Fostering Resilience Initiative joins Notre Dame Institute for Educational Initiatives

Author: Amanda Skofstad

Neil Boothby
Neil Boothby

Neil Boothby, founding director of the Fostering Resilience Initiative (FRI) and internationally recognized expert and advocate for children affected by war and displacement, joined the University of Notre Dame as research faculty in the Institute for Educational Initiatives in 2019. He will deliver his first lecture on campus at noon Friday (Nov. 1) in Remick Commons Visitation Hall.

The title of Boothby’s talk is “Creating Healthy Brains: How the Church is Combining Neuroscience and Theology to Promote Child Development in Haiti,” and he will discuss the importance of integrated early childhood care and education that coordinates caregivers in the home, preschool and wider community.  

Boothby, a child development expert, is an authority on the impact of armed conflict and violence on children, including child soldiers. For more than 20 years, he has served as a senior representative of UNICEF, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Save the Children to help children in crisis in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Boothby’s fieldwork has been recognized with the Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year Award, the United Nations’ Golden Achievement Award for excellence in social sector activities and the Mickey Leland Award for work with uprooted people. 

Boothby’s appointment and FRI’s move from Columbia University to Notre Dame brings an interdisciplinary team who work to ensure positive outcomes for children and youth facing adversity. By measuring and addressing risks and assets at the child level, as well as within homes, schools and communities, FRI promotes a holistic approach to child and youth development.  

“Boothby and FRI are natural fits for the institute, given shared focus on positive outcomes in holistic education for youth and adolescents,” said John Staud, acting director of the Institute of Educational Initiatives and executive director of the Alliance for Catholic Education. “FRI expands our global portfolio and in pursuing solutions to support whole-person education and resilience in at-risk populations.”

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