A bright new future for Child in the City Foundation

The non-profit Child in the City Foundation, which works for the well-being of children globally, is looking to the future with a streamlined new structure.

Since 2002 this Netherlands-based foundation has been successfully organising bi-annual conferences in cities across Europe, focusing on a wide spectrum of subjects affecting children and young people. These have been complemented by seminars held every other year which are focused on taking a more in-depth look at a particular issue.

Together, these events have been providing a platform for scientists, NGOs and policymakers to meet and exchange knowledge and experience on topics directly affecting the wellbeing of children in cities.

‘It was a perfect partnership’

Child in the City Foundation was jointly founded by Dr Jan van Gils from Belgium, who was responsible for the scientific programs, and Johan Haarhuis from The Netherlands, who looked after all organisational aspects of the events. 

Johan Haarhuis said: :”It was a perfect partnership for more than 16 years based on mutual trust and respect which led to many successful events. Unfortunately Jan had to retire for health reasons, which left the foundation in need of forming a new partnership to take responsibility for the content of the conferences and seminars.”

Therefore the new Child in the City Foundation has recently installed the Scientific Program Committee (SPC), responsible for a high quality of content at the conferences. President of the SPC is Dr ir Lia Karsten, associate professor Urban Geographies at the University of Amsterdam. Other members include Froukje Hajer, professional play and youth worker; Carlo Fabian, senior researcher and lecturer with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in north-western Switzerland; Irene Quintans, consultant working in urban projects based in Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Sven De Visscher, lecturer in social work at University College Ghent in Belgium. This highly qualified team of experts all have an independent status and are not being paid for their work.

‘Safeguard the continuity of experiences’

The Foundation is also complemented by a new board of directors, with co-founder Johan Haarhuis continuing as chairman to safeguard the continuity of experiences gained in the past few years. Also on the board are Froukje Hajer (temporary); Marieke Hebbenaar, who works with the Dutch Association of Municipalities, Chris Kuypers from the Dutch National Contact Organisation for Municipal Well-Being, and Dr Lia Karsten. 

The intellectual ownership of the foundation, covering assets such as the brand, domainname, website, news articles and contact database which were previously partially shared with Europoint, were granted and transferred in full to the foundation, which has now the sole proprietorship. Promedia Events & Conferences which is a professional conference organiser is the current service provider for organising events. 

‘We have excellent teams’

Johan Haarhuis added: ”This new structure, fully in place and active, creates a clear situation with separate but shared responsibilities of the three parties involved. I am convinced that we have excellent teams for a successful cooperation and continuation of activities and that, crucially, the legacy of Jan van Gils is in very good hands.”

Along with this website, Child in the City champions the wellbeing of children in cities through a variety of platforms including research, blogs, interviews, papers, opinions, conferences and seminars. It also sends out a weekly newsletter to child professionals, highlighting the week’s news. 

Author: Simon Weedy

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