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The internationally recognized entity for the protection of the rights of children, UNICEF, and the first University in South-Eastern Europe, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), join forces to protect the rights of children. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between NKUA by the Rector, Professor Gerasimos Siasos, and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) by the UNICEF Representative in Greece, Dr Ghassan Khalil, on Monday, 20 May 2024. Also present, on behalf of NKUA, were the Member of the Administration Council, Professor Spyros Vlachopoulos, the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, International Relations, and Extroversion, Professor Sophia Papaioannou, the Dean of the School of Philosophy, Professor Dimitrios Drosos, and the Professors at NKUA, Mses Maria Iakovou and Nelli Askouni, and, on behalf of UNICEF, the Deputy Representative, Ms Aspasia Plakantonaki, the Education Officer, Mr Georgios Simopoulos, the Child Monitoring Specialist, Mr Vasilis Fasoulis, Ms Anna Pantelia from the Communication Department, and the Executive Assistant, Ms Cleopatra Laina.

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Under this MoU, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the UNICEF Country Office in Greece have agreed to collaborate and mobilize resources and forces to establish a Child Rights Centre at NKUA. The Centre’s primary goals will be:

-To generate knowledge, research, data, and documentation on children’s rights in all relevant areas, including social policy for children, child protection, quality inclusive education, and the transition from juvenile to adult life.
-To promote children’s rights in the academic community and society by various means and methods, such as workshops, conferences, public events, and awareness-raising campaigns. In this context UNICEF and NKUA will set up a working group responsible for drafting an annual working plan that will include a schedule with the relevant actions. At the same time, both parties will mobilize their human resources and contribute their expertise to the realization of at least one action of the Child Rights Centre every four months.
-To integrate children’s rights into the academic, teaching, and research work by supporting the teaching, research, and administrative staff at NKUA, as well as its students and graduates, in applying effectively the principles related to children’s rights. In this context, UNICEF will collaborate with the NKUA’s Central Administration and its Schools and Departments to plan and implement professional development actions in pertinent thematic areas.
– To collaborate on the development of relevant projects, with a focus on research, teaching, and learning.

The Rector of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Professor Gerasimos Siasos, on the signing of the MoU: ‘The Memorandum of Understanding is another typical example of extroversion and coordination of educational and research work with the broader social needs on an issue where our society should focus and deepen its attention, the issue of the protection of children’s rights.’

Dr Ghassan Khalil, stated: ‘The University of Athens, the first University which was historically established in Greece, with its vast range of scientific disciplines and qualified staff, will have a valuable contribution to a number of scientific issues pertaining to children’s rights and will collaborate with the UNICEF Country Office in Greece, with the newly inaugurated Child Rights Centre becoming the core of these efforts within the University.’

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