Empowerment & Resilience in Children Everywhere - ERICE

Round Table Discussion

With James F. Leckman, MD, PhD, Shafiq Masalha, MD & Prof. Ernesto Caffo

The Transformative Power of Early Childhood Development: Setting the Stage for a More Peaceful World

VIDEO / 25 Aug 2015 / Yale professor, James F. Leckman, MD, PhD, hosts a discussion with international notables, Shafiq Masalha, MD (Israel) and Prof. Ernesto Caffo, MD (Italy), to include the reduction and prevention of violence against children in the home and in society, and a knowledge exchange about the importance and the potentially transformative power of the early years by promoting evidence-based early parent-child programs in fragile contexts. More ...

ERICE Mission Statement

Guided by the belief that children everywhere are to be cherished and that respect for and protection of children is a shared human value, ERICE works to promote human rights, joint action, training and interventional projects focused on enhancing the well-being of children and families affected by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. ERICE brings together child mental health professionals from Israel and Palestine to formulate and accomplish joint projects to enhance the well being of children and families that neighbor one another in this strife-torn region of the world.


The initial plans to establish ERICE took place following a meeting of parents of children (both Arab-Israeli and Jewish Israeli) enrolled in a Kindergarten at the YMCA in Jerusalem 2004 organized by Shafiq Masalha, PhD. 

The first formal meeting of the group was sponsored by Fondazione Child, led by Prof. Ernesto Caffo, and was held in Berlin at the Italian Embassy in 2004. The second formal meeting took place in Erice (Sicily, Italy) in 2005. During that meeting the group adopted the name E.R.I.C.E., not only in honor of the name of the place but also an acronym of their common goal (Empowerment and Resilience in Children Everywhere). 

Subsequent meetings have taken place in Rome, Florence and in the region. The most recent ERICE meeting took place in August 2013 at the Innocenti Centre in Florence, Italy. Forty professionals took part in this meeting sponsored by Fondazione Child, the Fetzer Institute and Yale University. The most recent ERICE meeting took place in June 2015 in Israel that was sponsored in part by the Italian government.

The Current Leadership of ERICE

  • President: Shafiq Masalha, PhD 
  • Board of Directors: Hazem AShour, MD; Morshid Farhat, MD, MPH, JD, MBA; Alan Apter, MD; Tawfiq Salman, MD; and Itamar Lurie, PhD
  • Co-ordinator: Maya Fennig

Members of the ERICE group include: Arab-Israeli academics, physicians and psychologists; Jewish Israeli academics, physicians and psychologists; and Palestinian academics, physicians and psychologists. 

Formation of a Non-Governmental Organization

Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Ernesto Caffo and the leadership of Fondazione Child, ERICE has been established as a new NGO based in Italy. This evolutionary step has been supported by ERICE's partner organizations and institutions: Fondazione Child, International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), UNICEF, the Fetzer Institute and Yale University.


At present, a number of projects are being developed including Joint Palestinian-Israeli Training Programs for mental health professionals to enhance the resilience, safety and well-being of children and their families.

To Learn More

For more information about ERICE, please contact James F. Leckman, MD, PhD at james.leckman@yale.edu.
Resilience in child development – interconnected pathways to wellbeing

by Catherine Panter-Brick & James F. Leckman (Yale). (2013) 

"In our view, attention to interventions with synergistic effects across multiple systems...is one of the most exciting foci of research and practice in child development." - Authors 

Full text J Child Psychology and Psychiatry here