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Future Frontiers of Childhood and Adolescence

In Latin America and the Caribbean
(Past event)

Event type: Seminar

events8 March 2022time15:00 - 16:30
events9 March 2022time15:00 - 16:30
events10 March 2022time15:00 - 16:30

The UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti and UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office, with the support of  On Think Tanks,  and  CIUP (Centro de Investigación de la Universidad del Pacífico) are convening three policy discussions to promote reflection and fruitful discussion around the concept of Future Frontiers of Childhood and Adolescence in Latin America and the Caribbean. 


8th March | Children on the move in Latin America and the Caribbean: Changing narratives about migration and its implications for children and adolescents’ rights

Over the last decade, Latin America and the Caribbean has experienced a changing narrative around migration within, from, and to the region, as a result of interconnected and diverse drivers linked to emerging frontier trends such as political instability, economic recession, climate change, and natural disaster. The complexity, fluidity and acute nature of these factors pose profound challenges to governmental and humanitarian responses. In this context, local social protection networks, which traditionally have had deficits to fulfill local populations’ demands, risk becoming overwhelmed. Children and adolescents make up a substantial proportion of people on the move in the region. Traveling alone, separated, or with their families, they represent one of the most vulnerable populations in the context of migration often overlooked. Protecting the rights of children and their families who are engaged in migration is an urgent priority for governments, international, and civil society organizations. Moreover, in the region, a process of changing sociopolitical narratives about migration is taking place with significant implications for traditional approaches to supporting children on the move and their rights. New evidence and thinking are urgently needed to ensure effective, child-sensitive solutions for the present and emerging future. Significant gaps in data, knowledge, and evidence, however, continue to constrain responses. This panel discusses this process by highlighting present and future challenges and opportunities for children and adolescents’ rights and wellbeing in a burgeoning regional context of human mobility. It will draw on insights from both UNICEF’s work and evidence on child migration in the Latin America and Caribbean region and globally, as well as leading emerging evidence from academia and the wider research community.  


  • Feline Freier De Ferrari, Researcher at the Research Center of the Universidad del Pacifico, Peru (Moderator)  

  • Pablo Ceriani, Coordinator of the Program of Research and Advocacy on Migration and Asylum, Institute of Justice and Human Rights, Universidad de Lanus, Argentina

  • Olivia Bueno, Children and Migration Consultant, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti   

  • Sayo Aoki, Regional Emergency Manager, UNICEF Latin America, and Caribbean Regional Office 

  • Josiah Kaplan, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti 


9th March | Family and Early Childhood Development (ECD) Policies in Latin America and the Caribbean

Beset by a history of income inequality and economic instability, countries across Latin America and the Caribbean region have been expanding their social welfare systems – globally recognized for their innovation – to serve both families’ needs as well as social and economic development goals. In recent years, some countries in the region have implemented and expanded comprehensive early childhood policies, in many cases with pioneering models of intersectoral coordination and support for families. However, this momentum has declined, and there are signs of setbacks in investment in early childhood and access to quality services. In addition, many countries in the region are still facing significant challenges to the set-up and implementation of critical family policies, such as childcare services and broader social protection systems. Demand continues to outstrip supply, service quality is variable, and so social protection systems must continue to reform to help families and societies meet new common challenges such as COVID-19, climate change, social polarization, and migration in the region. So where next for Latin America, and where next for family policy and specifically early childhood interventions? To explore this question, this policy panel brings together leading thinkers to discuss family policies fit for our future. This moderated panel will involve recognized experts and active audience participation.


  • Ignacio Socías, Director of Communication and International Relations of the International Federation for Family Development (Moderator)  

  • Ariel Fizbein, Director of the education program at the Inter-american Dialogue 

  • Cecilia Vaca Jones, Executive Director at the Bernard van Leer Foundation  

  • Constanza Liliana Alarcón, Vice-minister of pre-school, basic and middle education of Colombia  

  • Julio Bango, Ex National Secretary General of Care, Uruguay 


10th March | Inclusive Back to School: Reopening schools as an opportunity for children with disabilities in Latin America and the Caribbean

The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the learning outcomes of children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean. In a region characterized by high levels of socio-economic inequality, the effects of measures such as remote learning worsened the conditions of traditionally disadvantaged populations like children and adolescents with disabilities. This discussion aims to explore, through the voices of a diverse range of stakeholders working in the region, how “return to school” can become an opportunity for inclusion for children with disabilities and what is necessary to foster an inclusive school reopening that can redress negative impacts for children and adolescents with disabilities across the region. Experts will address the following questions: What are the challenges to ensure an inclusive return to school for children and adolescents with disabilities? What adjustments or accommodations are needed for schools to ensure the effective inclusion of children with disabilities during the reopening schools process in the post-pandemic context? What community support measures for students and their families are needed to facilitate an inclusive return to school for children with disability? 



  • Cynthia Brizuela, Education Specialist, UNICEF Latin America and Caribbean Regional Office 

  • Alessandra Ipince, Consultant, Knowledge Management and Evidence Synthesis, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti 


Please note these seminars are available by invitation only and they will be held in Spanish. The Changing Narratives session will offer Spanish-English interpretation, and the session on Inclusive return to school will offer sign-language interpretation.

Contact us if you are interested in receiving further information. These sessions were originally conceived to be held as part of Semana de la Evidencia alongside the keynote session on the role of evidence on school closures in the region, and have been moved to March 2022 due to time constraints.  


Alessandra Ipince
Research Facilitation Consultant

UNICEF Innocenti

Olivia Bueno
Children and Migration Consultant

UNICEF Innocenti

Josiah Kaplan
Child Protection Specialist

UNICEF Innocenti

Alberto Vásquez Encalada
Senior Advisor at Center for Inclusive Policy, UNICEF
Pablo Ceriani
Institute of Justice and Human Rights, Universidad de Lanus
Luisa Feline Freier
Research Center of the Universidad del Pacifico
Cynthia Brizuela
Senior Advisor at Center for Inclusive Policy, UNICEF
Ignacio Socías
International Federation for Family Development
Ariel Fiszbein
Inter-american Dialogue
Cecilia Vaca Jones
Bernard van Leer Foundation
Sayo Aoki
UNICEF Latin America, and Caribbean Regional Office
Julio Bango
Ex National Secretary General of Care, Uruguay
Constanza Liliana Alarcón
Vice-minister of pre-school, basic and middle education of Colombia


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