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Child welfare tops agenda at UNESCO meeting

31 January 2011

Improving the health, education and welfare of young children right across Ireland will top the agenda at an international gathering taking place tomorrow (Tuesday February 1) at the University of Ulster.

The first Advisory Board meeting of the University of Ulster and National University of Ireland, Galway, Children and Youth Programme (CYP) is  expected to attract key childcare experts from across the world.

The CYP is an independent collaboration between the two UNESCO Chairs in Ireland , one based at the University of Ulster’s Coleraine campus and the other at the National University of Ireland, Galway. 

Speaking ahead of the meeting, CYP Director and University of Ulster lecturer in Psychology Dr Tony Cassidy said the Programme was an “exciting collaboration between two established centres at two of Ireland’s premier universities.

“We are delighted that some of the leading figures in child policy formation, welfare and inclusion from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and across the world, have agreed to join our Advisory Board.  They will have a key role in advising and steering the CYP research teams’ work,” he said. 

“We are aware that much good work is already underway – governments in both jurisdictions on the island are aware of and are acting on their responsibilities to children and youth. 

“We believe that our unique partnership will help to further inform policy makers, help to improve the lives of children and young people and perhaps, most importantly, empower the very social group that both governments on the island will soon come to rely on heavily.”

Dr Cassidy concluded by outlining the importance of the programme’s work in the current economic and social climate.

“Never before has the health and happiness of the next generation depended so much on the health and happiness of our economic, political and social climate.  If the future may seem uncertain, our approach must not be,” he said. 

“We are certain that together we can improve the lives of children and young people across Ireland and we are clear that this is an area in which the power to affect real change lies in our own hands. 

“That is why we believe that this partnership has an important voice.  Indeed, on behalf of our children and young people, we believe that this partnership will further represent the most important voices."

For further information contact UNESCO Centre Communications Co-ordinator James Dillon on ,  028 70124190 or by mobile on 07749 833272.