NYU Steinhardt Launches International Research Center Dedicated to Improving Children’s Lives in Vulnerable Regions

NYU Steinhardt has announced the creation of Global TIES for Children: Transforming Intervention Effectiveness and Scale, an international research center that designs, evaluates, and advises on programs and policies to improve the lives of children and youth in the most vulnerable regions across the globe.

“Promoting children’s development is key to ensuring global economic prosperity, peace, and sustainability. Yet all too often, poverty and violence undermine our children’s capacity to thrive,” said J. Lawrence Aber, the Willner Family Professor in Psychology and Public Policy at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and co-director of Global TIES.

Global TIES works with leading NGOs and governments in low-income and conflict-affected countries on developing and evaluating innovative approaches to promoting health, education, and social development of children in their communities. Together with strategic partners, Global TIES aims to:

  • Generate actionable evidence to promote child and youth development by evaluating strategies to transform social settings, such as classrooms, that are key drivers of children’s learning and well-being;
  • Communicate this evidence to inform program and policy decisions; and
  • Build capacity of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers through professional development and training activities.

“Governments and communities worldwide are identifying urgent needs, but many are limited in their capacities to affect change, given conflict, economic challenges, and other major issues facing these regions,” said Hirokazu Yoshikawa, the Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education at NYU Steinhardt and co-director of Global TIES. “They’re looking for innovative solutions that are politically viable, sustainable, and can reach a large segment of the population; we’ve created Global TIES to directly address these needs.”

In order to meet its goals, Global TIES currently has five strategic partners: the International Rescue Committee, Innovations for Poverty Action, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), Save the Children, and the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

A telling example of these efforts is the Global TIES collaboration with the International Recue Committee and the Ministry of Education of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Opportunities for Equitable Access to Quality Basic Education (OPEQ) cluster-randomized impact evaluation aims to estimate the impact of an integrated curriculum (Learning in Healing Classrooms) and an in-service teacher training system on teachers’ motivation and performance and student learning and social-emotional outcomes in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

NYU celebrated the launch of Global TIES with a symposium featuring a keynote address by David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee and former foreign secretary of the United Kingdom. In his keynote address, Miliband placed the work of Global TIES in the context of the confluence of humanitarian crises around the world and will set out an ambitious agenda that the global community must pursue to make a difference for children.

“It would be easy for higher education in America to turn its back on children halfway around the globe. But NYU, the UN, the World Bank and other NGOs in this room are not doing so,” Miliband said.  “I am heartened that all the strategic partners here constitute a community of practice working to better the lives of children affected by conflict.”

He noted that the true test of action will be measured in the impact of this Center on policy and practice around the world.

Global TIES is embedded within NYU’s Institute for Human Development and Social Change, and is supported by the University and the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute. Project-related support comes from funders (e.g., World Bank), international philanthropies, and other research organizations.

(Photo, left to right: J. Lawrence Aber, Dominic Brewer, David Miliband, and Hirokazu Yoshikawa.)