As a follow-up to the Forum, CIFAR will solicit proposals for international research workshops that will explore research focused on children, globally.
Participants from across academia, civil society, and the public and private sectors came together to inform how research, practice, and policy can converge to enable the world’s most at-risk children to thrive. Through the Forum, CIFAR convened a coalition of researchers and partners in support of a new interdisciplinary research program.
Over 200 million children under the age of five will not reach their full potential because they live under the threat of poverty, poor health, malnutrition, family and environmental stress, violence, and inadequate access to care and opportunities. (A Post-2015 World Fit for Children: An Agenda for #EVERYCHILD 2015. UNICEF, 2015)
"Children constitute societies’ most precious and irreplaceable resources, as well as the demographic subgroup most susceptible to social interventions and conditions. It is thus increasingly plausible to assert that the societies most attentive to the needs of their children will be the most successful, progressive, and strong."
W. Thomas Boyce, Forum Co-Chair
CIFAR Co-Director, Child & Brain Development program
JAMA, Vol. 313, April 21, 2015
Together, researchers and practitioners helped CIFAR to identify gaps in current knowledge to advance both research and evidence-informed policy to mitigate intergenerational cycles of disadvantage and inequity that currently prevent children from realizing their potential.
Read the Summary of Proceedings
What CIFAR Brings
For over 30 years, CIFAR has convened global research programs that connect the world’s best minds to tackle questions of importance to the world. Interdisciplinary programs give fellows the freedom and time to take intellectual risks essential to creating transformative knowledge. Their work has changed our understanding of population health, child and brain development, social resilience, inclusive institutions, the social psychology of identity and well-being among other topics.
The theme of child well-being for the first CIFAR Forum, builds on the Institute’s sustained support of population health and child development. CIFAR is dedicated to knowledge outreach – a process designed to position stakeholders to act. A CIFAR program focused on child well-being would therefore be a natural catalyst for contributing toward the Sustainable Development Goals.
About the Forum
The two-day program will consist of formal talks and interactive dialogue, covering critical areas such as physical and mental health under environmental strain; optimizing cognitive, psychological and social development; mechanisms for resilience and skills acquisition; and the challenges of growing up in conflict settings or as a refugee. Gender and geographic diversity is important to CIFAR and the Forum will support the participation of individuals from organizations based in low and middle-income countries.
Questions to be addressed include:
- How can multidisciplinary research inform policies to better reach children most at risk?
- Can we better understand complex interactions that can determine a child’s developmental trajectory?
- How do we leverage crucial windows of opportunity to improve the life chances of children in resource poor environments?
- In the face of dynamic social and environmental stresses, what can be done to promote resilience of the most at risk children around the world?