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Keynote Speakers

Click on the presentation titles to view their coinciding PDF's.


Kim Oates - Emeritus Professor, Sydney University - Recipient of 2014 Kempe Lectureship Award
Susan Bissell - Associate Director, Chief, Child Protection, Programmes, UNICEF

Dr. Michiko Kobayashi - President, Japan Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, Co-Chair of the 2014 Congress

Maria Santos Pais - Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children

Francisco Pilotti - International Consultant

Mike Wessell - Professor, Columbia University in the Program on Forced Migration and Health

Kim Oates - Emeritus Professor, Sydney University 
Recipient of 2014 Kempe Lectureship Award

Past Progress, Potential Possibilities
Most of Kim’s professional work has been associated with the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Sydney University. He was foundation Burrows Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at Sydney University, a position he held simultaneously with Chair of the Division of Medicine at the Children’s Hospital. He was Chief Executive of the Children’s Hospital 1997-2006. Throughout 1993 he was acting Director of the Kempe Center.  

He joined ISPCAN in 1982, was elected to the Executive Council in 1984 and was President 1988-1990. He re-joined Council in 2001 and served as treasurer for 6 years. He has a long association with the journal “Child Abuse and Neglect”, as a Senior Associate Editor for 6 years and remains on the Editorial Board.

Awards for services to children include the Brandt Steele Award, the Kempe Award, the Sydney University Alumni Award and The Howard Williams Medal for “Outstanding contributions to Paediatrics and Child Health in Australasia”  

He is currently Emeritus Professor at Sydney University and Director of Undergraduate Quality and Safety Education at the Clinical Excellence Commission.

Susan Bissell - Associate Director, Chief, Child Protection, Programmes, UNICEF
End violence against children - Action to prevent and respond to violence against children

A native of Canada, Susan first served UNICEF in 1987, in New York, in what was then called the Division of Information and Public Affairs. Thereafter she returned to the University of Toronto to complete a Master’s degree in law, economics and international relations. Susan then resumed her work at UNICEF, in the Sri Lanka country office, focused on children in especially difficult circumstances (CEDC). From there Susan moved to Bangladesh and maintained her CEDC concentration, positioning UNICEF particularly on child labour at a time when it was attracting considerable international attention.


In 1997, Susan again commenced academic work, in a doctoral degree in public health and medical anthropology at the WHO Key Center for Women’s Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Melbourne. While completing her doctorate, Susan also worked with Trudie Styler and the Bangladeshi film team Catherine and Tareque Masud to produce the documentary "A Kind of Childhood." The film screened widely at film festivals in North America, Europe, and Asia, and appeared on Canadian, American, and British television. In 2005, it had a second screening at the London Human Rights Watch Film Festival.


Susan came back to UNICEF in 2001 as the Chief of Child Protection in India. In 2004, she transferred to the Innocenti Research Center, where she led a research unit and a number of studies. These included a 62-country study on the implementation of the general measures of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and global research on the Palermo Protocol and child trafficking. Susan was also a member of the Editorial Board of the report of the UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence Against Children, which was released in 2006.


In 2009, Susan was appointed to her current position in New York, heading all of UNICEF’s Child Protection work. She oversees a team of professionals guiding efforts for children affected by armed conflict, child protection systems strengthening to prevent and respond to all forms of violence against children, and a range of other matters. UNICEF is active in child protection in 170 countries, and the New York team offers leadership, strategic vision, and technical support.


Susan was recently awarded an honourary Professorship at Barnard College/Columbia University. She also received the Dr. Jean Mayar Global Citizenship Award from Tufts University in 2012. This Susan was honoured to accept on behalf of her UNICEF Child Protection colleagues around the world.

Dr. Michiko Kobayashi - President, Japan Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, Co-Chair of the 2014 Congress
Learn from the past, act for the future: Lessons from our last 20 years and plans toward a caring society for abused children and abusive parents in Japan. 

Dr. Michiko Kobayashi is serving as the co-chair for the (20th ISPCAN) International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect 2014 in Nagoya in her capacity as the head representative of the Japan Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (JaSPCAN), which is co-sponsoring the congress. Dr. Kobayashi took the chair of the JaSPCAN ten years ago.


Dr. Kobayashi is a pediatrician specializing in pediatric psychiatry and children’s health care. She first encountered cases of infant abuse and neglect working in the field of maternal and child healthcare at Osaka Prefectural Health Center. A decade into her career there, she began to seek ways to protect abused and neglected children. She then moved to the Osaka Medical Center and Research Institute for Maternal and Child Health, where she strove to prevent abuse and neglect in the perinatal period. She remained with that institution for 30 years as a specialist in the mental clinical treatment of abused and neglected children. In 1990 she took part in the founding of The Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse Neglect, Japan’s first telephone counseling/hotline for abused and neglected children and their families. Next, through several years of collaboration with related organizations in Osaka Prefecture, she helped establish JaSPCAN.


Dr. M. Kobayashi trains leaders of child welfare organizations, etc. in Japan at the Children’s Rainbow Center (Japan Information and Training Center for Problems related to Child Abuse and Adolescent Turmoil).

*hotline – counseling by telephone

Marta Santos Pais: Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children
Toward a World Free from Violence against Children

Marta Santos Pais was recently reinstated as Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Violence against Children for a further period of three years. She was appointed as the first SRSG on Violence against Children on May 1st, 2009, and took her position on September 1st, 2009. Marta Santos Pais brings to this position more than 30 years’ experience on human rights issues, engagement in United Nations and intergovernmental processes and a firm commitment to the rights of the child. She collaborates closely with a wide range of partners, within and beyond the United Nations system as well as through regional partnerships and reports annually to the General Assembly, in New York, and the Human Rights Council, in Geneva.


As a high level global independent advocate, Marta Santos Pais has been acting in favour of the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against children, and as a bridge builder and a catalyst of actions in all regions, and across sectors and settings where violence against children may occur. Since her appointment, she has been committed to mobilizing action and political support to maintain momentum around this agenda and to achieve steady progress the world over including through the organization of expert consultations and promoting children participation in the decision making process.


Before her appointment as SRSG on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais was the Director of the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, a position she held since 2001. She joined UNICEF in 1997 as Director of Evaluation, Policy and Planning. Previously, she was the Rapporteur of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and Vice-Chair of the Coordinating Committee on Childhood Policies of the Council of Europe. She was a Special Adviser to the UN Study on Violence against Children and to the Machel Study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children. She was also a member of the UN Drafting Group of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child and of its two Optional Protocols. She also participated in the development of other key international human rights standards.


Marta Santos Pais is a Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the International Journal of Children’s Rights, and a member of the Advisory Board of the International Inter-disciplinary Course on Children’s Rights. She is the author of a large number of publications on human rights and children’s rights.

Francisco Pilotti: International Consultant
Integrating child protection and social protection systems: Reflections on the Latin American case

Francisco Pilotti has over 40 years of specialization in the fields of social policy, demography, child welfare and social service management. Originally from Chile he has an M.A. in Sociology, University of Chile and is an M.A. and Ph.D. candidate in sociology and demography from Fordham University, New York. He has also completed graduate studies in social anthropology as well as advanced work in organizational development and social policy. This affords him a very broad perspective of the work taking place in child welfare.


He recently served as a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin and Clemson University in the United States. He has also held teaching posts at the University of Chile, City University of New York and Universidad Diego Portales. Other professional accomplishments include consultancy to UNICEF and ECLAC of the United Nations and serving as Director of the Department of Social Development for the Organization of American States.


Mr. Pilotti has published over 25 books and articles on social policy and children’s issues in Latin America, Europe and the United States and his recent publications include the joint OAS-ECLAC-ILO study: Protección Social y Generación de Empleo (ECLAC, 2011). He has also served on the editorial board of CHILDHOOD (Sage), American Journal of Orthopsychiatry and the Argentinian journal Sociedades y Politicas.

Michael Wessells: Professor, Columbia University in the Program on Forced Migration and Health
Bottom-Up Approaches to Strengthening National Child Protection Systems: Placing Children, Families, and Communities at the Center

Michael Wessells, PhD, is Professor at Columbia University in the Program on Forced Migration and Health. A long time psychosocial and child protection practitioner, he is former Co-Chair of the IASC Task Force on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings. He has conducted extensive research on the holistic impacts of war and political violence on children, and he is author of Child soldiers: From violence to protection (Harvard University Press, 2006).

Currently, he is lead researcher on inter-agency, multi-country research on community driven interventions for strengthening linkages of community-based child protection mechanisms with government led aspects of national child protection systems. He regularly advises UN agencies, governments, and donors on issues of child protection and psychosocial support, including in communities and schools. Throughout Africa and Asia he helps to develop community-based, culturally grounded programs that assist people affected by armed conflict and natural disasters.

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