The Harvard FXB Center Celebrates Child Protection Certificate Recipients

Child Protection Certificate recipients from left to right: Clarissa Wigoder, Matthew Owens, and Marissa Lehrman

By Krista Oehlke

On Tuesday, May 2 at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights celebrated and honored its Child Protection Certificate recipients in an award ceremony. The celebration marked a milestone at the Center. Now in its third year, the program has grown exponentially and across disciplines. This spring, 20 graduate students from across the University – from the Harvard Chan School, the Harvard Medical School, the Harvard Law School, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education – earned a certificate, signifying competency in the discipline and completion of the program’s requirements. This is in addition to the three certificates earned by UNICEF fellows this December.

The Child Protection Certificate (CPC) program was founded in 2014 in partnership with UNICEF to prepare the next generation of child protection practitioners to effectively prevent and respond to cases of violence, exploitation, and abuse against children. With generous funding support from Barrie Landry, a member of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s National Board of Directors, the program has also supported G. Barrie Landry fellowships for nine UNICEF Child Protection National Officers from a diverse set of countries including Ghana, Yemen, Cambodia, and Laos.

The award ceremony included parting words from Professor Jacqueline Bhabha, director of research at Harvard FXB, who tied the importance of raising the profile of the child protection sector to the current state of affairs: “We are at a juncture, politically and legally, where issues of protection and rights and humanitarian care are at an extreme state of urgency,” she said, referring to, as just one example, a recent FXB report that identified rampant exploitation and abuse of child migrants in Greece. Center director Dr. Jennifer Leaning, who presided over the awarding of certificates, remarked, “You should feel, as we do, that you are really prepared to go out and do work in child protection, speak up for child protection, find a job in child protection, and do much more research and policy work in this arena.”

From left to right: Liz Gibbons, director of the CPC program, and Saleha Parvez, CPC recipient

Truc Nguyen, Landry fellow and UNICEF child justice specialist from Vietnam, spoke on behalf of her fellow awardees at the ceremony. “This year was the most challenging and fruitful years of my life – both professionally and personally,” she reflected.

Ms. Barrie Landry was also present to congratulate the 2016-2017 cohort of child protection graduates: “For me, in evaluating this program, the most important measurement will be in the number of lives saved and suffering alleviated. Children’s lives depend on it.”

Speaking to the newly-minted set of child protection graduates, Liz Gibbons, director of the program, emphasized the students’ preparedness. “You are now ready to bring child protection into your work in the diverse fields of public health, education, public policy, law, and social service,” she said.

In the coming academic calendar year, the program aims to continue to expand its scope by developing an executive education course for senior-level professionals and an online course for students and mid-career professionals around the world. For more information on the Child Protection Certificate program, visit our page here.

More photographs from the ceremony are available on our Facebook page, including some photographs from the December ceremony.

A shorter version of this blog post appeared on the Global Health Education and Learning Incubator (GHELI) website. The Harvard FXB Center is working in partnership with GHELI toward innovative ideas to enhance and advance the program’s global reach.

Krista Oehlke is a Program Coordinator at the Harvard FXB Center.