Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands to deliver opening speech at Eurochild Conference 2018

“Children are drivers of change, and they light the fire and bring moral ideas back into the boardroom.”

We are delighted that Princess Laurentien is confirmed to speak at the Eurochild Conference in Opatija this October. As Founder of the Missing Chapter Foundation which facilitates dialogue between children and (corporate) leaders, her role in this year’s event will be a valuable addition to the agenda. Particularly as a third of the attending participants will be children, which will encourage active dialogue between adults and children at the Conference. 

The Eurochild Conference 2018 will bring examples of how public decision-makers at local, national and European levels are respecting the right of children to participate in decisions affecting them. The notions of empowerment, inter-generational dialogue and social innovation are all strong passions of Princess Laurentien. This is evident in the ethos of the Missing Chapter Foundation, founded in 2010, which originates from the notion that decisions are more durable and gain value if they take into account the sharp insights, logical questions and surprising solutions from children. Their mission is to create a child-inclusive society in which it is normal to engage children as equal stakeholders in decision-making.  

Missing Chapter has made a positive influence in the Netherlands by encouraging businesses to engage in intergenerational dialogue and reinforcing the notion of taking children’s ideas seriously. According to the Global Child Forum Report there are now over 100 leading companies in the Netherlands with a children’s board. This is a positive step towards turning policy into practice as “Children are drivers of change, and they light the fire and bring moral ideas back into the boardroom”, explains Princess Laurentien

 

The Princess has also made clear the importance of reminding adults of the long-term impact of the decisions they make, which children in time will hold adults accountable for their choices. She also believes that in order for adults to see children as equal stakeholders within society, adults should be “humbled to let go of their thinking we have all the answers and acknowledge the fresh insights children have when it comes to creativity and imagination. Humbled to dare to really look at the moral questions that make adults uncomfortable”. 

Princess Laurentien is also UNESCO’s Special Envoy on Literacy for Development, and in 2012 served as Chair of the EU High Level Group of Experts on Literacy, appointed by the European Commissioner for Education. As UNESCO envoy, she has been bringing together leaders from the education, political, NGO and business field to discuss literacy and the way forward and raises awareness around Sustainable Development Goal 4.6. 

After the success of the Eurochild Conference 2016, we look forward to the Princess’s participation at the Eurochild Conference 2018, which will bring together practitioners, researchers, civil society actors, policy and decision makers along with children and young people themselves to contribute to improving children’s participation in public decision-making. 

Learn more about this year’s Conference here.