Unicef Symposium x Children in Conflict: Reviewed

Unicef on Campus St Andrews’ 4th Annual Symposium was held in the Byre Theatre Studio this year, and for the first time, Unicef’s Symposium collaborated with On the Rocks, expanding their audience. The Symposium focused on the issue of Children in Conflict and brought in a panel of speakers with a diverse level of expertise on the topic. The speakers included Marc Ellison, a photojournalist working in conflict zones; Laurie Druelle, a representative of HALO Trust, which focuses on Mine Clearance and Awareness in post-confict zones; Jaremey McMullin, a St Andrews IR lecturer researching internal conflict and the process of post-conflict transition; and Daniel Cosgrove, a representative from UNICEF UK based in Glasgow.

Each speaker gave their own presentation, presenting their unique perspective on the issue of Children in Conflict and how this issue has been and should continue to be combatted. The format allowed each speaker to give their spiel before leading into a question and answer session. There was then a lively panel discussion, featuring critical debates and elucidation of specific points from each speaker’s presentation. The event was well-run with only minor technical hiccups (as are bound to happen when a projector is involved). The event’s moderator Michal Tyra helpfully introduced each speaker, chaired the panel discussion, and provided his own insights as a PhD student in the school of IR. The space was well-suited to the occasion. The intimate Byre studio theatre on their top floor allowed for audience participation and featured comfortable sofa chairs; there were also multiple breaks to allow for mingling.

Unicef’s 4th Symposium was a fantastic event, tackling a difficult issue and shedding light on both the successes and failures of those trying to combat the issue of Children in Combat. The event benefited from the range of its speakers, particularly its inclusion of both NGOs like Unicef and independent artistic and academic voices. While Unicef was the thread tying the event together, it was very much a collection of individual voices that spread beyond just Unicef in order to give a broader picture of this global and increasingly devastating issue.