Nilanga Abeysinghe is currently an Australia Awards Scholar enrolled in the Master of Counselling programme at Victoria University, Melbourne. Also, he is in the process of completing his PhD focusing on the common factors in counselling and therapist-competence in Sri Lanka at the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Colombo. He was awarded a Commonwealth shared scholarship for master’s level studies in psychology at the University of Worcester, UK (2008-2009) and he has been working in the fields of psychology and mental health as a counselling practitioner, teacher/trainer and researcher attached to several state and private higher educational institutes. He has been working with Gameela Samarasinghe and Evan Ekanayake, contributing to the postgraduate diploma and master’s in counselling and psychosocial support at the faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Colombo, since 2010.
Khawla Abu Baker
Dr Khawla Abu Baker is the first doctor of family therapy among Palestinians in Israel (in 1997); the first Palestinian licensed family therapist (in 1997); and the first Palestinian licensed supervisor in family therapy (in 1998) in Israel. She gained her Ph.D in Family Therapy from Nova Southeastern University (FL, USA) in 1997 and became a Professor of Behavioral Sciences in 2008. She has a private practice in her hometown Akko, Israel. Dr Abu Baker was a Board member of the International Association of Family Therapy during two terms, is a Board member of Satir Institute of the Pacific (third term), is a member of AFTA (American Family Therapy Academia), and of the Israel Association for Couple and Family Therapy & the Israeli Sociology Association. In 2017 she was awarded the "Innovative Contribution to the Field of Family Therapy" by AFTA. In 2018 she founded "The Society for the Palestinian Couple and Family Therapists in Israel" and serves as its president. Professor Abu Baker has published numerous articles, several books and book chapters, and writes in English, Hebrew and Arabic. Among the subjects she writes about: Family Therapy among Arab families; Sexual Abuse in Arab societies; Trauma therapy among Palestinians; Gender in Arab families; and Relations between Palestinian Society and the state of Israel.
Dr Adelina Ahmeti Pronaj is a Child Psychiatrist who works at the University Clinical Center in Prishtina, Kosova. She is an assistant at the University Clinical Center of Prishtina-Department of Neuropsychiatry. She has provided supervision to SOS-Kinderdorf educators & been a lecturer at the Dardania College in the field of social welfare, and as an assistant and lecturer in the Master’s in Family Counseling Program. She has participated in the Kosova Systemic Family Therapy Training Program, implemented by Kosovo Health Foundation, where she was trained by multiple International Family Therapy Trainers. She has earned a DIRFloortime Certificate of Proficiency and is working on further doctoral studies at Ss.Cyril and Methodius University Faculty of Medicine, Skopje.
Dr. Saliha Bava, a Couples and Family Therapist, is an Associate Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Mercy College, New York. For 20+ years, she has consulted and implemented performative/play-based and collaborative-dialogic change processes within organizational, community, family, learning, and research systems. She is an advisory board member & Associate at the Taos Institute. She is a co-founding board member of the International Certificate Program in Collaborative-Dialogic Practices and has served on the American Family Therapy Academy Board. She is also the Director of Research at the International Trauma Studies Program. Currently, she is co-founding the Resilience Collective in response to COVID-19. She has also worked in the developmental sector, community engagement and disaster response in India & US, specifically, in Houston to Hurricane Katrina & Ike, for which she received a leadership award from the City of Houston. Her current research is focused on inclusion and cultivating relational practices for engaging emergence through play/improvisation. Dr. Bava is the co-author of The Relational Book for Parenting and numerous chapters and articles. She also maintains a small consulting practice in NYC. Follow her on Twitter @ThinkPlay
Nadia Ben Younis
Dr. Nadia Mohamed Ben Younis is a psychiatrist with degrees in Medicine and Surgery (MBBCh) from University of Tripoli (2006), and international post graduate diplomas in Mental Health, Human Rights and Law from the Indian Law Society College (ILS) Pune-India (2014) and the Clinical Psychological Interventions Diploma, supported by WHO- NCDC, Tripoli-Libya (2013/14). She presently works as the MHPSS specialist at the National Center of Disease Control and prevention (NCDC) Tripoli-Libya, where she provides program guidance and technical support through the mental health department, to enhance NCDC's approach to the provision of mental health and psychosocial support for communities in both humanitarian and development settings. During her nine years of work with NCDC, Dr. Ben Younis has been concerned with improving access to MHPSS knowledge, skills and services, and building collaborative networks within the field in Libya. She has worked and participated in a variety of MHPSS projects on the country level in collaboration with MoH, WHO and other INGOs and local NGOs to strengthen and implement MHPSS services and activities in different parts of Libya, including: organizing anti-stigma campaigns for raising awareness on mental health and rights of people with mental disorders; building capacity of mental health professionals; and facilitating various training courses for health workers, including PFA, Psychological First Aid, & mhGAP, mental health gap action programs. In 2019, she started work with IRC-Libya (International Rescue Committee) as a part-time Psychiatrist/Clinical supervisor, providing mental health consultations and support MHPSS services for migrants, refugees and IDPs. As a member of medical team of IRC-Tripoli, she provides clinical supervision for psychologists and mhGAP trained GPs to support integration of mental health services within primary health care in collaboration with MoH in Libya.
Tamara Džamonja Ignjatović
Dr Tamara Džamonja Ignjatović is a full professor at the Department of Social Policy and Social Work, Faculty of Political Science and Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade. She has been working for 15 years at the Psychiatric Institute of the Clinical Center of Serbia in Belgrade as a clinical psychologist, focusing on personality assessment, counseling and family and cognitive-behavior therapy. Last twenty years, her interests are communication skills, mediation, mental health and wellbeing. Presently, she teaches Human Behavior in Social Environment to social work students and Mental health to students of psychology. She coordinated and participated in numerous researches and projects for improving professional practice in clinical psychology and social work. In the past 15 years, she has been involved in training of Family and Victim offender mediation and its application in practice. She is the author and co-author of more than 60 papers and 15 publications and handbooks in Serbia and internationally.
Arancha (Araceli) Garcia del Soto
A Doctor Member of the Center for the Advanced Studies of the Social Sciences, CEACS, at the Juan March Foundation in Madrid, Spain, Arancha Garcia del Soto is engaged in the teaching and practice of international human rights work in Europe, Colombia, and Africa and Sri Lanka, with migrants, refugees and IDPs, primarily implementing protection and psychosocial projects for conflicts´ victims. Arancha holds a degree in Social Psychology by the University Pontificia de Salamanca in Spain; a Masters in Social Sciences by the CEACS (Center for Advanced Social Studies) at the Juan March Foundation in Madrid & a Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Salamanca. Arancha supports research, trainings and applied work on (1) Psychosocial work and community well-being, (2) Gender and SGBV- Sexual Gender based Violence, and (3) Human Rights.
Arancha's current work involves accompanying Human Right Defenders in Honduras and Colombia, providing them with online psychosocial support and collaborating with EQUITAS, Colombia, to do forensic work and support to the families of the disappeared. Until December 2019, she was working for the Colombian Truth Commission, within its Exile Team, coordinating the work with the Colombian victims/survivors in Europe and the US. In 2018, she contributed to the case of Al-Madhi focus on the moral harm caused by the destruction of the Cultural Heritage (Buildings and Mausoleums in Timbuktu in 2012). In 2015, she helped develop an evaluation with Caritas-Switzerland and PASSAsia on their projects with widows in the north and east of Sri Lanka; in June 2015 she was invited to attend the Women´s Court in Sarajevo, and traveled to Belgrade with a representation of Women in Black from the Balkans. In 2015 she was also in Colombia, supporting the implementation of the Decree 2569, working on the tools to measure the vulnerability of IDPs formally registered in the country (seven million), under the auspice of JIPS-UNHCR (Joint IDPs Profiling Service) and the Victims´ Unit, within the Colombian Government.
In 2013, Arancha was called by the International Criminal Court, ICC, in The Hague, to support victims´ groups for the Kenyan cases, and to train their lawyers in psychosocial support. In 2010, she implemented the eye-witness reports on collective and individual harm for the case of “Libertad” in Colombia- a group of 12 women sexually abused by the paramilitary, and she continues monitoring the developments of this case, along with the lawyers and the women witnesses. Arancha is affiliated with the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) of Fordham University in New York City, where she taught and worked in 2006-2009. Previously, she was the Director of Refugee Initiatives, at the Solomon Asch Center for the Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (2002-2006).
Evangeline Ekanayake is a psychologist by training, having graduated with a first degree from Sri Lanka, and a Masters degree from Kings College London. She has been enjoying life and work as a psychologist active in the development sector, and also in academia as a visiting lecturer. As a clinician, she has been busy providing services to populations across various settings and geographic locations, as a technical advisor of MHPSS services in international organizations, and in leadership positions supporting mental health teams and supervision in Sri Lanka. Her passion is working with communities affected by conflict, which she has done for a number of years as an MHPSS consultant for children affected by armed conflict in Sri Lanka. Evan currently works with a bilateral supporting psychosocial service delivery in Sri Lanka.
Niluka Gunawardena is a disability rights advocate and educator based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She has a Master's degree in Disability and Gender from the University of Leeds, and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Kelaniya Department of Disability Studies. Niluka is a consultant to the AHEAD project at the University of Colombo, which is aimed at creating an accessible and equal learning environment for students with disabilities. She has worked as a schoolteacher in Sri Lanka, in the USA, and in Australia. Niluka currently serves on the Board of Women Enabled International & the Programme Advisory Committee of the Asia Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women. She is a faculty member of CREA’s Disability, Sexuality and Rights Online Institute and a qualified Mindfulness for Schools practitioner and trainer. A steering committee member of TCI Asia Pacific and a Disability Advisor for HYPE Sri Lanka, Niluka also runs a support group for parents of children with disabilities & a peer support network for youth with disabilities. Her research interests include the Politics of Care, SRHR in the context of disability, and mindfulness-based education and peer support. Niluka’s work is informed by her lived experience of disability, marginality, & intersectionality.
Dr Gizem Erdem is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at Koç University and a licensed marriage and family therapist. She obtained her Ph.D in Couple and Family Therapy from the Ohio State University in 2014. She was a Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Illinois at Chicago from 2014–2015, and held summer visiting positions at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and ISCTE University Institute of Lisbon. She serves as the National Council on Family Relations Family Therapy Section secretary/treasurer, and is an executive board member of the Turkish Association of Couple and Family Therapy. She teaches clinical area courses and Introduction to Couple and Family Therapy for senior undergraduate students at Koç University, supervises master’s students in clinical psychology and couple and family therapy programs from various Turkish universities, and trains probation officers in systemic family therapy. Dr Erdem has published scientific articles on substance abuse, juvenile delinquency and probation, and efficacy of family therapy and youth mentoring to intervene with at-risk youth and their families. She received numerous research and service awards, including the 2019 Science Academy Turkey Young Scientist Award, 2018 NCFR President-for-a-day award, and 2013 NCFR Student Award.
Dr. Ana Iosipan has a Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in Behavioral Health. She has worked in a private practice setting for fourteen years in the United States and nineteen years in Guatemala. An LMFT Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and also a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Florida, Dr Ana, aka Dr Ana Banana, is currently working on obtaining her license as a clinical psychologist in Guatemala. Fluent in English and Spanish, she has extensive experience providing E-therapy for multicultural issues, immigration, bio-psychosocial and mental health evaluations. Dr. Ana is a Certified Master's Level Addiction Professional; a qualified supervisor with the state of Florida; past President of the Tampa Bay Marriage and Family Therapy Association & Adjunct Professor at Argosy University. Her clinical experience in the U.S. and in Guatemala includes work with individuals, couples, and families; with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender clients; in community mental health; intensive in-home family therapy; with grief and trauma, domestic violence, and substance abuse. Dr. Ana has presented regionally, nationally, and internationally on topics of trauma, domestic violence, and a collaborative language systems approach. She is currently finishing her book "A Hair in The Soup," a book of metaphors and strategies that will help the clients to make sense of things in life in a humoristic way!
Lahija Evangeline Hamunjela
Dr Lahija Hamunjela is a specialist in psychiatry and Mental Health in Windhoek, Namibia. She is one of the few female psychiatrists and addiction prevention professionals in her beautiful country. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology in 1993; a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in 2006; and a Master of Medicine in Psychiatry and Mental health, from Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, in 2016, in Tanzania. Dr. Lahija is also a Global Master trainer in Addiction and a senior adjunct lecturer at the School of Medicine with the University of Namibia, and the president of International Society of Substance Use Professional-Namibia. She coordinates various campaigns and liaises with various ministries on raising awareness of substances use; mental health and families affected with youth using substances or recovering from the addiction. Dr Lahija also facilitates workshops around the country on helping society understand the effects of substances and learn how to best take care of their families and youths. As well as being absolutely passionate about promoting mental health as an advocate for people living and those caring for people with mental illness, Dr Lahija is a proud mother of two lovely children who are her greatest source of inspiration.
Hui-Chun is a postmodern counseling psychologist working in Mackay Memorial Hospital Counseling Center, Taipei, Taiwan. He does collaborative work with pediatricians in the children's cancer ward and creates dialogues between the family system and the medical team system. Hui-Chun is an adjunct lecturer teaching family therapy and the relationship between patients’ family system and medical system at Mackay Medical College and National Taiwan Normal University. He earned his master degree in University of Massachusetts Boston, 2010, and afterward, he decided to bring precious postmodern ideas back to his hometown, Taiwan. Since 2019, Hui-Chun has been a vice president of the Taiwan Counseling Psychologist Union. He tries to advocate social constructionism in his professional work, in order to create more dialogue between the government and counseling profession, & to make change in the Taiwan mental health system.
Dr. Saeid Kianpour is a registered psychotherapist and a family therapist based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He completed his BA in Education of children with special
needs and a Master’s Degree in Psychology-Family Therapy in Iran, then moved to the United States to pursue his doctorate in Human Development and Family Science with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy at Virginia Tech. Dr. Kianpour accomplished an internship at the Indiana University-School of Medicine as a Behavioral Science Doctoral Intern and Visiting Lecturer, and moved to Canada in 2018 where he was registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario and started working in Ottawa in private clinical practice. Systemic ideology is a thread woven throughout his worldview and work. His clinical practice and experience in Iran, the United States, and Canada have enabled meaningful moments of growth and provided him the opportunity to work with diverse populations who faced various challenges. Cultural diversity and working in a humanitarian context is an innate part of his experience.
Lirie Lokaj is a psychologist by profession. She completed her bachelor studies in Psychology and her Master studies in Clinical Psychology and Health at the University of Prishtina. Currently she is a PhD candidate in the field of Education, provided by the Faculty of Education University of Prishtina. Lirie finished the five years training program on Systemic Family Therapy Training. Liria is also certified as an Online Counselor by the UK-based Institute for Online Therapy and is licensed as a clinical psychologist by the Ministry of Health of Kosovo. In addition, Liria has attended many other trainings in the field of mental health. For more than 12 years, Liria has worked in various local and international organizations in projects that contribute to the field of education and social welfare and well-being. Since 2013, she has offered psychotherapy in a private Ambulance for Clinical Psychology "UNI"; she is also co-founder of this institution.
Richard F Mollica
Richard F. Mollica, MD, MAR is the Director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma (HPRT) of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He received his medical degree from the University of New Mexico and completed his Psychiatry residency at Yale Medical School. While at Yale he also trained in epidemiology and received a philosophy degree from the Divinity School. In 1981, Dr. Mollica co-founded the Indochinese Psychiatry Clinic (IPC). Over the past two decades HPRT and IPC have pioneered the mental health care of survivors of mass violence and torture. HPRT/IPC’s clinical model has been replicated throughout the world.
Dr. Mollica has received numerous awards for his work. In 1993, he received the human rights award from the American Psychiatric Association. In 1996, the American Orthopsychiatry Association presented him with the Max Hymen Award. In 2000 he was awarded a visiting professorship to Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan, for his contributions during the Kobe earthquake. In 2001 he was selected as a Fulbright New Century scholar. Under Dr. Mollica’s direction, HPRT conducts training, policy and research activities for traumatized populations around the world. HPRT’s screening instruments are considered a gold standard in the field and have been widely translated into over thirty languages. HPRT’s scientific work has helped place mental health issues at the center of the recovery of post-conflict societies.
Dr. Mollica has published over 160 scientific articles. He and his team over the past 30 years have cared for over 10,000 survivors of extreme violence worldwide. Through his research, clinical work and trainings he is recognized as a leader in the treatment and rehabilitation of traumatized people and their communities. Since 1981, Dr. Mollica and HPRT have pioneered the medical and mental health care of survivors of mass violence and torture in the U.S. and abroad. Under his direction, the HPRT conducts clinical, training, policy, and research activities for populations affected by mass violence around the world. He is currently active in clinical work, research, and the development of a Global Health curriculum, focusing on trauma and recovery. The Global Mental Health: Trauma and Recovery certificate program is the first of its kind in global mental health and post- conflict/disaster care. Dr. Mollica has published over 160 scientific manuscripts, published his first book called Healing Invisible Wounds: Paths to Hope and Recovery in a Violent World (2006), and his most recent published book is A Manifesto: Healing a Violent World (2018).
Dr Manjushree Palit holds a Ph.D. in Human Development with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy from Virgina Tech. She is mental health professional with 15 years of experience in counseling people: individuals, couples and families, and clinical, teaching, and research experience in diverse work settings: non-profit organizations and academic institutions in both India and United States. She has worked in India as a counselor and social worker in two
non-profit organizations [Populations Services International (PSI) and Indian Association for Promotion of Adoption & Child Welfare (IAPA)] and with children, adolescents, and adults at school, hospital and university settings from both lower and higher income families. At present, apart from my teaching, research and administrative role at the University, she also sees clients at the university (students, faculty, staff) and from the nearby community, supervises and trains counselors at the University as well as from the community, and volunteers as a therapist with an organization called Navjyoti that provides educational opportunities to underprivileged Children.
Jelisaveta Sanja Rolovic
Jelisaveta Sanja Rolovic, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and family therapist in private practice in New York City. As the past Professor/Adjunct of Family Therapy at Teachers College /Columbia University, Clinical Faculty at NYU School of Medicine as well as the Visiting Scholar at University of Belgrade and an Ackerman Institute Alumna, she has taught courses and presented nationally and internationally on family therapy, immigration, sexual abuse and war trauma. Born and raised in Belgrade/Yugoslavia, she uses her experiences as an immigrant to assist war affected populations that have endured torture, trauma and dislocation. In 2015 Sanja was awarded a UNICEF grant to address issues of child sexual abuse in her homeland, Serbia. In 2017 and 2018 the UNICEF grant was extended to parallel work in Montenegro and in 2020 in Bosnia/ Republika Srpska.
Dr Mimoza Shahini was educated in Cambridge, Tirana, and Vienna. She is a medical doctor, specialized in adult psychiatry with a sub-specialty in child and adolescent psychiatry and family therapy. She is a lecturer at the University of Prishtina and at several private universities in the region. Dr. Shahini is an expert in combat-related disorders, and has published several papers on the subject. She works as a lecturer and consultant for the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), NATO and other international organizations. But first and foremost she is an expert by experience, having contributed to the care of refugee children after the Kosovo war (1995-1998). Dr Shahini holds a treasure of knowledge and experience, and perhaps some important lessons to learn for European child psychiatrists who are facing the same challenge now, dealing with the mental health issues of the current entrance of refugee families in Europe.
Dr. Charity Somo is an Educational Psychologist in South Africa. She earned her doctorate degree in Human Development and Family Science with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy, from the University of Georgia (U.S.), in May 2020. She completed her masters degree in Educational Psychology in 2014 and her undergraduate degree in Psychology in 2005, at the University of Pretoria (South Africa). She completed volunteer work with refugee families from 2014 – 2017. Specifically, she partnered with an agency helping displayed families to conduct psycho-educational mental health interventions, to improve the mental health outcomes for resettling families. Dr. Somo has published peer-reviewed manuscripts in the areas of family therapy and the mental health of vulnerable populations. She is currently working at the University of Pretoria, in South Africa, helping post-graduate students succeed academically. Dr. Somo is committed to helping vulnerable families and communities mobilize their ecological resilience towards better mental health outcomes.
Niranjala Somasundaram is the Quality and Learning Manager at Family Rehabilitation Centre (FRC), an organization that works with survivors of systemic and structural violence related trauma. She has extensive experience in Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of psychosocial programs, specifically: data management systems; comprehensive data analysis; developing M&E tools; and designing psychosocial programs. Niranjala has experience in using Most Significant Change (MSC) as a tool to understand the qualitative achievements and outcomes of peace building related work. She has contributed to many research projects conducted by various institutions on psychosocial interventions in the post war context, and community, family, and individuals' psychosocial health and well-being in Sri Lanka, where she works on a daily basis in three languages: English, Tamil, and Sinhala. Niranjala is a member of the International Exchange Alumni (IEA) Global Online Community and was a Fulbright Scholar from Sri Lanka for the Legislative Fellows Program for South and Central Asia, 2013, in Washington DC, USA.
Simone G. Young, from Trinidad and Tobago, has been a career diplomat since 1999. She has served at her country’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva and as the Deputy Consul General in Toronto from June 2005 to February 2008.
At the Permanent Mission, her assignments included being the Mission’s Desk Officer assigned to key UN specialized agencies, including the International Labor Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
A Fellow of Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of the Foreign Service Foreign Policy Leadership Course, and an Alumnus of the Aspen Institute, Ms. Young was the 2016-2017 Fulbright Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow for Trinidad and Tobago and focused on Gender and Foreign Policy in International Affairs during her tenure as a Fellow at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. From April to June 2017, she was a Visiting Fellow in Foreign Policy at The Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. An International Affairs graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, she also holds a Master of Science in Marine Resource and Environmental Management and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Government from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill and St. Augustine campuses respectively.