James Leckman is a Professor in the School of Medicine and a child psychiatrist. Among other activities, he is the Founder of ERICE Empowerment & Resilience in Children Everywhere) an initiative to promote mental health among Palestinian and Israeli children, the victims of a violent conflict.
In partnership with colleagues at UNICEF and the Mother-Child Education Foundation based in Turkey, Dr. Leckman is exploring the question of whether strengthening families and enhancing child development is a path to peace and violence prevention. In October 2013, he chaired with Rima Salah and Catherine Panter-Brick the 15th Ernst Strüngmann Forum in Frankfurt, Germany. More than 40 international scholars across diverse fields—from child development to neuroscience and cultural anthropology explored the relevance of early child development to the pursuit of peace. Their deliberations highlighting directions for future research, and proposing novel approaches to translate knowledge into concrete action are summarized in volume entitled, Formative Childhoods: The Transformative Power of Children and Families, published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press in 2014. Related efforts include the Early Childhood Peace Consortium that was launched in September 2013) in New York in at the United Nations Headquarters. The most recent meeting of the Early Childhood Peace Consortium took place in Istanbul, Turkey in June 2015. More information concerning how the science of early childhood development can facilitate the development of a more peaceful world is available at: http://childstudycenter.yale.edu/international/peace/index.aspx.