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ARS Participates in the 61st Session of the UN Commission of the Status of Women

NEW YORK—The 61st session of the United Nations (UN) Commission of the Status of Women (CSW) took place March 13-14. The Commission addressed as
its priority the theme “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.” In addition, it evaluated the progress in the implementation of the agreed conclusions from the 58th session (2014) on “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls.” The Commission also contributed to the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to accelerate the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Group photo with panelists, session attendees, and ARS members.

Among the many non-governmental organizations present during the 61st CSW sessions, The Armenian Relief Society (ARS), as in previous
years, participated with representatives from New York, New Jersey, and Canada, in multiple stakeholder meetings.

On March 15, the ARS hosted a parallel event titled “Investing in Early Years Of Life: A Global View of Empowering Women.”

The panel discussion was moderated by the ARS UN coordinator Aleek Sherikian.

The distinguished panel members included:

Andrew Claypole, the Senior Advisor to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children. Claypole addressed early childhood violence and the profound and long-lasting impact it has on children. He also recognized the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development two critical issues and that has specific targets on ending all forms of violence against children and ensuring access for all children to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education.

Dr. Rima Salah, Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale Child Study Center and a member of the UN High-Level Independent Panel on peace Operations. As a highly effective advocate for the rights of children and women in armed conflict and post-conflict situations, Dr. Salah has contributed to the UN Security Council Resolution 1612 on Child Rights Violations and UN Security Council Resolution 1325, Women Peace, and Security. Her presentation focused on “Pathways to Peace” and how can more peaceful childhoods promote a culture of peace. Increasing evidence from a broad range of disciplines showing that how we raise our children can have an affects the tendency for conflict and the potential for peace within a given community.

Ms. Maria Pia Belloni Mignatti, an active member in the World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP) and is the chair of the NGO migration committee. Ms. Belloni Mignatti firmly articulated through the title of her presentation that there are “No More Excuses: Provide Early Childhood Development to Children on the Move.”

Session panelists (L to R) Dr. Rima Salah, Andrew Claypole, Ms. Maria Pia Belloni Mignatti, and Ms. Sossi Essajanian

Investing in migrant and refugee children is critical for progress in improving growth rates, reducing poverty, increasing access to quality education and achieving greater equity and social stability. If Governments and Member States are serious in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, they must invest in early childhood programs and services for migrants and refugee children.

Ms. Sossi Essajanian, a teacher at the United Nations School Manhattan campus for Kindergarten students, discussed that early childhood education provides foundational support for the developing child. Her presentation provided an overview of research surrounding the effects of early childhood education on children’s learning, development, and future achievement. She also briefly highlighted the ARS success story of the Soseh Kindergartens with new educational and pedagogical methods in Artsakh.

These collective efforts and thoughts on best practices aim to bring humanity closer to “leaving no one behind” and ultimately empowering women. The participants certainly enjoyed a very informative panel discussion and a very engaging discussion and question and answer session that followed.

The ARS is committed to supporting children during these critical early years of development. For many years, the ARS has maintained its high ethical standards and fostered good fellowship. It has established various programs, such as kindergartens and summer camps both domestically and internationally, day and weekend schools, and academic scholarships.

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