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InspiRights is an exciting opportunity to promote child development and child rights. The project will take a global inventory of good practices that inspire the fulfillment of children’s rights through a series of surveys where participants will nominate these good practices. By assembling a global inventory of good practices, we can provide governments with a comprehensive list of practices which they can gain inspiration from and model their own practices as part of their plans for promoting and fulfilling children’s rights.

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Good practices to inspire and facilitate children’s rights

Governments that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) have legal obligations to implement legislation, policies and programs that safeguard these rights and promote child development. There is a lack of understanding among these governments and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, the monitoring body of the CRC, of what types of policies could best fulfill children’s rights. These technical shortcomings hinder States Parties’ compliance with the CRC and the effectiveness of the United Nations Committee to play its advisory role.

The InspiRights project will address this gap through five years consultation with stakeholders around the globe to take an inventory of the good practices that inspire children’s rights. The compilation of such practices (legislation, policies, and programs) that promote the implementation of children’s rights under the CRC will be published as a stand-alone resource. The practices will also be fed into the GlobalChild Platform, a child rights monitoring/reporting tool developed by an international team of experts and under the auspices of the United Nations Committee.

Workplan timeline

Year one: The preparatory year

  • Phase A: Solidifying the structure and governance of the three core teams (Steering Committee, Working Group and Collaborating Network) (three months)
  • Phase B: Refining and finalizing the methodology (six months)
  • Phase C: Launching the first series of online surveys (three months)

Year two: Data collection and cleaning, and assessment of practices

Year three: Write-up of all practices

Year four: Knowledge mobilization: Developing and publishing the compendium

Year five: Continued knowledge mobilization activities

Partner universities

InspiRights is a global undertaking with the participation of universities from different regions of the globe. The list of the partner universities and their respective regions are as follows:

While UNB acts as the secretariat of this global project, the team responsible for research in North America is also comprised of the University of Victoria and Dalhousie University. In addition to the consortium of 8 universities, the project will proceed in close collaboration with the African Child Policy Forum, UNICEF Canada and the New Brunswick Child and Youth Advocate.

Canadian members of InspiRights

Dr. Ziba Vaghri

Dr. Ziba Vaghri is the director of the GlobalChild program of research and an associate professor at the University of New Brunswick-Saint John. In 2014 she received a five-year Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar Award in recognition of her decades of work on child development and child rights. She was trained and mentored by one of the most prolific researchers of early child development, the late Dr. Clyde Hertzman (OC).

University of New Brunswick

Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Azuka Aniyie

Ifeanyichukwu is a post-doctoral fellow who in addition to supporting the director of the GlobalChild program of research with knowledge mobilization, is responsible for the management and analysis of data collected through the global survey of the InspiRights project.

In addition to a LLD (Pretoria) degree, he possesses a MPhil Taxation degree from the same university and an MBA from the University of New Brunswick. His research interest cuts across socio-economic policy and aspects of international law.

University of New Brunswick

Dr. Ted McDonald

Dr. Ted McDonald is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. He is the founding Director of the NB Institute for Research, Data and Training, New Brunswick’s only provincial administrative data centre. He is the Chair of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network Academic Council, a member of the CRDCN Board, and the Academic Director of the NB Statistics Canada Research Data Centre. Dr. McDonald is also on the executive committee of Health Data Research Network Canada and is the New Brunswick lead of the Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit (MSSU). Dr. McDonald’s research focuses on the socioeconomics determinants of healthcare access, chronic diseases, mobility and retention, with particular regard for immigrants and other subpopulations. Dr. McDonald is currently a UNB research scholar (2020-22) for the second time (2012-14). In 2019, he was co-winner of the Mike McCracken award for Economics Statistics, awarded by the Canadian Economics Association.

University of New Brunswick

Dr. Suzanne Hindmarch

Dr. Suzanne Hindmarch is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton. Her research expertise is in global health and global security, with particular focus on vulnerable populations and health equity in the politics of infectious disease response. Her SSHRC and CIHR-funded research and publications explore the global health security response to HIV/AIDS, and the evolving global governance response to AMR (anti-microbial resistance).

University of New Brunswick

Dr. Shelley Doucet

Dr. Shelley Doucet is the Jarislowsky chair in Interprofessional Patient-Centred Care, associate professor in Nursing and Health Sciences, and director of the Centre for Research in Integrated Care at the University of New Brunswick. Dr. Doucet is also an Adjunct Professor with Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick and is recognized as a leader in integrated care within Canada. Dr. Doucet’s research team develops programs that address the barriers and gaps in services identified through research, with the goal to promote collaborative patient-centred care that is accessible and meets patients’ complex care needs. Dr. Doucet has established interprofessional practice initiatives, such as co-founding and co-directing NaviCare/SoinsNavi, the New Brunswick navigation centre for children/youth with complex care needs. Her multi-method community-based research involves intersectoral partnerships with a variety of stakeholders, such as clinicians, patients, community members, and government. Shelley is also a mother of two, an active community volunteer, and an avid runner.

Dalhousie University

Dr. Sarah Gander

Dr. Sarah Gander is the Clinical and Academic Department Head in Pediatrics at Dalhousie Medical School in Saint John. She is also a practicing pediatrician who started her practice in 2008 after training in Newfoundland and Kingston, Ontario. She is faculty at both Dalhousie University and Memorial University of Newfoundland and completed her Master of Education in 2016 at the University of New Brunswick. She co-founded the New Brunswick Social Pediatrics Research Program and is involved with numerous organizations in the community aiming to improve the care of families and children living in difficult living situations, particularly poverty. Dr. Gander’s research interests include the social determinants of health, behavioral disorders in children, neonatal abstinence syndrome, and Hepatitis C. She is the host of the Fac Dev Lounge Podcast on iTunes and involved in the NBMS Physician Wellness Strategy. Dr. Gander is a native of New Brunswick and has settled in Saint John; she is raising her family of two boys, Eddie and David, with her husband Steve.

University of Victoria

Dr. Michael Prince

Dr. Michael Prince is the Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy at the University of Victoria (UVic). Dr. Prince is a nationally and internationally recognized scholar of social policies. As a policy consultant, Dr. Prince has been an advisor to various federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal government agencies; four Royal commissions; and, to a number of parliamentary committees federally and provincially. He serves on many committees, including the Advisory Committee on Children and Youth with Special Needs, to the representative of Children and Youth for British Columbia. His research interests include trends in social policy over the past 50 years and the next generations; federal-provincial relations; indigenous governance; and disability politics and policy issues.

International members of InspiRights

University of Oslo, Norway (for the Scandinavian region)

Dr. Kirsten Sandberg

Dr. Kirsten Sandberg is professor of law at the University of Oslo. She was a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child from 2011 to 2019, serving as the committee’s chairperson from 2013 to 2015. Her research focus is on child law and children’s rights, including the right of the child to be heard, the best interests of the child, child protection, gender identity, and climate change. She teaches child law, public administration law, and social welfare law. Professor Sandberg has published and presented widely on children’s rights around the world, including lectures at the University of Zimbabwe and Yunnan University, China. She has served as acting justice in the Supreme Court of Norway and has worked in the legal department of the Norwegian Ministry of Justice.

Üsküdar University, Turkey (for Asian)

Dr. Nurper Ülküer

Dr. Nurper Ülküer is currently a professor and the head of Child Development Department of Faculty of Health Science at Üsküdar University in Turkey. She is also president of the Association of Child Development and Educators, and leads the Early Childhood Development Civil Society Organizations (ECDP) platform in Turkey. Dr. Ülküer has long-standing experience in child development and child rights working at UNICEF in Turkey, Central Asian Countries and at NYHQ as a Global Chief of Early Childhood Development Programs. In 2004, she joined UNICEF NYHQ Program Team as a Program Officer for Early Childhood Development (ECD) and was then appointed as Global Senior Advisor and the Chief of Early Childhood Development Program Unit at HQ, where she has worked globally to guide early childhood development programs. She was instrumental in establishing the global ECD Index (ECDI) to be part of UNICEF’s Global Monitoring System, and initiated the process of monitoring child rights in early childhood globally.

Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Russia (for Eastern Europe)

Dr. Leyla Namazova-Baranova

Dr. Leyla Namazova-Baranova is a researcher and social pediatrician at the Russian Research and Scientific Medical University. She is also a professor; member of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Honoured Scientist of the Russian Federation; winner of a State Prize of the Russian Federation in the field of science and technology; Head of the Paediatrics Department, the Paediatrics Faculty of the Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, the Ministry of Health, and the Russian Federation; President of the European Paediatric Association (EPA/UNEPSA); Chief Researcher of the Central Clinical Hospital of the Russian Academy of Sciences; and Chief Visiting Children’s Specialist in Preventive Medicine of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, as well as an adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO). She is also Editor-in-chief of the Paediatric Pharmacology journal, and a member of the editorial boards of several Russian and foreign medical journals. Dr. Namazova-Baranova has a strong conviction for the rights of girls, and has expertise in gender and social policies.

FLASCO University, Argentina (for Latin America)

Dr. Raul Mercer

Dr. Raul Mercer is an Argentinian Social Pediatrician with a master’s degree in Epidemiology from the University of Wisconsin. He is the Coordinator of the Program of Social Sciences and Health at FLACSO (Latin American School of Social Sciences), Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is also a member of ISSOP (International Society of Social Pediatrics and Child Health) and serves on the Committee of Social Pediatrics of ALAPE (Latin American Association of Pediatrics). Additionally, Dr. Mercer is Commissioner of The Lancet – UNICEF – WHO report, “A future for the world’s children?” and was a participant of the CAP2030 (Children in All Policies 2030) initiative. He has worked for many years on the incorporation of the perspective of the rights of the child within the health services, systems, programs and policies in Argentina, Latin America, and other regions of the world. He was formerly the Coordinator of the Maternal and Child Health Program in the Province of Buenos Aires and later at the National level. He is a researcher and advocate for the health of women and children in promoting their rights to health, wellbeing, and gender equality from a life course perspective.

Chief Children's Commissioner, New Zealand

Dr. Claire Achmad

Dr. Claire Achmad is a recognized advocate for children in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally, having worked in a wide range of areas relating to children's rights, including legal, policy and practice perspectives. Dr. Achmad is the Chief Children’s Commissioner of New Zealand and Chair of Mana Mokopuna – Children and Young People’s Commission. She also holds a guest lectureship in the Child Law Department, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Dr. Achmad holds a doctorate in international children’s rights law from Leiden University and has published internationally on a range of children's rights issues. Previously, she has worked for children’s NGOs and international organizations in Aotearoa, Australia and Europe with organizations including UNICEF, held a senior role within the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, and practiced as in-house legal counsel in the New Zealand government. Dr. Claire Achmad joined the InspiRights project as a member of the Steering Committee in January 2024.

Partner organizations of InspiRights

Founder, African Child Policy Forum

Dr. Assefa Bequele

Dr. Assefa Bequele, Phd is the Founder and former Executive Director of African Child Policy Forum (ACPF). He has long years of service in the United Nations system (ILO, Geneva, Asia and Africa), and in university teaching in Ethiopia and the United States. He has devoted most of his professional life to the promotion of the rights and welfare of children, especially the progressive elimination of child labour. Dr. Assefa was responsible for many years for the design, development, and management of the ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) – the world’s premier technical programme on child labour – and the development of the ILO’s Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour (Convention No. 182). Holding a PhD in economics, he is the author of many publications and articles on child rights and economic development.


Ms. Lisa Wolff

Ms. Lisa Wolff is Director, Policy and Education at UNICEF Canada. She has worked in the organization for more than a decade, leading education and policy focused work to advance the rights of Canada’s children to develop to their fullest potential, consistent with international human rights standards. Collaborating with government, institutions, civil society, researchers and private sector partners, Lisa has developed initiatives to advance children’s rights in policy, governance, child related programming, and educational curricula. These include training programs, symposia, parliamentary engagement, and other efforts to help ensure every childhood is a good one. Ms. Wolff is a member of the Board of Directors of PREVNet, the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children, and the North-South Partnership for First Nations Children. She has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from University of Waterloo, a Bachelor of Education and Master of Education from the University of Toronto. Lisa received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Governor-General of Canada in 2012.

New Brunswick Office of the Child and Youth Advocate

Mr. Christian Whalen

Mr. Christian Whalen is the deputy advocate and senior legal counsel at the New Brunswick Office of the Child and Youth Advocate. He is a native of Fredericton, New Brunswick (NB), and holds degrees from Carleton University (BA ’87), the University of New Brunswick (LLB ’89) and l’Université de Strasbourg III (D.E.A. ’92), as a French Government Scholar and Council of European Human Rights Fellow. Mr. Whalen has been responsible for systemic investigations and acted as lead investigator on several reports of Ombudsman and the Child and Youth Advocate. He has served as acting child and youth advocate for the Province of New Brunswick (2011-2013). Mr. Whalen was the founding chairperson of the first Children’s Law section within the Canadian Bar Association and is founder and director of the International Summer Course on the Rights of the Child at the Université de Moncton since 2011. In 2014 he received the Children’s Rights Champion Award from the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children and in 2015 was awarded the John Tait Award for distinguished service as public sector counsel by the Canadian Bar Association.

Independent experts

International Child Rights Expert

Mr. Adem Arkadas-Thibert

Mr. Adem Arkadas-Thibert is an international child rights consultant and advocate. Currently he works as a key expert on human rights monitoring and advocacy for a direct support programme of the European Union for Civil Society. He was head of the Human Rights Programme at the International Children’s Center (ICC) in Turkey. He has worked with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), in Bosnia, in Herzegovina, the United Nations’ Refugee Agency in Turkey, the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants, and the Children’s Legal Centre in the UK. Mr. Arkadas-Thibert has written reports and published articles on child rights, human rights and refugee issues. He has over 23 years of experience in programme and project development and management, development of policy advocacy guides, training materials, as well as running trainings and projects in human rights and children’s rights. Mr. Arkadas-Thibert studied international relations, political science and public administration at the London School of Economics (LSE) and the Middle East Technical University (METU). He also completed a Master in Theory and Practice of Human Rights at the University of Essex and a Master of Science (Economic and Social Demography) at Hacettepe University, Turkey.

Child participation

To facilitate children’s participation in the InspiRights project and other GlobalChild projects, the GlobalChild team has initiated the development of a Child Advisory Board in New Brunswick Canada. The Child Advisory Board will discuss and provide feedback on a number of GlobalChild projects, including the InspiRights project and participate in knowledge translation activities.


InspiRight is funded through the generous funds of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

For questions about the InspiRights project contact Rowan Hickie at