The event featured presentations by NLG partners, other strategic partners and experts. 

To see speakers in action please follow this link for photos of the Flickr Photo Feed.


AHMAD ABOJARADEH: Founder and Executive Director - Life in My Days

Ahmad Abojaradeh is the Founder and Executive Director of Life in My Days, Inc. He has worked with communities to start difficult conversations around Mental Health and Disabilities, Abuse and Trauma, and Social Justice. Ahmad specializes in supporting communities to develop safe spaces around the world.


ALA ABOJARADEH: Director - Life in My Days

Ala Abojaradeh is the Director of the Jordan Chapter of Life in My Days, and the leader of Can we Talk Campaign.  She is the publicist for the Medical Student Research club. She is a medical student in the University of Jordan and serves as an active member in the International Federation Medical Students Association.


FARIDA ABOUDAN: Education Specialist - UNICEF MENA

Farida Aboudan is an Education Specialist currently working with the UNICEF Regional Office where she is providing technical support to the education in emergencies (EiE) programmes with a specific focus on the countries responding to the Syria Crisis. Prior to joining UNICEF, Farida has extensively worked with education institutions and NGOs in the region.


MAZEN ABOULHOSN: Emergency coordinator - International Organization for Migration

Mazen Aboulhosn has worked in response to crisis in Lebanon, Haiti, Chad, Congo and Turkey. His expertise covers humanitarian response programming, programs coordination, psychosocial programming, and provision of trainings on psychosocial support. Since 2012, he has been supporting the Syria crisis response in Turkey, covering several thematic areas including protection, livelihoods, psychosocial, and education.

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REEM ABUKISHK: Senior Technical Specialist - Fhi360, CIS

Reem AbuKishk is a Creative Arts/Drama Therapist and a national advocate (Jordan) for the IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support. She currently works with FHI360 on a Civic Initiative Support program to strengthen the capacities of local partners. Reem carries MAs in Drama Therapy, International Relations and a diploma from the Global Mental Health, Trauma and Refugee Program (Harvard). Reem has worked with refugees, marginalized and at-risk trauma populations across the Middle East and the United States for a number of UN agencies. 


RIMA AFIFI: Professor - University of Iowa College of Public Health

Dr. Afifi engages in public health research and practice with intent to promote social, community, and policy environments conducive to wellbeing. Whenever possible, she uses methods of Community Based Participatory Research; applies an ecological lens to the understanding of the issues; engages multiple disciplines to widen the perspectives on any topic; and emphasizes knowledge transfer of research to practice and policy. She is specifically interested in intervention and implementation science.


HUSSEIN ALSALEM: Head of Hashmi Clinic, Institute for Family Health - Noor Al Hussein Foundation

Hussein Alsalem holds a PhD in psychological counseling and is a psychologist's supervisor for the Noor Al Hussein Foundation where he works at the Institute of Family Health Care to provide psychological support services for Iraqi and Syrian refugees. In addition he is head of the Hashmi Clinic in Amman.


DR. NOOR AMAWI: Psychosocial Programs Manager - Syrian American Medial Society

Dr Noor Amawi completed her PsyD (Psychology Doctorate) in 2012, specializing in Global Mental Health and Trauma Recovery. Until September 2015, Dr. Noor worked as Mental Health Clinic Supervisor with Medicine Sans Frontier in Irbid, where she was treating Syrian Refugees suffering from trauma related disorders. In February 2016, she joined the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) as the Psychosocial Programs Manager for SAMS PSS projects in Southern Syria as well as PSS projects in Jordan.

MAY AOUN: Regional Psychosocial Adviser - War Child Holland

May Aoun is War Child Holland’s (WCH) Regional Psychosocial Advisor, based in Beirut. She is an experienced trainer and facilitator with intervention experience in the Arab Region, and Africa. May has developed PSS and conflict resolution curricula for Children and youth. May is a clinical psychologist and a psychotherapist by training. She holds an MAPSS, MPsc. and an MBA.

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MAISA ASMAR: Senior Program Coordinator - Mercy Corps

Maisa Asmar has 10 years’ experience in the field of disability programming. Currently, Maisa is the Senior Program Coordinator for inclusive education for Mercy Corps Jordan, which covers a holistic portfolio that has direct implementation of inclusive education and advocacy where institutionalization of the program is being implemented.

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SAIF ATARI: Capacity Building & Quality Management Team Leader - Mercy Corps

Saif Atari is a youth educator since 2006. Currently, Saif is a capacity building and quality management team leader for Mercy Corps, dedicated to design and implement the Nubader programme as well as building the capacity of the national and regional teams to implement the Profound Stress and Attunement PSS Framework to support local protectionists in the development and empowerment of youth and active inclusion of refugees residing at urban communities.

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DALIA AWJEH: Project Training Officer - Mercy Corps

Dalia is a lead training officer with Mercy Corps Jordan's youth programs with a focus on community-based psychosocial support programming for young people.  Dalia has extensive experience training and supporting coaches and trainers from the community to apply the Profound Stress and Attunement PSS framework. Dalia has played an active role in adaptation of the PSA model to adapt to community needs.

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KATY BARNETT: No Lost Generation Advisor - UNICEF MENA

Event Steering Committee

Katy Barnett is a senior development expert with 20 years of programme and policy experience at global and field level, including experience as global level Coordinator for Child Protection within UNICEF’s Humanitarian Cluster System. In March 2016, Ms. Barnett took up the post of UNICEF’s Regional Advisor for the No Lost Generation Initiative in the Middle East and North Africa. 


AHMED Y. BAWANEH: Director of Programs - International Medical Corps

Ahmed Y. Bawaneh, Ph.D. (psychology), is Director of Programs at International Medical Corps’ Jordan office. He has over 10 years of mental health and psychosocial programs management and technical experience in working with refugees and vulnerable populations. He has extensive experience in the fields of training, capacity building, and mental health and psychological support. He is the co-chair for MHPSS working group in Jordan.

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Alberto Biancoli works as Education Specialist at UNICEF MENA Regional Office, where he focuses on upstream engagement and quality learning through life skills and citizenship education. Biancoli has experience working as Education Programme Specialist at UNRWA and UNESCO in Jordan and Iraq.


DR. MARCIA BROPHY: Regional Senior Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Technical Advisor - Save the Children 


Event Steering Committee

Dr. Marcia Brophy is a Child Psychologist, and a Wellbeing and Mental Health Specialist working in the field for over 15 years. Currently she works as Senior Regional Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Advisor (Middle East & Eurasia) for Save the Children International.  Marcia holds a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the Institute of Education and the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London, U.K. respectively.


FELICITY BROWN: Clinical Psychologist/Researcher - War Child Holland

Felicity Brown is a researcher and clinical psychologist with a focus on developing and evaluating interventions for children and families affected by armed conflict, poverty, and other adversities. Currently, Felicity works as Senior Researcher at War Child Holland. She holds a PhD and MPsychClin.


DR. KEN CARSWELL: Clinical Psychologist, Technical Officer - World Health Organization

Dr. Ken Carswell is a UK trained Clinical Psychologist with a background in global mental health and MHPSS interventions. He is a Technical Officer at the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department of WHO Geneva where he works primarily on projects to develop innovative scalable psychological interventions and digital health applications, including e-mhGAP and e-mental health interventions. He has particular interests in the use of technology to increase health coverage and provide mental health and psychosocial support in humanitarian emergencies. 


ISABELLA CASTROGIOVANNI: Regional Child Protection Advisor - UNICEF

Event Steering Committee

Isabella Castrogiovanni started her career as a human rights officer with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in post-genocide Rwanda. Specializing in issues related to human rights and international humanitarian law and policy, Castrogiovanni has spent the intervening years working with UNICEF in conflict, transitional, and post-conflict environments. Currently, Castrogiovanni is the Regional Child Protection Advisor at the UNICEF regional office in Amman.


RABIH EL CHAMMAY: Head of National Mental Health Programme - Ministry of Public Health Lebanon

Dr. Rabih El Chammay is a psychiatrist and is currently Head of the National Mental Health Program at the Ministry of Public Health in Lebanon. After founding the program, he led the development of the first National Mental Health and Substance Use Strategy 2015-2020, aiming at reforming the Mental Health System in Lebanon towards community-based mental health services. He is a member of the Department of Psychiatry, faculty of Medicine at Saint Joseph University in Beirut. He has worked with the WHO, UNHCR, UNICEF, IMC and many other NGOs on the topics of public mental health, refugee mental health, and health system strengthening. 

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MARK CHAPPLE: Head of No Lost Generation, Syria Response - World Vision

Mark Chapple is Head of No Lost Generation and works with World Vision offices in the region on the Syria response, using his expertise in education in emergencies. Alongside education expertise, Mark has twelve years’ experience working in international NGOs and has a background working in advocacy, protecting and supporting the rights of some of the most vulnerable members of society.


ALEXANDRA CHEN: Child Protection and Mental Health Specialist

Alexandra Chen is a child protection and mental health specialist from Hong Kong working with refugees in conflict and post-conflict zones. She graduated from Harvard University and has worked as an advisor to UN agencies on the Syria Crisis. Currently, Alexandra is studying the impact of refugee trauma on children's brain architecture and cognitive functioning.  Alexandra speaks 10 languages, including Chinese, Arabic, and French.


RANA DAJANI: Founder, We Love Reading and Associate Professor - Hashemite University

Rana Dajani, Ph.D. has served as Harvard Radcliff fellow, Fulbrighter, Eisenhower fellow, Associate Professor at Hashemite University, and as a Yale and Cambridge visiting professor. Dr. Rana is an advocate for education, science, and women in the Middle East. She is a higher education reform expert and is the architect of the We Love Reading programme focused on child literacy in Jordan. The program has received extensive awards for achievement.

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GHUFRAN ABU DAYYEH: Project Coordinator - We Love Reading

Ghufran Abu Dayyeh is a project coordinator for the We Love Reading  program. She was a research assistant at Yale University during a research on mental health and psychosocial interventions for children and adolescents in areas affected by armed conflict, in particular Syria, which was later implemented by Mercy Corps’ psychosocial support programs.

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MICHELLE ENGELS: Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Coordinator - International Medical Corps Jordan

Michelle Engels is a clinical psychologist with over ten years of experience in the provision of mental health in private practice, government, and INGO sectors. Michelle holds a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology and currently works in Jordan with International Medical Corps, as an MHPSS Coordinator.


MAYSAA HAMADI: Capacity Development Advisor - Mercy Corps

Maysaa Hammady, is a capacity development specialist with 10 years of professional experience focused on designing, implementation and monitoring of targeted training programs including organizational capacity building, livelihoods training, value chain development, and social inclusion. She is currently with Mercy Corps as the Capacity Development Advisor.


ABDULLAH HIJAZI: Project Coordinator Adventure Specialist - Mercy Corps

Abdullah has ten years’ experience in guiding, hiking, nature education, climbing as well as dealing with vulnerable youth through outdoor sports. Currently he is working in psychosocial support youth programs as the Project Coordinator Adventure Specialist with Mercy Corps. Hijazi supports vulnerable, at high-risk youth through coordinating and delivering adventure programs for Jordanian and Syrian youth in host communities.

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MARTIN FERNANDO JAKOBSEN: Founder & CEO - Turning Tables

Martin has been CEO of Turning Tables since he founded it in 2009, establishing permanent music and film production hubs and organizing festivals to empower and give voice to marginalized youth in Lebanon, Haiti, Jordan, Syria, Tunisia, Sudan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Sweden & Denmark. Martin has a background as a professional DJ and producer with ‘Den Sorte Skole’ for more than a decade and holds a Master in Political Science from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

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SU'AD JARBAWI: Middle East Regional Director - Mercy Corps

Su’ad Jarbawi is currently Mercy Corps’ Regional Director for the Middle East after serving as Country Director for Mercy Corps in Iraq. Originally from Ramallah, Su'ad has spent over 15 years in the field managing humanitarian relief and development programs in complex crisis around the world. Jarbawi has an MA in International Affairs from Columbia University and a BA in Political Science from Earlham College.


ALY JETHA: CoFounder and CEO - Big Bad Boo Studios

Aly Jetha is the cofounder and CEO of Big Bad Boo Studios, a children’s edutainment company that leverages entertainment as an educational tool. Big Bad Boo currently partners with UNICEF in 10 countries to provide over 250,000 refugee children with Psychosocial Support and Life Skills using its animated cartoon series and curriculum, 1001 Nights. 


HER EXCELLENCY HALA BSAISU LATTOUF: Minister of Social Development, Jordan

Ms. Lattouf has over 20 years of experience in development and public sector work. Ms. Lattouf has experienced working for organisations such as UNDP and World Bank, but also experienced working throughout the region during her position as Executive Director for World Link Arab Region. Currently, Ms. Lattouf is the Minister of Social Development and chairs the National Aid Fund.


ZEUDI LIEW: Technical Advisor - War Child UK

Zeudi Liew has eight years of work experience within the humanitarian field, particularly focused on child protection in emergency. Recently, Liew has been deployed in several countries with ongoing conflict, including Iraq, Turkey, and Syria. Currently, Liew is a technical advisor at War Child UK.



Clinical Psychologist/Researcher - War Child Holland

Dr. Miller has worked with refugees and war-affected populations since 1991 as a researcher, clinician, consultant, and filmmaker. Currently, Dr. Miller works as researcher at War Child Holland, developing and evaluating mental health and psychosocial interventions for conflict-affected children and families. His most recent book is War Torn: Stories of Courage, Love, and Resilience. 

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SARAH PALMER-FELGATE: Partnerships Manager - Elrha's Research, R2HC

Sarah Palmer-Felgate is the Partnerships Manager for Elrha’s Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) program. Sarah has a background in social development, and prior to joining Elrha worked for the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and alongside youth and adolescent girls as a researcher with Sport for Development and Peace initiatives.

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CATHERINE PANTER-BRICK: Professor of Anthropology, Health, and Global Affairs - Yale University

Catherine Panter-Brick, MA, MSc, D.Phil, is a medical anthropologist. Currently she holds a joint appointment in the Dept. of Anthropology and the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, and the School of Public Health at Yale. Her research focuses on youth in global adversity, including armed conflict, poverty, and social marginalization. She has directed over 40 interdisciplinary research and evaluation projects across 10 countries. She leads the Early Childhood Peacebuilding Consortium to disseminate scientific research and advocate for better policies on violence prevention.


ANNA PATTERSON: Research and Evaluation Consultant   

Anna Paterson is a qualitative researcher with a background in political science. She has worked for 15 years in research for development. As a consultant, she has worked on several evaluations and programmes aimed at generating evidence to improve development policy and practice for DFID, IDRC and Sida. She has also continued to work on conflict and peacebuilding research and evaluation.

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SALAH SEDEEQ: Country Director, Iraq Program - Heartland Alliance International

Salah Sedeeq Saeed Barzngy is a child protection expert and sociologist. Currently, Barzngy is the country director for Heartland Alliance International for the Iraq program. In addition, he is a PhD candidate with Leiden University to study the impact of armed groups and ISIS in child recruitment in Iraq, since the beginning of the liberation of Mosul from ISIS.

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NOURA SHAHED: Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning Advisor - Mercy Corps

Noura Shahed holds a Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Lancaster University and has worked for several international NGOs, such as CARE and Mercy Corps, in the past five years. Currently Shahed is Mercy Corps’ Youth Program Monitoring and Evaluation focal point. In addition, she is leading on research opportunities around topics such as identifying youth vulnerabilities.


DR. YOUSEF SHAHIN: Chief Disease Prevention & Control, UNRWA

Dr. Shahin is a medical Doctor with more than 24 years’ experience and is currently managing the non-communicable disease program in UNRWA. Yousef has worked with the World Health Organization and holds a Master's degree in Public Health, majoring in Epidemiology and Occupational Health.

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INGRID SHERIDAN:  Programme Funding Coordinator - War Child UK


Event Steering Committee

Ingrid Sheridan is the Programme Funding Coordinator for War Child’s Asia and Middle East operations. Before joining War Child, Ingrid worked for Amnesty International Australia, Save the Children and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Ingrid has worked in the humanitarian sector for the past four years and has a special interest in Middle Eastern affairs, human rights and child advocacy.


ANDRIA SPYRIDOU: Mental Health and Psychosocial Coordinator - International Medical Corps

Andria Spyridou holds a Doctorate of Natural Science in Clinical Psychology and is a researcher with a strong interest in psychological trauma and psychosocial factors of the maternal experiences and early childhood. Currently, Spyridou works as International Medical Corps’ mental health and psychosocial coordinator supporting refugees in Syria.

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AMIE WELLS: Middle East Regional Adolescents and Youth Advisor - Mercy Corps

Event Steering Committee

Amie Wells has spent over decade working in international development, with a focus on youth. Currently she serves as Mercy Corps’ Middle East Regional Adolescents and Youth Advisor. Prior to this Amie was the youth sector lead in Iraq after her time as director of a multi-country youth and sports initiative in Pakistan and Iraq. Amie has launched and supported programs in over 15 countries globally.

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CLAIRE WHITNEY: Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Technical Advisor - International Medical Corps


Event Steering Committee

Claire Whitney is a licensed clinical social worker with over 8 years of experience supporting mental health and psychosocial support programs in humanitarian contexts. As Regional Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Advisor for International Medical Corps' Middle East programs, she provides technical support and programmatic guidance for all programs pertaining to the Syria and Iraq crises, as well as Gaza. Claire holds both Master of Science in Social Work and Master of International Affairs degrees from Columbia University.

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LYDIA WILSON: Research Fellow - University of Oxford

Lydia Wilson is a Research Fellow at the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, University of Oxford, a Senior Fellow and Field Director at Artis International, and holds affiliated research positions at the University of Cambridge and City University New York. Her current research in the Middle East explores motivations and pathways to violence.


AITOR ZABALGOGEAKOA: Head for Operations Middle East - Medecins Sans Frontieres

Aitor Zabalgogeazkoa has over 25 years’ experience with emergency response.  Zabalgogeazkoa is currently acting as a Head for Operations in Middle East for Medecins Sans Frontieres Spain and head of the Centre for Advancement of Humanitarian Medicine, which is based in Amman.


ALAA ZAGHOUL: Project Manager - We Love Reading

Alaa Zaghoul is a project manager in charge of refugees’ camps projects and international relations at Taghyeer organization/ We Love Reading initiative. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Jordan, 2014. She has worked in the private and the public sector before working with NGOs. Her volunteer work focuses on health, science and literacy activities through the “phi science institute”. She is currently pursuing her Ph.d in Neuroscience.

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DAVIDE ZIVERI: MHPSS Coordinator - Handicap International, Syria Mission

Davide Ziveri holds PhD in Social Psychology and has a special interest in nonviolence and human rights. Davide developed experience in psychosocial support for victims of political violence; Davide worked in support to communities in Occupied Palestinian Territories, to victims of mafia in Italy with Libera network, and to asylum seekers in Belgium with the Red Cross. Davide is currently MHPSS coordinator with Handicap International – Syria mission. 

Thank you to all the speakers who participated in positive pathways!