►Message of Unity: How Children Can Lead Us Towards Peace | Will Kneerim, IRIS

April 21, 2019

“I am thrilled that all of you are here, focusing on the issues of early childhood education. And, there is no doubt, we see it every day at ground level, that this is what builds peace, not only in the future generations, as these (refugee) children grow up and raise their own children, but in the adults, the teachers, the parents and their friends.”


In this presentation, Will Kneerim shares heartfelt heroic and hopeful stories from the front lines of his work with refugee children and their families who have resettled in the Connecticut from conflict zones in Africa and the Middle East.  Despite high levels of post traumatic stress (PTSD) experienced by 60-70% of the resettling refugees, the impact of their receiving early learning and academic tutoring, healthcare and life long support is both empowering and awe inspiring in building social cohesion among groups and paving a road to peace.


Will Kneerim lived and worked in Asia, Latin America, Europe, and both coasts of North America during his career in global logistics.  He pursued a transition to the non-profit sector where for the last five years he’s directed programs at IRIS- Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services in New Haven, CT.  IRIS responded to the global refugee crisis in 2015 by more than doubling its clientele from Africa and the Middle East, helping UN designated refugees from Afghanistan, Congo, Syria and elsewhere begin new lives.  Will has been a presenter, panelist and moderator at universities and conferences around the U.S., and has served in board leadership positions for philanthropic and arts organizations.

9:19 ENG / Subtitles


Watch 14 compelling talks by 25 world champions in evidence-based science and practice, education, human migration, web technology and media. Learn why they join together in expertise to pave a road to hope and build pathways to peace through the transformative power of children and families. Hear them sound the global call to action as they launch the ECPC Pledge to Action for Peace. 
  • Be informedMeet the conference presenters who share with you their knowledge, generated from the front lines of this burgeoning field of peacebuilding through early childhood development (ECD). Read their biographies and access additional learning materials.
  • Get involved. Help us pave the road to hope and The Culture of Peace by sharing these series videos with your friends and colleagues.
  • Build peace! Take the ECPC Pledge of Action for Peace, launched by conference speaker, Miss Lames Abdelrahman, IRIS Refugee Ambassador from The Sudan.


This ECPC event was organized by and made possible with support from Queen’s University Belfast LINKS, Yale University, UNICEF and the ECPC.


Distinguished ECPC affiliated presenters join us from the halls of Yale University (Child Study Center, the MacMillan Center for Area Studies, Web Services) Queen’s University Belfast, the United Nations, The Global Movement for The Culture of Peace, UNICEF, Sesame Workshop, ACEV-Mother Child Education Foundation, IRIS-Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, and the NGO Committee on Migration.


The ECPC was established to grow a global movement for peace, social justice and prevention of violence through using evidence-informed strategies to enable the world community to advance peace, security and sustainable development. We must address root causes of violence and conflict, and we must empower children and families to be agents of change to advance social cohesion and peace. 


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