Technology & Trade

Caught in Conflict: Working to Prevent the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers

Download the Event Audio, Speaker Bios, and Photos Here

Watch the previously recorded livestream at the bottom of the webpage. 

In countries around the world, children continue to be affected by violent armed conflict. Protracted crises have uprooted families, destroyed homes and schools, and left hundreds of thousands of children vulnerable to being exploited as tools of warfare.

A global tragedy impacting thousands of children and military service members worldwide, the forcible recruitment and use of child soldiers has long posed a challenge to governments searching for ways to address the issue. In 2017, Canada became the first country to offer guidance to its military service members to help address the challenge. The guidance aims to help military personnel grapple with the moral dilemma that can arise from confronting children in conflict and ultimately identify ways to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers.   

As the U.S. military continues to operate in conflict zones around the globe, American service members may increasingly encounter child soldiers. How could U.S. policymakers learn from Canada’s experience to respond to this challenge, and what tools exist to help the U.S. government prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict and maintain its commitment to building peace, security, and stability and countering the drivers of armed violence?

Please join the Stimson Center for a discussion on innovative approaches to stopping the use of child soldiers. The event will feature military and human rights experts to examine the challenges posed by child soldiers and ways forward to prevent the continued exploitation of children in armed conflict. 


What: A discussion on new approaches to stop the use of child soldiers. 

When: Monday January 8, 2018, 1-2:30pm



Andrea Koppel (opening remarks)

Andrea Koppel is on the Stimson Board of Directors is the former Vice President of Global Engagement and Policy at the international humanitarian and development NGO Mercy Corps and heads up the agency’s Washington, D.C. office. 


Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire (ret.)

Lieutenant-General (ret.) Roméo Dallaire is the founder of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, which seeks to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers worldwide. General Dallaire served as the Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.


Jo Becker

Jo Becker is the advocacy director of the children’s rights division at Human Rights Watch. Becker served as the founding chairperson of the international Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and successfully helped establish an international treaty banning the forced recruitment of children under 18 years old.


Col. Dwight Raymond, USA  (ret.)

Colonel (ret.) Dwight Raymond is a Peace Operations Specialist at the US Army War College’s Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI), where he also teaches courses on Humanitarian Intervention and Peace Operations. He is the primary author of several military doctrinal publications regarding peace and stability operations, including the US Army manual on the Protection of Civilians and the US military’s joint publication on Peace Operations. 


Shelly Whitman

Shelly Whitman took up the post of Executive Director of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative in January 2010. Prior to this she has had an academic career teaching in International Development Studies and Political Science at Dalhousie University, Saint Mary’s University and the University of Botswana. She has published widely on topics from sexual violence as a weapon of war, to small arms and light weapons, the international criminal court and various perspectives on preventing the use of children in armed conflict.


Rachel Stohl (moderator)

Rachel Stohl is a Senior Associate with Stimson’s Managing Across Boundaries Initiative and directs the Conventional Defense Program. Her areas of expertise focus on issues relating to the international arms trade, including drones, small arms and light weapons, and children in armed conflict




Flickr: David Chico Pham



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