Highlights from CATS Conference 2016

Children as Actors for Transforming Society (CATS) met for the 4th edition. The conference allowed space for sharing stories and practice, learning and playing. This years’ focus was on how adults, children and young people can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

CATS Conference 2016-20

The last day of the CATS Conference 2016 left participants with a great sense of engagement and will to take action. On the final day, participants shared their commitments based on the work over the week on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“I want to go back to my country and do more to fight inequalities” said Riku Kimura, 15 years old from Japan.

Others committed to contribute with very simple every day activities such as recycling more or by not wasting resources. They also committed to being more actively involved in policy making, by setting up local children and young people’s council as one example.

The past week also saw a great amount of surprising moments. Unexpectedly, during the ‘Night of change’, the Polish Ombudsman for Children Marek Michalak, awarded the CATS Director Jonathan Levy the Medal of Honour of Infanti Dignitatis Defensori, for his efforts in defending children’s rights.


The Human Library on 30 July allowed sharing of amazing stories from the four corners of the world: from the Middle-East to South America, from Asia to Europe. Esteban Quispe, a 17 year old from Bolivia who turns waste into robots shared his remarkable story. He went from being a boy from a disadvantaged background to being widely recognised and called a ‘genius’.

During the CATS Parliament, a Member of the European Parliament, Julie Ward, advised children and young people on how to lobby to politicians like her. She also said,“ the CATS conference is a model of what society should be like”. “I encourage you to keep doing what you are doing and keeping me involved”.


During the ‘Talent Night’, the exhibitions of the young participants amazed the CATS crowd. Much more learning and bonding happened during the workshops, the community groups, and the evening programme. Kittens alike, children under 10, learned about the SDGs in workshops adapted to them.

Browse the main moments on Storify.

The CATS conference is a space where children, young people and adults learn how they can work together to be partners of change. For example, by advocating for children’s rights or by experimenting tools that help include children in decisions that affect them.


“We need to continue to strengthen our impact towards a more just, sustainable, inclusive and equitable society”, said Dr. Gerison Lansdown, international consultant on children’s right to participate, in her speech on the final day.

CATS is organised by the Universal Education Foundation, Caux Foundation, Initiatives of Change, Eurochild and Child to Child. The conference is hosted every year by the CAUX-Initiatives of Change Foundation in the Swiss Alps.

Browse all the photos of CATS 2016

CATS Conference 2016

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