October 14, 2014

Questscope’s Muthanna Khriesat, Jordan Country Director, and Mike Niconchuk, Emergency Response Coordinator, will participate this week in the first regional conference dedicated to the protection of refugee children and youth. The conference, “Investing in the Future: Protecting Refugee Children in the Middle East and North Africa,” will be held October 15th and 16th in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, and is hosted by the UNHCR, in partnership with The Big Heart and under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

There are more youth in the MENA region than at any other time, creating unprecedented challenges and urgency to protect them from exploitation, violence and abuse. In Jordan alone, over half of the 620,000 Syrian refugees are children and youth. Questscope is deeply engaged in education and mentoring programs that not only protect youth from violence and vulnerability, but also restore dignity and create space for them to rebuild. 

The keynote speaker for the conference is Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, Queen of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. On Thursday, October 16, Mike will represent Questscope for a panel discussion entitled “Protecting Refugee Children through Participation and Partnership," during which he will discuss the importance of building capacity of youth to participate in decisions that affect their well being.

Muthanna and Mike join thought leaders from government, international organizations and academics to explore methods for improving current response mechanisms to protect and empower refugee children and youth in the region.