KUWAIT: Information Ministry Undersecretary Yousef Mostafa speaks during the conference. — Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh

KUWAIT: The first conference of the World Organization for Protection of Children, in cooperation with the Faculty of Basic Education, commenced at the Arab Planning Institute (API) yesterday. Held under the title 'Social, Psychological and Educational Protection of Children,' the conference lasts until tomorrow.

Undersecretary of the Ministry of Information for Tourism Sector Yousef Mostafa assured Kuwait's keenness on and interest in protecting children rights and providing a safe environment for them. He said that holding such important event came out of belief in the importance of scientific research, which is a key objective of Kuwait's strategic plan. He also referred to the importance of implementation of protection policy, which reflects the society's commitment to providing a safe environment for children.

Meanwhile, Director of the World Organization for the Protection of Children Abdulaziz Al-Subaiei said global awareness of child issues are increasing due to wars, conflicts, and crises, which led to aggressive violations of children's rights worldwide. Subaiei stressed the importance of spending more efforts worldwide to find new ways to ensure the protection of children from all kinds of maltreatment. In the meantime, Dean of the Faculty of Basic Education Dr Fahad Al-Ruwaished said the conference targets the development of children, protection of their rights, and provision of healthy environment to ensure their dignity and safety.

Director of the scientific committee and member of the organization Dr Abdulwahab Al-Hayyes said meanwhile that the conference aims to diagnose the reality of childhood in Middle Eastern communities and identify their needs and risks in this regard. He pointed out that the conference seeks to come up with practical recommendations that contribute to helping the international community with its organizations to formulate legislation and develop policies to safeguard and protect children's rights.

Children's literature

In other news, head of the children committee at the Kuwait Writers Association (KWA) Amal Al-Randi has called for a more gender-balanced children's literature. "I am against ignoring females space in children stories," Randi, also children books author, said Monday after partaking in a two-day conference on female representation in children books in Tunis. "We need a new children literature that is more balanced in terms of gender representation," she stated.

Randi, however, voiced opposition to feminist writings that favor females and take biased approach towards males. "In my stories, I always focus on presenting positive heroes, boys or girls, who promote hardworking for building developed societies with good morals," she said. Randi noted that the conferees called for challenging negative stereotypes of females in some Arabic books, especially those directed to children, and increasing writings that educate children about gender equality. She pointed out the Kuwaiti Writers Association was honored during the conference in recognition for its role in enriching and promoting children literature in the Arab region and the whole world.

Kuwait was represented at the conference with a big delegation including writers Al-Randi, Fatema Shaaban, Munira Al-Edan, Huzail Al-Hawqal as well as several children's literature specialists. The conference also brought together a large number of children books writers, researchers, cartoonists and publishers from Tunisia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Algeria and Sweden. - KUNA