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Kopko named UN rep in early childhood education

The World Organization for Early Childhood Education, known internationally as OMEP, has appointed Kimberly Kopko, Ph.D. ’05, associate director of extension and outreach in the College of Human Ecology, as a designated representative to the United Nations.

Kimberly Kopko

A multinational nongovernmental organization, OMEP is a nonprofit that works for all aspects of early childhood education and care, and advocates for the rights, well-being, health and education of young children, their parents, their teachers and the institutions that serve them.

“This is not only an honor, but a tremendous opportunity to advocate for promoting access to quality early childhood education and care for all children,” said Kopko, also a senior extension associate and associate director of Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Founded in 1948 and now with national committees in more than 70 countries, OMEP is the oldest and largest international organization focusing on children ages 8 and younger. Members include scholars, researchers, practitioners, health care and legal professionals, as well as advocates from around the world.

Kopko, who received her doctorate in child development, studies child development, parenting and family processes. Current research and outreach projects include: parenting and child learning; parenting education in school-based health centers; teens being raised by custodial grandparents; and the use of research and evidence-based parent education programs to promote positive parenting behaviors and strengthen families.

Her ongoing academic and research interests incorporate an international dimension, with a focus on comparative parenting and child/family social policies in Scandinavian countries.

“The U.N. representative appointment is very closely aligned with my work … as it requires applying research-based evidence to inform action and practice,” she said. “In this regard, the work of the OMEP Committee has the potential to impact global child policy.”

Stephen D’Angelo is assistant director for communications for the College of Human Ecology.

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Gillian Smith