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The Palestinian Child Institute of An-Najah National University has recently launched the International Conference on ECD titled: "Children, Hope and Peace; a local and global perspective".

The conference hosted a large number of international specialists in childhood programs to discuss ECD theories and exhibit success stories of children programs in Palestine and worldwide.

The conference was organized in collaboration with the International Network on ECD, World Vision, Juzoor for Health and Social Development, Links Project and Queen's University Belfast.

The first day of the conference addressed ECD, theory, social environment, neurological, psychological and social factors and developmental delay.

The conference activities started with a Skype speech delivered by Dr. Najat Majeed, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) on child trafficking and exploitation where she discussed the importance of the conference as it coincides with the 30th anniversary of UN's Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

In the opening speech, Professor Maher Natsheh, An-Najah President, stated that the University is focusing deeply on childhood matters through medicine, education and psychology programs in addition to establishing the Palestinian Child Institute.

Dr. Ali Shaar, Institute Director and Chairman of the Conference, mentioned that An-Najah's Palestinian Child Institute is doing its best to support children in Palestine due to their difficult life under the Israeli occupation.

The opening ceremony also included speeches by other guests who stressed the importance of this event that coincides with 30th anniversary of UN's Declaration of the Rights of Children where Palestine has been part of since 2004.

Dr. Rima Salah, Chair Person of Early Childhood Peace Consortium talked in details about childhood in Palestine and said that investment in children is an investment in the development of peace and democracy. She also discussed the Consortium's aspirations to enhance childhood reality especially in countries under occupation like Palestine.

The second day of the conference discussed the topics ECD in Palestine: contextual, social and system factors affecting children; impact of conflict on children, experience from the region and beyond and quality assurance, monitoring and evaluation: measuring impact, quality and processes as well as tools and experiences in quality assurance, accreditation and standardization of ECD service provision.

The conference concluded with a number of suggestions; namely, offering universal access to early childhood services, actively participating in programs targeting vulnerable families and children, focusing on interdisciplinary research, working in harmony to offer high quality support programs and following up on children's health, education and child protection as well as becoming committed to planning, execution and assessment of programs on local and international levels.

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