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Antwerp welcomes the Child in the City international seminar

Photo by Julia Zvobgo

On Monday, over a hundred academics, practitioners and children’s rights experts from across the globe were a part of the first day of the Child in the City (CitC) international seminar in Antwerp. This third CitC seminar brought together experts from various disciplines and from twenty international contexts. 

As Professor Lia Karsten, President of the Child in the City Scientific Programme Committee the aim of the seminar is to stimulate an exchange of the latest research results, innovative policies and good practices. Professor Karsten added, “our focus is to connect these different sources of knowledge in a way that both strengthens sustainable cities and children’s position in cities.”

Day one of the seminar

With over a hundred participants, naturally, the highest number of attendees came from cities within Belgium. However, a number of people travelled from cities such as San Fransisco, Recife, Shenzhen, Izmir, Madrid, and Melbourne to name a few.

The day started with a walking field trip to the Brederode neighbourhood. Where participants saw how Antwerp works on making child-friendly networks with safe and liveable connections between playgrounds, sports fields, parks, schools.

During the opening ceremony participants were welcomed by the Chairwoman for the Day An Piessens, Jinnih Beels the Alderwoman for Youth for the City of Antwerp and Professor Lia Karsten President of the Child in the City Scientific Programme Committee. Professor Karsten explained that the seminar was organised by her committee “together with the city of Antwerp and the event manager” which was “all commissioned by the Child in the City Foundation”.

Continuing she added: “We decided on the topic of sustainability, just some months before the start of the big youth protests all over Europe, but particularly in Belgium, against the halfhearted policies on sustainability by local and national governments. Cities all over the world are developing policies to make the urban environment more sustainable. At the same time global initiatives to make cities more child-friendly are increasingly important. This seminar in Antwerp comes at a strategic moment. The coming two days, we want to answer the question: What does a child-friendly and youth inclusive sustainable urban future look like?”

Author: Julia Zvobgo

Julia Zvobgo is a Cultural Anthropologist. She is also the Community Manager and Events Manager of Child in the City.

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