at large. I believe the International Conference on Child Rights in Kutaisi, and the establishment of the Child Rights Center at the University, will contribute to strengthening the culture of child rights in Georgia. UNICEF will continue partnering with Akaki Tsereteli University and other universities to promote child rights education in Georgia,” Khalil added.

As part of the International Conference, a film screening was also organized for local justice professionals and university professors in partnership with the Embassy of France in Georgia. Ambassador of France, H.E. Diégo Colas, participated in discussions on the experience of France in the creation of a child-friendly justice system.

The conference provided the possibility for rich discussions and presentations by well-known national and international specialists and experts, as well as the student winners of an essay writing contest. The role of universities in promoting child rights and influencing social norms was central to the discussions. The conference also enabled different universities in Georgia to share their initiatives aimed at incorporating child rights into university programs for the education of future child rights advocates in the fields of education, law, business, and other important disciplines.

Incorporation of child rights into higher education programs will raise awareness of child rights among students. It will stimulate interest, increase motivation, and provide inspiration for all future professionals to work for and with children when choosing their careers as social workers, lawyers, judges, teachers, or other related professions. This will lay the foundation for the specialization of all professionals working with and for children, required by the Code on the Rights of the Child of Georgia, which entered into force on 1 September 2020.  

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15 October 2020 11:16