Susan Bissell, Director of UNICEF’s Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children

I have worked for UNICEF since the late 1980s, and been moving from Sri Lanka, to Bangladesh, to India and then onward to the research centre in Florence, Italy. It was there that I met Celia – a force of nature with a passion for rights and justice and protection that I’d never before seen in an academic. I was instantly full of admiration for Celia’s work on protection and violence and exploitation in sport. And she came to me not solo but with some incredible peers. What is great about moving around the world with UNICEF is the people you meet and have the privilege to work with. In the case of Celia I really have to say our collaboration was one of the most important of my career. Why? Her generosity, intellectually and, frankly, as a person. She allowed me into a world she’d created over decades, in order to bring focus to children, their protection in sport, and an end to the violence and exploitation they experience all over the world. It is unusual for someone to be so willing to share both knowledge and networks, and to do so with a twinkle in her eye, a wry bit of humour in her turn of phrase.

It is truly thanks to Celia that as we operationalise this new Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children that safey and security in children’s sport are squarely on the agenda. I’m certain that millions of children the world over, every day, play safe and free from fear because of you, Celia.

Fondly and full of admiration,

— Dr Susan Bissell is Director of UNICEF’s Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. Dr Bissell and Celia worked together at the Innocenti Research Centre in Florence, Italy, where Susan led a research unit and a number of studies. These included a 62-country study on the implementation of the general measures of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and global research on the Palermo Protocol and child trafficking. Dr Bissell was also a member of the Editorial Board of the report of the UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence Against Children, which was released in 2006.