UIC psychology professor honored with Korczak Award

Kimberly Schonert-Reichl
Kimberly Schonert-Reichl

Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, NoVo Foundation Endowed Chair of Social and Emotional Learning at UIC, received the Janusz Korczak Medal for Children’s Rights Advocacy from the Janusz Korczak Association of Canada. The medal, bestowed in recognition of her “long career elevating the voices of children and youth,” was presented by Jennifer Charlesworth, British Columbia Representative for Children and Youth, and Jerry Nussbaum, president of the Korczak Association, during a virtual ceremony held Jan. 27.

She has conducted more than two decades of research with children and adolescents, particularly in relation to the identification of the processes and mechanisms that foster positive human qualities such as empathy, compassion, altruism and resiliency.

“Too often we see research being conducted on children, rather than in collaboration with them, leading to skewed results that do not reflect their priorities,” said Schonert-Reichl, who recently joined UIC from the University of British Columbia. “Korczak said that children are people now, not just people of the future. Children know what they want and need. Their perspectives are vital to ensuring that our research and programming is relevant and truly supports their life-long well-being. To have my work recognized with this award is a tremendous honor that reinforces my most fundamental beliefs.”

Janusz Korczak was a Polish-Jewish author and pediatrician, best known for his selfless heroism in 1942 when, as an orphanage director in Warsaw, he refused offers of freedom and accompanied the children in his care to a Nazi extermination camp. The Janusz Korczak Association of Canada is devoted to the ideals and legacy of Korczak (1878-1942), whose teachings and work remain powerful and relevant for educators, social workers and children’s advocates committed to social justice and education for democratic citizenship.

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