CATS Speakers

CATS 2015 – Key Note Speakers


Kirsten Sandberg was a Key Note Speaker during the Together Time on 28 July, 2015.

Kirsten Sandberg is Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the child May 2013-2015, member 2011-2019. Professor of Law at the Kirsten SandbergDepartment of Public and International Law, University of Oslo, teaching child law, public administrative law and social welfare law. Has published a number of articles and books within child law and children’s rights, especially on children’s right to be heard, discrimination of children, the rights of asylum-seeking children and child protection law. Headed a research project on the CRC in judicial and administrative practice and is co-editor of a book on the implementation of the CRC in Norway. She has served as acting Justice in the Supreme Court of Norway and as a judge in the County Court and the Court of Appeal and has  worked in the Legal Department of the Ministry of Justice.


Kesz Valdez was a Key Note Speaker during the Together Time on 28 July, 2015.

Kesz Valdez (16) received the International Children’s Peace Prize at the age of 13 for his incredible achievements in Kesz-Valdezhelping street children in The Philippines. Kesz lived on the streets and dumpsite of Cavite City before a social worker took him in when he was 5. In 2006, Kesz’s organisation Championing Community Children (C3) was created. Kesz leads C3 together with other children and youth, who are all strongly committed to improving the day-to-day realities of street children; they teach children how to be a leader and how they can facilitate participation in the community. They also distribute ‘Gifts of Hope’ to children including soap, a tooth brush and school supplies. Kesz is also a founding member of The KidsRights Youngsters, a youth-led advocacy and awareness raising platform of the International Children’s Peace Prize winners, that aims to realise children’s rights around the globe. Kesz is now enrolled in secondary education. He wants to study medicine at the university in order to realise his dream and become a doctor.


Judith Diers helped in facilitating the Children’s Rights Timeline organised during the Together Time at CATS on 31 July, 2015.

Judith Diers is Chief, Adolescent Development and Participation, UNICEF.  Prior to taking up this position in 2011, Judy spent twelve Judith Diersyears as a researcher at the Population Council, culminating as an Associate in the Poverty, Gender and Youth program, where she coordinated a global portfolio of research on Transitions to Adulthood with a particular focus on the empowerment of adolescent girls.  As a member of the Population Council Institutional Review Board (IRB), Judy drew upon her expertise in research ethics to ensure a focus on research methodologies and protocols that protect the rights of adolescents, including their right to be heard. She has worked extensively throughout Africa and Asia, beginning with four years in Namibia following that country’s independence, where she provided strategic direction in the building of the country’s first university, helped to found the country’s WorldTeach volunteer program and advised the Namibia Red Cross on the gender aspects of its water scheme. Her research at the Population Council resulted in numerous collaborations with NGOs, Governments, UN agencies both at the country and global levels. Judy has a master’s degree from Union Theological Seminary in theology and ethics and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University in public policy and demography.

Julie Ward established the key learning from the session of the moral dilemmas on 31 July, 2015. Julie Ward 

Julie Ward is a writer, theatre-maker and cultural activist who began her working life on the factory floor before becoming a community arts worker. In 1984 she was appointed director of a regional arts and disability organisation in the North of England and in 1986 she co-founded Jack Drum Arts, an artists’ cooperative that provides a wide range of activities for all sections of the community. In May 2014 she was elected a Labour Member of the European Parliament (MEP) to represent the NW of England. She is a member of the parliament’s committees on Culture and Education, Regional Development and Women rights’ & Gender Equality. She’s a board member of the European Internet Forum, and a founding member of the European Caucus of Women in Parliament. Julie is a children’s rights champion; she has co-founded the European Parliament cross-party and cross-committee intergroup on Children’s Rights. She is also active on a number of other intergroups, including Youth, Disability and LGBTI. She is now on the Labour Party’s Children and Education Policy Commission. She sits on the Citizen’s Panel of Durham University, the executive board of National Drama and is a volunteer for the Institute of Ideas national youth debating competition.

Nkem Orakwue talked at the Together Time session on 28 July, 2015. Nkem photo

Popularly known as Auntie Nkem, she has over 30 years experience in broadcasting as presenter, producer and director of children, youth and family programmes on Nigerian television. Her programmes have won many awards for excellence. She is Chairperson of the Restoration Network for Child and Youth, Founder/President of the African Children Broadcasting Network and Founder/Co-ordinator of the Nigerian Children’s Parliament.

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