President, Ambassador Discuss Violence Prevention with International Partners

May 10, 2007

His Excellency Valdas Adamkus, President of Lithuania, today praised the Second Step violence prevention program at the sixth annual International Consortium held by Committee for Children, in Vilnius. President Adamkus spoke about the importance of teaching social-emotional skills in general and the Second Step program in particular. U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania John Cloud and his wife Mary are also attending the meeting, which ends May 13.

The International Consortium brings together representatives of some of the many countries that have adapted the Second Step program to teach children how to interact positively with others and resist violence. The nations and regions represented at this year’s conference include Japan, Kurdistan (Iraq), Germany, Guatemala, Venezuela, and the Philippines.

Joan Cole Duffell, director of partnerships for Committee for Children, said she is greatly encouraged by the international enthusiasm for the Second Step program. For example, King Harald of Norway recently visited a school in Norway to observe the enthusiastic implementation of Steg for Steg, the Norwegian version of the Second Step program. “This gathering of world partners is a testament to the importance of social and emotional learning for children across the globe,” Duffell says. “Together, we take one step closer to our vision of safe children thriving in a peaceful world.”

The Second Step violence prevention curriculum teaches children social-emotional skills to help them succeed in school and in life. With empathy as a cornerstone, the program teaches children healthy ways to solve problems, manage emotions, and communicate with words instead of aggression. The curriculum has been adapted for use in 21 nations and has affected the lives of more than 35 million children since its creation in 1989.

For almost 30 years, Committee for Children has created research-based programs to help children from preschool through middle school learn healthy ways to handle their emotions, address bullying and abuse, make friends, and solve problems. Today they are helping 7 million children develop vital social-emotional skills to stay safe from violence, bullying, and sexual abuse.