CPERL director Mary Khetani traveled to Pakistan to deliver her first keynote at the International Conference on Early Childhood Development, held at the Allama Iqbal Open University.

Her keynote was titled, “Building organizational capacity for family-centered and participation-focused care in early childhood”. She was also invited to chair a session at the conference focused on early childhood transitions.

The two-day conference was made possible by entities including the Pakistan Alliance for Early Childhood, Rupani Foundation, UNICEF, and the Aga Khan Development Network and brought together 500+ participants, including scholars and legislators and policymakers responsible for health, nutrition, child protection, education and social welfare in Pakistan. Together with practitioners and parent representatives, attendees deliberated on approaches to evolving an integrated, multi-sector approach to early childhood development. The conference was preceded by a visit to the Parliamentary House and concluded with an MOU ceremony to launch a center for excellence.

Mary shares, “It was a gift to be surrounded by such talent, tenacity, and kindness. Whatever I may have contributed on behalf of our research lab pales in comparison to what I learned about building capacity for early childhood development in this country. Each memory was like a precious pebble to store in the jar labeled ‘designing our signature ECD package’ and I look forward to future partnership.”

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