The rise of Urban Violence - Can War Child Address the Issues?

Friday September 21 is the date of our first Peace Experts Session. War Child invites you to explore the challenges posed by the growth of urban violence in the company of experts and young people who have directly experienced its effects.

There are some 357 million children around the world forced to live with the effects of violence and armed conflict. Yet the stresses and disruptions these children experience are all too frequently overlooked in humanitarian responses.

And it’s not only ‘traditional war’ between state actors that disrupts the lives of these children. Violent exchanges between armed gangs in the world’s cities are becoming increasingly common - and this surge in urban violence presents an existential threat to children and youth worldwide.

This changing context demands new responses - which is why War Child will mark this year's International Day of Peace with a very special debate. 

Friday September 21 is the date of our first Peace Experts Session. The event will see prominent humanitarians and young people explore the threats facing the world’s youth - particularly the psychosocial burden - and the peacebuilding efforts needed to tackle them.  

The event

  • Expert discussion on the changing role of psychosocial wellbeing in urban conflict
  • Contributions from your people affected by the issues up for discussion
  • Intermezzo by Theatre Hotel Courage
  • Networking reception and drinks 

The programme

War Child’s Peace Experts Session 2018 is moderated by NOS News correspondent Sander van Hoorn. Sander’s career has seen him cover several major Middle East stories - including the Arab Spring, the Syrian conflict and developments in Israel and the Palestinian territories. 

Part 1: Psychosocial Support in Conflict Zones: War Child’s Expertise

How do children deal with the effects of conflict in their day-to-day lives? And what role can psychosocial support interventions play in addressing their needs?

Mark Jordans and Khalid

  • Child psychologist Mark Jordans has specialised in psychosocial and mental health care - with a particular focus on children in adversities - throughout his academic career. Dr Jordans is Professor of Child and Adolescent Global Mental Health at the University of Amsterdam and director of Research & Development at War Child. He also holds a position at King’s College London.
  • Khalid escaped the ongoing conflict in Iraq to build a new life in the Netherlands. Khalid now works as a volunteer facilitator for TeamUp - a programme in support of refugee children in the Netherlands,- a joint initiative of War Child, Save the Children and UNICEF Netherlands.   

Part 2: The Global Rise of Urban Violence

What has fuelled the rise of urban violence? And why does it affect young people in particular?

Robert Muggah and Jessica Peña

  • Political scientist Robert Muggah is one of the world’s leading authorities on urban violence, urbanisation, migration and new technologies. He is co-founder of think tanks the Igarape Institute and the SecDev Foundation. 
  • Jessica Peña grew up in the southern neighbourhoods of Bogota where violence and gang activity are common. Jessica overcame her vulnerable situation to graduate from high school with honours.

Part 3: Psychosocial Support in Urban Violence Settings: What Is War Child’s Role?

How can organisations meet the challenges posed by urban violence? What can we learn from alternative approaches?

Chris Underhill MBE and Elena Butti

  • Social entrepreneur Chris Underhill is an expert in health and rehabilitation in low- and middle-income countries. Underhill is also co-founder of citiesRISE - an initiative to create systems of mental health care in urban centres.
  • Social anthropologist Elena Butti specialises in adolescent engagement with criminal and armed groups in Latin America, with a particular focus on Colombia. She is completing her PhD at the University of Oxford


14:30              Doors open, welcome
15:00              Peace Experts Session
17:00              Networking reception and drinks 

The event will be held at the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam – the heart of the Dutch Maritime Heritage. We are very grateful to our partners at the museum for sponsoring the location for this event.


National Maritime Museum
Kattenburgerplein 1
1018 KK Amsterdam