Children & Armed Conflict: UN Special Representative & Nobelist
Professor Virginia Gamba, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, who has more than 30 years of experience and professional leadership on issues relative to disarmament, peace and human security, will be speaking in a very topical and important event to The Oxford Guild and Oxford PPE Society at 5.30pm on Tuesday 14th May in Keble College’s Pusey Room. Appointed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in 2017, she previously shared the NOBEL PEACE PRIZE as formal member of the executive board of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (1995) with Joseph Rotblat. Professor Gamba will discuss the dynamics and impact of children in armed conflict. Six areas encompass this field: the killing and maiming of children; the recruitment of children as soldiers; sexual violence against children; child abduction; attacks on schools and hospitals; denying children humanitarian aid. Columbia, Mali, Yemen, Myanmar, Syria and the Philippines are a few of the many countries in which these atrocities occur. This promises to be a fascinating discussion, and there will also be the chance to ask questions in a Q&A session. This will undoubtedly be a very TOPICAL AND INTERESTING EVENT and a truly unique opportunity to hear from such an fascinating, high profile speaker who will be sharing her vast range of experiences and insights over an extensive career at the United Nations and beyond in peace and security, human security and disarmament issues. The event is 100% FREE AND OPEN TO ALL and is NOT TO BE MISSED! For security reasons and to enable us to gauge numbers and have an accurate guestlist for the venue, we ask that you please REGISTER YOUR INTEREST HERE ASAP:

Gamba was previously UN Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations joint investigative Mechanism Syria (SC Res 2235 and 2319). Prior to that she served as Director of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs and Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and also as Director to the Disarmament and Conflict Resolution Programme at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research in Geneva. From 2009 to 2012, she served as Deputy Director of Safety and Security at the Institute for Public Safety in Argentina’s Ministry of Justice. From 2007 to 2009, Gamba worked with the European Union as an Expert Consultant and helped develop the African Common Approach to Combat Illicit Small Arms Trafficking. From 1996 to 2006 she was based in Africa serving inter-alia as peace and security consultant to the Africa Union, Deputy Director of the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa and Director for South-South Interactions of SaferAfrica. She was also the senior program officer for arms control, disarmament and demobilization at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago (1991-1993). Moreover, she also served as an advisor to the Argentine Ministry of Defense on Civil Military Relations and Transformation of the Military under Democracy (1983-1985). She shared the NOBEL PEACE PRIZE as formal member of the executive board of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (1995) with Joseph Rotblat.

Armed groups increasingly recruit children into ancillary and combat roles. The number of children affected by armed conflict and the severity of grave violations affecting them has vastly increased since 2017. Over 21,000 grave violations of children’s rights have been verified by the United Nations from January to December 2017, an unacceptable increase from previous years (15,500 in 2016). The crises unfolding in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen brought about serious increases in verified grave violations. In Syria, children have suffered the highest number of verified violations ever recorded in the country. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, crises in the Kasais led to an eightfold increase of attacks on schools and hospitals (515). In a despicable trend, almost half of the 881 verified child casualties in Nigeria resulted from suicide attacks, including the use of children as human bombs. Over 10,000 children were killed or maimed in 2017 with numbers growing substantially in Iraq and Myanmar, while remaining unacceptably high in Afghanistan and Syria. “When your own house or your school can be attacked without qualms, when traditional safe-havens become targets, how can boys and girls escape the brutality of war?,” Gamba, declared. “This shows a blatant disregard for international law by parties to conflict, making civilians, especially children, increasingly vulnerable to violence, use and abuse,” she added. Professor Virginia Gamba will explain such crises which children face and will detail what can be done to tackle this problem.

This will be a very interactive event with the opportunity for you to ask questions and it promises to be a fascinating event. If you would like to ballot for the chance to meet Professor Gamba and speak to her directly and take photos in a private reception at the end of the event (schedule permitting) please email ASAP.


WHEN: 5.30pm, Tuesday 14th May
WHERE: Pusey Room, Keble College
Date: 14 May 2019, 17:30 (Tuesday, 3rd week, Trinity 2019)
Venue: Keble College, Parks Road OX1 3PG
Venue Details: Pusey Room
Speaker: Virginia Gamba (United Nations)
Organisers: Oxford Entrepreneurs (University of Oxford), Oxford Guild Business Society (University of Oxford)
Hosts: Abbas Kazmi (University of Oxford), Cyrus Jones (University of Oxford)
Booking required?: Recommended
Booking url:
Cost: Free
Audience: Public
Editor: Cyrus Jones