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100 years ago Save the Children founder Eglantyne Jebb issued a challenge to the world to stop “wars against children”. But today more children more children than ever are living in areas affected by conflict. As conflict becomes increasingly urban, homes, schools and playgrounds have become the frontline. The fragmentation of armed groups and today’s protracted conflicts are putting international norms and laws governing war under enormous strain. Again, and again, children’s rights to survive, be safe and to learn are violated by deadly acts of war.

See Me Safe – a one-day symposium hosted by Save the Children and Chatham House, and sponsored by Castle Water – brought together experts, policymakers, academics, philanthropists and business leaders to identify practical solutions to protect children in conflict and rebuild their lives. Youth Campaigners from the UK and children who have been affected by conflict also joined to express their views.

For more information about the See Me Safe Symposium or our other special events, please contact specialevents@savethechildren.org.uk or 020 3763 0888.

“All wars, whether just or unjust, disastrous or victorious, are waged against the child” Eglantyne Jebb


Save the Children’s 2019 report Stop the War on Children found that at least 420 million children globally – almost one in five – are are living in areas where they are vulnerable to being killed, maimed, denied humanitarian assistance, sexually abused, recruited, abducted or having their schools and hospitals attacked.

A generation of children has seen things nobody should. We can’t change their past. But by working together, we can change the future.

Join in us in our efforts to make children off-limits in war.

Sali's Story

Sali* (above) is 14 years old. Between the spring and summer of 2015, she witnessed the death of her older brother, her aunt and two of her cousins when their small home was hit by aircraft fire during ground offensives in Aden.

Following the reduction in violence in the south of Yemen, Sali went back to school, but she was unable to concentrate in her classes because of the trauma she had experienced. She lost interest in education and ultimately failed her sixth grade exams.

Sali was identified by our child protection team as needing special psychosocial support, and she enrolled in a rehabilitation programme. Sali is doing much better now. She goes to school every day, is enjoying her classes and hopes to become a teacher in the future.

*name changed to protect identity

Date: Tuesday 7 May 2019 – a one-day symposium followed by an evening drinks reception 

Venue: Church House Westminster, Deans Yard, London SW1P 3NZ

To mark our Centenary, Save the Children and world-leading policy institute Chatham House co-hosted a one-day Symposium on protecting children in conflict, kindly sponsored by Castle Water. The day brought together participants from across the private sector, philanthropy, think tanks, NGOs, academia and government for a day of discussion, exhibitions and networking. Youth Campaigners from the UK and children who have been affected by conflict also joined to express their views.

The event discussed the following areas to ensure children’s protection in conflict:

  • The role of the UK in protecting children in conflict 
  • Justice for children in conflict and how we can hold perpetrators to account
  • Public perceptions of conflict and the media’s role – what does it take for the world to listen?
  • Children’s right to recovery and how we can help rebuild their lives


“I learned so much from the Save the Children Symposium. From the vast scale of work carried out on a day-to-day basis, to their high level government projects. The calibre of speakers and discussion topics were similarly fantastic.” - Alex Mitchell, Bravado (The Emoji Company)

“I found it to be very powerful and challenging. I thought that the representation on the panel was very well selected. What stood out to me as particularly important is that a strong element of the new campaign is about creating a platform, not just for Save the Children, but for other organisations too, to enable collaboration in pursuit of common goals. That’s something that I think is vital – bringing all the right actors to the table - and I think that Save the Children is perfectly placed to do this.” - Josh Gorringe

“Clearly there is no inherent impossibility in saving children’s lives. It is only impossible if we make it so by our refusal to attempt it.” Eglantyne Jebb

Over the course of our history, Save the Children has responded to conflict-related emergencies. From the Vietnam War, to Bangladesh, Biafra and Rwanda, we have been involved not just in humanitarian response, but in providing support for recovery and engaging with governments and international agencies. Right now, from Yemen to Myanmar, Syria to Somalia, our teams are supporting children in the toughest situations – helping them survive, be safe, recover and get the chance to learn.

Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, is a world-leading policy institute working to help governments and societies build a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world. Chatham House, which is approaching its centenary in 2020, engages governments, the private sector and civil society in open debate and private discussions about the most significant developments in international affairs.

The See Me Safe Symposium was kindly sponsored by Castle Water, whose committed support enables Save the Children to respond to emergencies as soon as disaster strikes, ensuring that children around the world can have access to safe, clean drinking water when they need it most.


10:00 – 10:40 - Registration

Pastries and coffee

10:40 – 10:45 - Welcome

Natasha Kaplinsky, Save the Children Ambassador

10:45 – 10:55 - 100 years of Save the Children 

Kevin Watkins, Chief Executive, Save the Children

10:55 – 11:15 - Keynote Speech

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office

11:15 – 12:00 - Protecting Children in Conflict: A Role for the United Kingdom

Today, nearly one fifth of the world’s children live in war zones. However, what can we do in the United Kingdom to protect children in conflict? The United Kingdom has a seat at some of the most powerful tables on earth, including the United Nations (UN), North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the Group of Twenty (G20), and the Commonwealth. The UK is also one of the biggest humanitarian donors and has well respected institutions that have a reach across the globe. The panel will explore the role of the UK Government, private sector, philanthropists, and other actors in protecting children in conflict, and the importance of British leadership on this issue. 


  • Natasha Kaplinsky, Save the Children Ambassador


  • Rosy Cave, Head, Gender Equality Unit/ Head, Office of the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict
  • Svenja Geissmar, General Counsel, Arsenal and Chair of The Arsenal Foundation
  • Emanuela-Chiara Gillard, Associate Fellow, Chatham House
  • Kolbassia Haoussou, Freedom from Torture and Co-Founder, Survivors Speak OUT

12:00 – 12:15 - My Rights, My Voice    

  • Mohammad, 15 years old, Za’atari Refugee Camp, Jordan (by video link)
  • Saba, 14 years old, Za’atari Refugee Camp, Jordan (by video link)

Today we will hear from Mohammad and Saba from Za’atari Refugee Camp. They are both actively involved in Coaching for Life – an innovative programme by Arsenal and Save the Children which combines football and life skills to improve the mental wellbeing of children affected by conflict. Coaching for life includes an advocacy team, where children in the camp can raise issues thy are concerned about and explore solutions together, with those in positions of power to influence change.

12:15 – 13:15 - Lunch

Exhibitions and virtual reality films

13:15 – 14:00 - Justice for Children in Conflict

What will it take to ensure that perpetrators face justice for crimes against children? Panellists will discuss concrete steps that must be taken for crimes against children in conflict to be more systematically investigated and perpetrators prosecuted.


  • Veronique Aubert, Senior Conflict & Humanitarian Policy & Research Advisor, Save the Children


  • Diane Marie Amann, University of Georgia School of Law
  • Shaheed Fatima Q.C, Barrister, Blackstone Chambers
  • Jessica Gladstone, Partner, Clifford Chance LLP
  • Salah Uddin, International Campaign Officer, British Rohingya Community

14:00 – 14:45 - Public Perceptions of Conflict and the Role of the Media

What does it take for the world to listen when atrocities are committed against children? Panellists will discuss depictions of war and the role of the media and NGOs in ensuring a change for the better.


  • Sean Ryan, Director of Media Save the Children


  • Iona Craig, Journalist and Future of War Fellow at New America
  • Dr Nick Gadsby, Founder, The Answer
  • Charu Lata Hogg, Executive Director, All Survivors Project; Associate Fellow, Chatham House
  • Christina Lamb, Chief Foreign Correspondent, Sunday Times


14:45 -15:15 - Coffee and biscuits

Exhibitions and virtual reality films

15:15 – 16:00 - Children’s Right to Recovery

The panel will set out the powerful case for mental health and psychosocial support for children harmed in war, and what governments can do to put children’s needs at the heart of recovery once war has ended. We will also discuss the important role that humanitarian child protection, education and health activities play in ensuring children’s needs are met in the aftermath of conflict, and how ground-breaking programmes are helping give children the skills they need to recover from war and reach their full potential.


  • Abdulkarim Albrem, Youth Ambassador, UNHCR Global Youth Advisory Council
  • Freddie Hudson, Arsenal in the Community Manager
  • Dr Vijay Kumar, Executive Director, MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab
  • Dr Leslie Snider, Director, MHPSS Collaborative


16:00-16:45 - My Rights, My Voice

Elizabeth and Sufyaan, two young campaigners from the UK, will join Kirsty McNeill from Save the Children to discuss why the campaign to protect children in conflict is important, the role of the UK, and how we can place children at the heart of our discussions and decision making.   

At Save the Children, we advocate every day on behalf of young people whose rights are being violated in conflict, but nothing is more powerful than when young people stand in solidarity with one another and speak out against injustice.


  • Kirsty McNeill, Executive Director of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns, Save the Children


  • Elizabeth, 17 years old, UK
  • Sufyaan, 16 years old, UK


16:45 -17:00 - Close

Dr Patricia Lewis, Research Director, International Security at Chatham House

17:00 - 18:30 - Networking Reception

Please join us for drinks and nibbles in the Bishop Partridge Hall 

Chatham House and Castle Water logos

View more photographs from the day here

Upcoming Events

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of our events have been postponed. Please get in touch with our Special Events team at specialevents@savethechildren.org.uk for further information.

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