Skip to content

Well-Being of the Worlds Children

Event Details

  • Date
  • Time
  • Location

Michael Meany

Michael Meaney
Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology & Neurosurgery
McGill UniversitySarah-Cook_Cropped_BW-1

Sarah Cook
Director, UNICEF
Office of Research – Innocenti Betancourt_cropped_BW-1

Theresa Betancourt
Associate Professor of Child Health and Human Rights
Department of Global Health and Population
Harvard University

Thursday, November 17

5:30 – 6:00 PM


6:00 PM

Introduction by the High Commissioner of Canada to the United Kingdom,H.E. Mrs. Janice Charette

6:10 PM

HM Government Chief Scientific Adviser,Sir Mark Walport

6:15 PM Comments from Moderator,Lucy Lamble, Global DevelopmentEditor at theGuardian
6:20 PM Dr. Charles A. Nelson III, CIFAR Senior Fellow and Harvard Professor, andDr. Samantha Nutt, Founder of War Child Canada
7:00 PM Moderated discussion and Q&A
7:20 PM Closing Remarks by CIFAR President & CEO Dr. Alan Bernstein
7:30 PM Reception
8:30 PM End of evening

Friday, November 18

8:30 AM


Forum Chairs, Glenda Gray and Tom Boyce; Forum Facilitators, Connie Lewis and Shelly Foston, Meridian Institute

8:55 AM-
Plenary 1: Dynamic experiences of childhood adversity
8:50 AM

Panel introduction
Peter Piot(Panel Chair), Director of the School, Professor of Global Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

8:55 AM

Jo Boyden, Professor, Oxford University, Director of Young Lives
The consequences of poverty and inequality for children: Insights from the Young Lives study

9:15 AM Jacqueline Gallinetti, Directorof Research & Knowledge Management, Plan International
Why early childhood care & development and gender equality matters: A view from development practice
9:35 AM Theresa Betancourt, Associate Professor of Child Health and Human Rights, Harvard University
Promoting child mental health in settings of adversity: approaches to scaling up evidence-based interventions for vulnerable children, youth and families
9:55 AM Discussion
10:30 AM Break
11:00 AM Breakout groups
12:15 AM Lunch
1:15PM First session reflections led by Connie Lewis and Shelly Foston
1:45 – 6:00 PM Plenary 2: Complex determinants of child development
1:45 PM

Panel introduction
Sharon Bergquist (Panel Chair), Program Officer, Family Health, Discovery and Translational Science, Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation

1:55 PM Michael Meaney, Senior Fellow, CIFAR Program Child & Brain Development; Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology & Neurosurgery, McGill University
The effects of maternal mental health on child development outcomes
2:15 PM Aisha Khizar Yousafzai, Associate Professor of Global Health, Harvard University
Optimizing effective interventions to promote early child development
2:35 PM J. Lawrence Aber, Willner Family Professor of Psychology and Public Policy and University Professor, New York University
Promoting children’s learning and development in conflict-affected countries: building a research agenda
2:55 PM Discussion
3:30 PM Break
4:00 PM Breakout groups
5:15 PM

Reflections byShoo Lee, Scientific Director, Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health at the Canadian Institutes for Health Research

5:25 PM Day one synthesis led by Connie Lewis andShelly Foston
7:00- 9:00 PM Group Dinner

Saturday, November 19

8:30 AM –
1:15 PM
Plenary 3:Protecting and promoting child well-being through policies and systems
8:30 AM Panel introductions:
Robert Armstrong(Panel Chair), Abdul Sultan Jamal Professor of Paediatrics, Foundation Dean, Medical College, Aga Khan University in East Africa
8:40 AM Peter Waiswa, Professor of Public Health, Makerere University, Uganda
Neonatal health: A test of African health systems in the Sustainable Development Goals era
9:00 AM Silvia Elena Giorguli, President of El Colegio de México
International migration and educational well-being:How are they linked? A synthesis based on the Mexico-US experience
9:20 AM Sarah Cook, Director, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti
Tackling inequalities that affect children: From protection to transformative social and economic policies
9:40 AM Discussion
10:10 AM Break
10:40 AM Breakout groups
12:00 PM Final Reflections, led by Connie Lewis andShelly Foston
1:00 PM Closing Remarks by the Honourable Louise Arbour
1:15 PM –
Partner Roundtable (by invitation only)


Silvia Elena Giorguli
El Colegio de MéxicoJacquelineGallinetti

Jacqueline Gallinetti
Head of Research & Knowledge Management
PLAN International 

FORUM   Past event

Our supporters: canada-logo-150px Bill-Melinda-Gates-Foundation-Logo.svg_ CIHR_logo-250x157



J. Lawrence Aber
Family Professor of Psychology and Public Policy
Professor, New York University

A dynamic conversation bringing together researchers and practitioners for an intensive two-day discussion to create the conditions for interdisciplinary research that will help the world’s children reach their full potential.


Aisha Yousafzai
Early Childhood Development and Disability
Division of Women and Child Health
Aga Khan UniversityNov 17 – Nov 19, 2016

Canada House
Trafalgar Square
London, England

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 developmentsocial resilienceinclusive 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?

Well-Being of the Worlds Children


Peter Waiswa
Principal Investigator
INDEPTH Network Maternal and Newborn Working Group;
Makerere University School of Public HealthJoBoyden

Jo Boyden
Professor of International Development
Oxford University;
Director, Young Lives

Support Us

CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec as well as foundations, individuals, corporations, and international partner organizations.

MaRS Centre, West Tower
661 University Ave., Suite 505
Toronto, ON M5G 1M1 Canada