The First Minister of Scotland has given a prestigious lecture at the University of Strathclyde, on children’s services and the rights of children.
Nicola Sturgeon delivered the 15th Kilbrandon Lecture at the University’s Barony Hall on Thursday 23 November.
In her lecture, Ms Sturgeon outlined her vision for securing the welfare of all children in Scotland.
She said: “If you were to ask me to sum up what I consider to be my mission as First Minister, it would be this - the mission of making real progress towards genuine equality of opportunity.
“If we fail in that mission, we are all diminished. For every young person who cannot fulfil their potential, all of us lose out on the talent, ideas and initiative of someone who could be contributing far more to our society.
“Getting young people to see how much they can achieve, then kindling that awareness into a spark or fire of ambition, and then enabling them to realise that ambition – that is one of the key responsibilities today for government and for wider society.”
Strathclyde Principal Professor Sir Jim McDonald said: “We are delighted to have welcomed the First Minister to Strathclyde to give a lecture which is a well-established highlight of the University’s calendar. It was particularly fitting that she delivered this lecture as we approach Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018; we look forward to participating in the events of the coming year and making a full contribution to its aims.
“The Kilbrandon Lecture commemorates the life and work of Lord Kilbrandon, who transformed the way in which Scotland’s care and justice systems provide for children. At Strathclyde, our International Institute For Inspiring Children’s Futures gives us a major focus on these issues; they are at the forefront of enhancing professional practice, informing policy and developing the best possible environment for all children – not least those who are vulnerable or growing up in difficult circumstances.
“Strathclyde is a socially progressive university which has an impact on lives at every stage. Through our leadership of ventures such as the Glasgow Children’s University and the Scottish Space School, we reach out to children of all backgrounds to involve them in higher education and actively encourage them to aspire to continue their learning after they leave school.”
The Kilbrandon Lecture series was inaugurated in 1999, and is supported by the Scottish Government and the University of Strathclyde. Lord Kilbrandon chaired the committee which reported in 1964. The committee led to the formation of the Scottish Children's Hearings system, a unique framework of care and justice designed to ensure that children's "needs and deeds" are considered whenever formal legal proceedings related to care and justice arise.
The International Institute For Inspiring Children’s Futures, launched in 2017, is a joint venture between the University of Strathclyde and two centres based at the University, the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS) and the Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ). It aims to create a brighter future for children in the UK and overseas, particularly those who experience adversity.
Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 is a year-long programme of events, activities and ideas, to celebrate the country’s young personalities, talents and achievers. It will be based around six key themes: culture; education; enterprise and regeneration; equality and discrimination; health and wellbeing, and participation. CELCIS is a partner in the Year of Young People.