UNC’s School of Education was chosen to host the biennial forum for the conference’s first time outside of Europe.
From Oct. 25-27, researchers, policymakers and educators met at the Raleigh Convention Center for part of the fourth World Anti-Bullying Forum.The three-day global conference invited experts from a variety of disciplines to discuss bullying and violence against young people.
Attendees of the conference included Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and Gov. Roy Cooper.
Organized and led by Dorothy Espelage, an education professor at UNC, this year’s event featured an array of workshops, symposiums, keynote speeches and social sessions. Espelage’s research focuses on bullying in higher-level education, specifically intervention and prevention programming.
Emcee Sameer Hinduja, professor of criminology at Florida Atlantic University and co-director of theCyberbullying Research Center, said before WABF, there wasn’t a consistent entity to bring practitioners, scholars, researchers and youth advocates together to discuss bullying-related issues.
Hinduja said the forum avoids merely discussing theories without practical implications.
“One of the other cool things about our conference and forum is that we are always focusing on the actionable strategies — the takeaways,” he said.
Espelage said the forum is not just about sharing programs and interventions. She said the event is also a place to discuss challenges of real-world implementation and how they can be made sustainable in the “messy” school environment.
One keynote speech, led by Kevin Runions, the area lead for research, evaluation and monitoring at the School of Mental Health in Ontario, was titled “Humans Implement Bullying Prevention Programs, Too! Steps to an Ecology of School Action.”