Originally published in Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Child Soldiers: Cost-effective renewable weapons system with Penelope Nelson

Penelope Nelson
Intelligence Research Specialist for Homeland Security
Monday, October 24, 2016
4130 Posvar Hall

Q: What do the Islamic State, the IRA, the governments of South Sudan, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Nigeria have in common?

A: They all use child soldiers.

  • What is a child soldier?  
  • Why does the definition matter?
  • What happens when child soldiers grow up? At what point do child soldiers shift from victim to perpetrator?
  • What is being done to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers? 

Penelope Nelson is an Intelligence Research Specialist with the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Unit’s Human Rights Target Tracking Team, which targets and identifies human rights violators and seeks to prevent their entry to the United States. Penelope has been with the DHS/ICE for 6 years. Penelope was the Senior Research Associate and Assistant to the Director at the Ford Institute for Human Security at the University of Pittsburgh from 2006 to 2009, where she coauthored several reports and policy memos regarding IDPs, refugees, and child soldiers. Penelope worked with the UNDP and the Veteran Child Soldier Association of Liberia at the Buduburam refugee camp in Ghana where she interviewed and catalogued the experiences of approximately 150 former child soldiers. Penelope received her Master’s of International Development majoring in Human Security from GSPIA. 

Sponsored by:
Ford Institute for Human Security
UCIS: Global Studies Center



Ford Institute for Human Security
3930 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260