Abu Dhabi: First WED Forum to mark Emirati Children's Day; over 50 speakers to take part

The two-day forum intends to challenge mindsets and ignite powerful conversations about the development of young children


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 14 Mar 2022, 12:24 PM

The World Early Childhood Development (WED) Movement, established by Abu Dhabi's Early Childhood Authority (ECA), will host the inaugural WED Forum on March 15 and 16 at Yas South Skate Part in Abu Dhabi.

Marking Emirati Children's Day on March 15, WED Forum will open its doors to over 250 world-leading policy influencers, academics, practitioners and innovators from multiple sectors.

The forum, to be held in partnership with Mubadala, will see over 50 speakers from the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector address 14 globally-trending ECD topics.

The WED Forum aims to inspire members of the ECD ecosystem to become active change-makers, in addition to identifying prevailing concepts and behaviours and launching effective and meaningful dialogues about the development of young children.

With intentions to challenge mindsets and ignite powerful ECD conversations, the forum will immerse its delegates in an interactive space, designed to recreate a child’s big life events of growth and development, seen through the eyes of four children with different social backgrounds and profiles.

The two-day forum, themed around 'Connections', will explore how purposeful connections are the bedrock of community, the support network that enables every child to be healthy, confident, curious, able to learn and develop strong values in a safe and family-friendly environment.

WED Forum, serving as a ‘glocal’ knowledge platform, will focus on key challenges identified in the WED Movement’s main themes – Tech Humanity for Children, 21st Century Lifestyle, Emotional Well-Being and Social Interactions. It will reveal solutions that the team has arrived to over 110 sessions, highlighting Abu Dhabi’s evolving role as an innovation hub in ECD, as well as help set in motion impactful outputs to pressing challenges faced locally and globally.

The forum programme will include sessions, such as ‘How should governments and policymakers address the yet to be known negative impact of technologies used today?’, ‘the mental health needs of digital generations’ and ‘creating a healthy urban network for children to play and exercise safely in a hot climate’ and ‘Reflecting on our systemic responses to the impact of Covid-19 on Children of Determination’.

Each present respective challenges, which will then be tackled through in-depth round-tables, gathering local and global change-makers within the ECD ecosystem and beyond, to share best practices, actively consider solutions, and finally propose and devise programs with the potential to influence policy and change.

Dr Michael Rich, Group Leader for the Tech Humanity for Children Breakthrough Working Group (BWG), said: “I’m thrilled that the day has finally come, where we bring together incredible minds, as we navigate through the learnings and outputs of our extraordinary teams.

Our teams have Abu Dhabi at its heart, but the world at mind. Our team will be honing the discussion on ‘Ethical questions around monitoring children’s development through technology’ and many more interesting focuses. I look forward to it.”

Dr Hossam Tatari, a group member of the 21st Century Lifestyle Breakthrough Working Group (BWG) said: “We are uniquely positioned to support Abu Dhabi in driving extraordinary change in ECD locally and globally. My team and I are committed to using the knowledge and experience of our ever-growing team to drive innovation and help our children grow up healthier, smarter, and more empowered than ever before. The future of our nation, and the world, depends on them.


D. Suha Al Hassan, Associate Professor, Special Education - Applied Behavior Analysis, and Group Member of the Emotional Well-being and Social Interaction Breakthrough Working Group (BWG), said: “In its first-edition, this Forum intends to grow credibility in this space, through exploration, collaboration and conversation. My team and I strongly mirror ECA’s Vision 2035, in working towards ensuring every young child is provided the best possible opportunity to be healthy, confident, curious, and able to learn and develop strong values in a safe, family-friendly environment, here in Abu Dhabi and beyond.

The culmination of the two-day event will be with a children’s fun run, open to the public for children (ages 0-8), their families and siblings to participate in a 1km ‘WED Children Challenge’. This activity is organised by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in partnership with Mubadala, and set to take place on Wednesday Evening March 16th, March 16.

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