Hot Topics | Child Soldiers

Beasts_of_No_Nation_posterMid-October saw the release of Netflix’s first original film Beasts of No Nation. Written, shot, and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (of True Detective fame) and starring Golden Globe-winning British actor Idris Elba. The film offers a shocking look at not just the lives of child soldiers, but how they came to be involved as implements of war. The film has sparked a renewed call for the international community to mobilize efforts in not only stopping, but preventing the future recruitment of child soldiers around the world. Some of the media highlights as of  late include:
  • Joni Becker (Director | Human Right Watch) and Rachel Stohl (Senior Associate | The Stimson Center) penned an op-ed in CNN arguing that the United States provides military assistance to governments using child soldiers with no strings attached.
  • Takepart had a featured story looking at how children end up as child soldiers.
  • Yahoo looked at a new ISIS video highlighting the training of Child Solders or “Cubs” by the organization in Syria.
  • BBC looked at how child soldiers are learning to be children again in the Central African Republic.
  • Al Jazeera spoke to the UN special representative for children who says the Taliban used child fighters a battle in Kunduz.
We’re proud to represent some key thought-leaders and true change-makers on the subject who are asking and answering the tough questions around the issue – all in the hopes of putting an end to the use of children as weapons of war around the world: NSB-Divider   Michel Chikwanine

Michel Chikwanine | Peace Advocate & Former Child Soldier

Michel-Chikwanine -Child Soldier When Boys and Girls Are Used in WarMichel was five years old when he was abducted from his schoolyard soccer game in the Democratic Republic of Congo and forced to become a soldier for a brutal rebel militia. Against the odds, Michel managed to escape and find his way back to his family, but he was never the same again.

“I wanted to change the narrative of conflict and war, especially for young people.”

Michel has been receiving a great deal of attention with the release of his new book Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War. The illustrated book retells some of the horrors he faced during his time as a child soldier, offering compelling visuals alongside dialogue – similar to a comic book. Chikwanine-book Michel hopes the book will encourage us to start having conversations with young people so that they can grow up to become engaged global citizens. He saw down with Shad on CBC’s q to discuss the book, his story, his struggles with guilt and nightmares he still endures:


Roméo Dallaire | International Champion of Human Rights & Award-Winning Author

LGen. Roméo Dallaire was first exposed to the use of child soldiers during the 1994 Rwandan genocide (where he served as Force Commander of the UN mission). He subsequently committed the rest of his life to ending the use of children in armed conflict. He founded The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, at Dalhousie University, to break new ground in training, research and advocacy. The Dallaire Initiative partners with military, police and peacekeeping forces, equipping them with tools to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers.

In recent months, Dallaire has been outspoken in condemning the use of child soldiers by terrorist organizations such as ISIS and the Taliban. He shed light on how the conflict in Syria and the subsequent refugee crisis has affected young people in the region. Hopelessness and lack of real prospects make these young people prime targets for ISIS recruitment. You can listen to a recent interview he delivered with CBC’s Information Morning.


Samantha-NuttDr. Samantha Nutt

Global Humanitarian, Founder of War Child & Bestselling Author

A leading authority on current affairs, war, international aid and foreign policy, Dr. Nutt is one of the most intrepid and recognized voices in the humanitarian arena and is amongst the most sought-after public speakers in North America. Earlier this year she sat down with NBC affiliate Kare 11 to discuss some of the challenges faced in her work with children in conflict zones around the world.    


Emmanuel Jal

Musician, Activist & Former Child Soldier

Emmanuel was born into the life of a child soldier in the war-torn region of Southern Sudan. Through unbelievable struggles, Emmanuel survived and has gone on to emerge as a recording artist, achieving worldwide acclaim for his unique style of hip hop with its message of peace and reconciliation born out of his personal experiences. He’s recently launched a line of food products called ‘Jal Gua’ which use natural, organic ingredients from his home country of South Sudan. NSB-Divider To find out more on how these great speakers can bring inspiration, information and solutions to your audience reach out to us,  or browse more of our though-leading humanitarian speakers here.