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March 30, 2022

Innovating Protection for Children at Risk in the Americas

Innovating Protection for Children at Risk in the Americas Video Player

Showing the Innovating Protection for Children at Risk in the Americas Video

Hundreds of thousands of children are leaving their homes, either with family members or on their own, experiencing internal displacement and attempting to cross borders throughout the Americas. Those who embark on a migration journey do so for a variety of reasons. Some are fleeing violence and crime; others have been facing climate-induced disasters, food insecurity, and extreme poverty. Drivers may differ depending on area of origin, gender, and ethnicity. An overarching commonality, however, is age. Across the Americas, being young is the strongest predictor of an intention to migrate.

As various stakeholders seek to address root causes and stem the tide of “irregular” migration, it is important to consider what the decision to leave home means for children and youth. To what extent do the approaches of national and international governments and partners prioritize the perceptions and needs of young people who are inclined to migrate? What efforts are underway to help children and families feel rooted and safe in their communities of origin, before the migration journey begins? What can we learn from these efforts and their impact? 

This event was co-sponsored by the Georgetown University Collaborative on Global Children’s Issues, the Institute for the Study of International Migration, and the Georgetown Americas Institute. It is part of the series Innovating Protection for Children on the Move Across the Americas, with webinars planned for March 30, April 22, and May 4.

This webinar was available in English and Spanish.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Fabrice Floran

Participants

María Eugenia Brizuela de Ávila

María Eugenia Brizuela de Ávila

María Eugenia Brizuela de Ávila is a lawyer who served as El Salvador’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1999 to 2004. She worked as a director of corporate sustainability at HSBC and holds senior positions with the International Commission on Missing Persons, the Atlantic Council, and as a board member and advisor to private entities and nonprofits.

Juan José Hurtado

Juan José Hurtado

Juan José Hurtado is the executive director of Asociación Pop No’j in Guatemala. With a background in community development, social movements, and human rights, Hurtado’s work focuses on protecting the rights and culture of the Mayan people, particularly in the context of migration.

Nikki Enersen

Nikki Enersen

Nikki Enersen is a foreign service officer at the U.S. Agency for International Development. She leads the Children, Youth, and Families team, the Indigenous Peoples Program, and is the acting deputy director for the Inclusive Development Hub. Enersen previously served in served in Guatemala, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and the West African Regional Missions.

Mark Connolly

Mark Connolly

Mark Connolly has been the UNICEF Representative in Honduras since 2018. He has more than 30 years of experience working with international organizations addressing health and development concerns of children and young people in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Luciano Cadoni

Luciano Cadoni

Luciano Cadoni is a program officer for the protection of the rights of the child with the regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean at Church World Service. He leads Plataforma NNAPEs, a strategic alliance that works with and for children and adolescents with incarcerated parents. Cadoni also supervises implementation of PREVENIR, a pilot project through the Alliance for the Prevention of Violence Against Children in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico.

Gillian Huebner

Gillian Huebner

Gillian Huebner (moderator) is the executive director of the Collaborative on Global Children’s Issues at Georgetown University. Her work focuses on supporting programs and systems to enhance community-based and nationally-owned approaches to building young people’s resilience and supporting children at risk. She has worked with the UN, USAID, foundations, and NGOs in the U.S. and overseas.