Children and Armed Conflict
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Stern Center, Great Room, 7 p.m.
Armed conflicts worldwide have profound effects on children, yet simplistic portrayals of these effects have provided poor guidance on how to support vulnerable children in wartime situations. Drawing on field experience throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, this lecture gives a holistic understanding of children amidst armed conflicts and points toward a set of contextualized supports that will improve the resilience and well-being of affected children.
This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Churchill Fund and the health studies program. This program is also part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, War at Home.
Biography (provided by the speaker)
Michael Wessells, Ph.D. is a professor at Columbia University in the Program on Forced Migration and Health. A long time psychosocial and child protection practitioner, he is former co-chair of the IASC Task Force on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings. He has conducted extensive research on the holistic impacts of war and political violence on children, and he is author of Child Soldiers: From Violence to Protection (Harvard University Press, 2006). Currently, he is lead researcher on inter-agency, multi-country research on community driven interventions for strengthening linkages of community-based child protection mechanisms with government led aspects of national child protection systems. He regularly advises UN agencies, governments, and donors on issues of child protection and psychosocial support, including in communities and schools. Throughout Africa and Asia he helps to develop community-based, culturally grounded programs that assist people affected by armed conflict and natural disasters.