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Leading Minds Conference 2022

On the Vital Importance of Child Identity
(Past event)

Event type: Conference

events2 - 4 November 2022
point map Palazzo Budini Gattai
Via dei Servi, 51
Florence, Italy

Salone Brunelleschi
Istituto degli Innocenti
Piazza SS. Annunziata, 12
Florence, Italy




The 2022 edition of the Leading Minds for Children and Young People conference “On the Vital Importance of Child Identity”, will be held on 2-4 November in the Salone Brunelleschi of the Istituto degli Innocenti, in Florence, Italy. The Conference is co-hosted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UNICEF Innocenti — Global Office of Research and Foresight. 

The conference will bring together some of the world’s leading thinkers — scholars, scientists, innovators, influencers, philanthropists, governments and of course young people — to understand the identity challenges that children and young people face. These range from the most traditional forms of identity — such as age, name, nationality, and family relations specified in the opening articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child — to 21st century challenges related to mass migration, cyber identity, activist status, and transnationalism, among many other topics. 

At Leading Minds 2022, we will together examine two priority areas on child identity: eliminating discrimination, exclusion and violence against children based on identity; and supporting and fostering positive child and youth identities. 



  • Provide a comprehensive review of the conference theme through a Conference Paper on the key issues that will be explored at the conference and the primary pathways to change. 
  • Convene partners and catalyse actions to promote greater acceptance and tolerance of childhood identities and protect children from violence, abuse, exploitation, neglect, discrimination, and exclusion based on identity. 
  • Agree on strategic pathways to change based on sound research and evidence and experience. 
  • Identify key issues to inform global policy and strategic advocacy positions and programmes.
  • Elevate child identity within the international forum as a key priority area for 21st century making a clear connection with the realization of ‘Our Common Agenda’, the Summit of the Future and the World Social Summit. 
  • Strengthen existing or leverage partnerships and alliances on diverse aspects of child identity including disability, gender, ethnicity, legal identity, etc. Youth leaders taking the leading role in LMC 2022, co-curating from inception to completion, and co- moderating sessions, outcomes, and actions with other Leading Minds stakeholders. 


The aim of the Leading Minds Conference is to end with a bold but achievable global ambition for children, with an associated action agenda and a set of partners committed to taking it forward. For the Leading Minds Conference 2022, a draft array of concrete results might be as follows: 

  • Clarion Call on the Elimination of Violence, Discrimination and Exclusion in Childhood based on Identity. The aim is foster support among a broad swathe of stakeholders for this declaration…with the aim of it becoming a driving force towards ‘Our Common Agenda’ and in the run up to the Summit of the Future and the World Social Summit.
  • Leading Minds Research Youth Fellowships on Child Identity. A research programme that will delve more deeply into the evidence on child identity and track proven and promising solutions. Conference Report summarising the conference outcomes and agenda. 
  • Follow Up Moderated Discussions among internal and external stakeholders on taking the conference outcomes and agenda forward. 



Conference Director
David Anthony

Conference Coordinator
Claire Akehurst



Bo Viktor Nylund

UNICEF Innocenti

David Anthony

UNICEF Innocenti

Shai Naides
Chief of Youth Engagement

UNICEF Innocenti

Yoonie Choi
Partnerships Specialist

UNICEF Innocenti

Eugenie Kodogo

UNICEF Innocenti

Marium Saeed

UNICEF Innocenti

Victor A. Lopez-Carmen (Waokiya Mani)
Indigenous Youth Health Advocate
Beth Doherty
Climate Justice Youth Advocate
Alliyah Logan
Gender Youth Advocate
Alejandro Daly
Climate and Migration Youth Advocate
Faridah Luanda
Refugee Youth Advocate
Josiah Tavita Tualamali'i
Health and Social Justice Youth Advocate
Maria Alexandrova
Inclusive Education Youth Advocate
Natasha Maimba
Migrant and Refugee Youth Advocate
Eric Njuguna
Climate Justice Youth Advocate
Ree-Anna Robinson
Mental Health Youth Advocate
Anpotowin Jensen
Climate and Indigenous Youth Advocate
Pablo Espinella
Senior Special Assistant, Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secreta
Angie Makwetla
Commissioner, South African Human Rights Commission Responsible for Children’s R
Mia Dambach
Executive Director, Child Identity Protection
Bruce Adamson
Children’s Commissioner, Government of Scotland
Lorraine Sherr
Prof of Clinical and  Health Psychology, University College London
Angus Macbeth
Professor, Clinical Psychology, University of Edinburgh
Lucie Cluver
Professor of Child and Family Social Work, University of Oxford 
Shanaaz Mathews
Director, Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town
Verena Knaus
Senior Advisor, Migration, UNICEF HQ
Lauren Rumble
Senior Advisor, Child Rights, UNICEF HQ
Suraj Yengde
Professor of Sociology, Harvard Kennedy School
Dainius Puras
Professor, Psychology, Vilnius University
Dr Joan Nyanyuki
Director, Africa Child Policy Forum
Katherine Holland
President, Perkins School for the Blind


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