Exactly 100 years ago Save the Children founder Eglantyne Jebb issued a challenge to the world to stop “wars against children”. But today more children are growing up in war zones than at any time in the last 20 years. 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 – will bring together experts, policy-makers, academics, philanthropists and business leaders to identify practical solutions to protect children in conflict and rebuild their lives.

Yes, I want to attend the See Me Safe Symposium

I would like to make a donation towards my place

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

Every sixth child on earth is now affected by armed conflict. The nature of warfare is changing – with devastating impact on children. As war becomes increasingly urban, homes, schools and playgrounds have become battlefields. The fragmentation of armed groups and today’s protracted conflicts are putting international norms and laws governing war under enormous strain. Children are on the frontline and are being killed, injured, starved and traumatised. Their rights to survive, be safe and to learn are violated by deadly acts of war. 

A generation of children has seen things nobody should. We can’t change their past. But by working together, we can change the future of children around the world, like Sali* and Yannick*.

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

Suggested contribution: £100 per place 

See Me Safe – a symposium hosted by Save the Children and Chatham House – will inspire the ideas and action that will give a generation of children growing up in conflict a better future. 

Drawing on the latest evidence, practice and policy developments, together we’ll discuss and debate practical solutions to protect children in conflict. The event will run all day and comprise key-note speeches, panel discussions, breakout sessions and showcase our work around the world. It will finish with an evening drinks reception, for a chance to network and reflect on the day.

“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.

A partnership for change, See Me Safe will bring together experts, policy-makers, academics, philanthropists and business leaders to propose practical solutions to protect children in conflict and inspire support to rebuild children’s lives.

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 

For more information or to register your interest please contact specialevents@savethechildren.org.uk or 020 3763 0888.

There is a suggested contribution of £100 per place, if you are able, which will go towards our work around the world. You can make your donation here.

Related information