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The Universities Network for Children and Armed Conflict 2021 International Award is Given to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict as head of the Office of Children and Armed Conflict

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New York, 3 December 2021 – The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, in her role as head of the OSRSG-CAAC, is honored to receive the Universities Network for Children and Armed Conflict International Award of 2021 “for her tireless institutional commitment, […] the Office’s and her extraordinary personal dedication to the protection of children in situations of armed conflict and for having favored the strengthening of important synergies between different actors involved in ensuring the right of children affected by conflict.”

This award is the culmination of one year of successful collaboration between her Office and the Universities Network for Children and Armed Conflict (UNTCHAC) and it comes as the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict marks its 25th anniversary. The anniversary is an opportunity to highlight the decisive role the mandate has played in the protection of conflict-affected children in the past quarter century. “As we mark the 25th anniversary of my mandate, we have an unparalleled opportunity to not only look back at the achievements of the mandate but also to look ahead at new concerning trends and upcoming challenges that will require more attention and dedicated expertise,” said Virginia Gamba in her acceptance speech.

Launched in 2020, the Universities Network for Children and Armed Conflict is an international academic network which aims to promote analysis and research on the protection of boys and girls involved in armed conflict. The network “is a powerful force multiplier of the work of my Office. Not only does it bring together 40 universities and research centers from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, North and Latin America, including from conflict-affected countries, but it also unites like-minded people from around the world who want to know more about the protection of conflict-affected children and work towards that end,” the Special Representative further added in her speech.

Earlier this year, the Special Representative also had the honor to open the 2021 Autumn School on Building competencies and awareness on the international protection of children, particularly girls, affected by armed conflict co-organized by the Universities Network and the Institute of Political Studies "S. Pio V" and supported by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Her Office has also created the Academic Advisory Group for Child Reintegration, in order to draw on the brightest minds to assist with this particularly important aspect of her mandate.

Building and maintaining strong partnerships with academia, alongside Member States, international and regional organizations, other United Nations entities and civil society organizations, remains a priority for the Special Representative. Only with a joint and harmonized approach can we find sustainable solutions to the challenges posed by contemporary conflict and their impact on children affected by conflict.

For additional information, please contact:

Fabienne Vinet, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

+1-212-963-5986 (office) / +1-917-288-5791 (mobile) / vinet@un.org

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