© Blog First Steps, IDBclinton eng

We’re eagerly counting the days until May 6, when the IDB will open its doors to welcome an outstanding group of extremely interesting people who are united by a single passion: early childhood development.

The main reason for bringing this group together is the presentation of this year’s ALAS-IDB Awards. This prestigious award is co-sponsored by the IDB and the ALAS Foundation, which promotes early childhood development in Latin America together with recording artist Shakira. Now in its second year in partnership with the IDB, the competition selected finalists from among more than 700 participants, choosing those who stand out for their excellence in four categories related to child development:

  • Best Educator
  • Best Center
  • Best Publication
  • Best Innovation

The long-awaited awards ceremony will be attended by such prominent figures as Hillary Rodham Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State; Luis Alberto Moreno, IDB president; Alejandro Santo Domingo, president of the ALAS Foundation; and Ignacio Polanco, president of Fundación Santillana.

But that’s not all. The ALAS-IDB awards ceremony is the dessert course at the end of the intellectual feast that awaits us that day. Several extremely interesting discussion panels will take place at the IDB, both in the morning and the afternoon.

The day will kick off with an exploration of some innovative experiences in early childhood development programs. Krista Kiuru, Finland’s Minister of Education, will join us to share some of the initiatives that her country has launched in these areas. Participating on this same panel will be fellow Finn Sanna Lukander, a veteran of the publishing world now serving as vice president of Rovio, the creator of the popular game series Angry Birds.

Another highlight will be the presentation by Norbert Schady, principal economic advisor for the social sector at the IDB, who will share a preview of the Bank’s annual report Los Primeros Años en América Latina y el Caribe, to be launched in early 2015.

In the afternoon, we’ll hear a presentation by Catherine Snow and Herbert Ginsburg, professors from Harvard and Columbia Universities, respectively, who’ll discuss the teaching of reading and math at the preschool level. We’ll also have an opportunity to hear a talk by Randa Grob-Zakhary, president of the Lego Foundation, on this organization’s approach to learning through play.

While each of the sessions promises to be fascinating in its own right, they will all be further enriched by the comments of fantastic panelists and dear friends. In a future post, we’ll tell you a little about what we learned during this event.

You can participate too! If you’re in Washington, D.C., you can register for the seminar here. If you are not in DC, you can also follow it online through this link.

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