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REF NO.: 93

SUBJECT: Kidnap survivor, bestselling author and humanitarian to speak at post-traumatic stress disorder conference

DATE: June 10

Amanda Lindhout will be a keynote speaker at an international conference on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at Memorial University from July 31-Aug. 2.

In 2008 Ms. Lindhout travelled to Somalia as a freelance journalist to research a story on the millions of people affected by two decades of war, drought and famine. Kidnapped by teenagers outside of the capital city, Mogadishu, she spent 460 days enduring unimaginable hardships as a hostage in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Following her release in November 2009, Ms. Lindhout became a passionate advocate for the people of Somalia. Four months after returning home, she founded the Global Enrichment Foundation (GEF) to ignite leadership in Somalia through education and economic initiatives that the GEF creates, funds and implements. Since the GEF’s inception, Ms. Lindhout has raised millions of dollars to support development and aid in the war-torn country. She captured international headlines again when she returned to Somalia to lead famine relief efforts in 2011.

In 2013 she released the New York Times bestseller A House in the Sky: A Memoir, in which she recounts her early life, travels as a young adult and hostage experience.

PTSD is receiving increasing attention in diverse organizations whose employees, clients or members are exposed to risk and threats to their physical, emotional, psychological or legal safety. Scholars and scientists are directing increasing attention to PTSD and developing innovative approaches to clinical practice for those suffering from it.

Organized by the SafetyNet Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Research, researchers from a variety of universities and disciplines and a range of community partners, the conference will bring together experts, stakeholders and members of the public with expertise and interest in issues related to the complex realities of PTSD.

With a focus on the history, epidemiology, causes, cultural reflections, personal and societal impacts, treatment and prevention of PTSD, the conference will feature distinguished keynote and plenary speakers, panels on key issues, workshops and poster sessions.

The academic keynote address will be given by Rachel Yehuda, director, Traumatic Stress Studies Division, Mount Sinai Hospital School of Medicine.

 Confirmed featured speakers:

  • Terri Aversa, health and safety officer, Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union
  • Roger Brown, recently retired assistant commissioner and commanding officer, RCMP, J Division
  • R. Nicholas Carleton, PhD, associate professor of psychology, University of Regina
  • Michael Clinchy, Department of Biology, Western University
  • Terry Copp, professor emeritus, Department of History, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • David Diamond, director, Center for Preclinical and Clinical Research on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Neuroscience Collaborative Program, University of South Florida
  • Col. Rakesh Jetly, senior psychiatrist, Canadian Armed Forces and mental health adviser to the surgeon general
  • Allan Young, professor, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University

 The conference is part of Memorial University’s WW100 Commemoration Program in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the First World War. For more information on WW100, please visit here.

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For more information on the conference, visit the conference website at www.ptsdconference.mun.ca or contact Dave Sorensen, manager (communications), Memorial University, at 864-2143 or sorensen@mun.ca.  

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