On 15 November 2023, Alison Morton iHV CEO will join The Shaping Us Symposium, hosted by Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales and The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, at The Design Museum in London. The event will bring together cross-disciplinary leaders, child and adult specialists, and global thinkers for the first time to consider how we grow, think, and behave throughout life, in order to build resilience for the future.

Earlier this year, Alison was interviewed as part of a “global listening exercise” conducted by The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, involving experts from 21 countries around the world, to unite the thinking and agree on the key foundational skills that shape everything from our ability to form positive relationships, to our capacity for learning, working, and coping with adversity. They all have their foundations in early childhood.

This work has been undertaken to agree a set of common core skills that can apply equally to children and adults, so we can bring people together with a united language and vision to drive action at every level. The Shaping Us National Symposium will share the findings from this exercise and focus on the action needed to make social and emotional skills a greater priority.

The Symposium will begin with a keynote speech, delivered by The Princess of Wales. Mental health and wellbeing advocate, and Shaping Us Champion Fearne Cotton, will host the event. The day will also feature talks from a range of thought leaders to outline the scientific, economic and human cases for prioritising early childhood, and our social and emotional development, including:

  • Professor Jack Shonkoff, Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard.
  • Sara Rajeswaran, Chief of Staff at Aviva, a key member of the Business Taskforce for Early Childhood which The Princess launched in March.
  • Professor Robert Waldinger, Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the longest-running studies of adult life ever conducted.

During the afternoon, Symposium attendees will join a series of workshops to look at what action can be taken at every level to protect and strengthen these skills for current and future generations across disciplines and across sectors.

The event and the research that has been carried out by The Centre for Early Childhood is a key milestone for The Centre’s Shaping Us campaign, which aims to increase awareness of, and action on, the unique importance of early childhood in shaping our future mental and physical wellbeing as adults, as well as the nature of the wider society we build.

Alison Morton, iHV CEO said:

“It is a privilege and a pleasure to support the work of HRH The Princess of Wales which is galvanising a global movement focused on the importance of the earliest years of life. The sharp focus and vision of The Centre for Early Childhood aligns closely with ours at the Institute – by laying strong foundations for social and emotional wellbeing in early childhood, we are making the smartest of all investments in the health and happiness of a rising generation of children”.

Use #ShapingUs to follow and support the campaign on social media.