Dr. Judy 24/7

WPA 2017 Disaster Section report from Judy Kuriansky, North American Chair

WPA Report from North American Chair

by: Dr Judy Kuriansky

Submitted to José Thome

The WPA North American Chair Dr. Judy Kuriansky continues to be very active in the field of Disaster on behalf of the team, and also at the UN headquarters in New York on the topic of Mental Health and Well-being which intersects with disaster and resilience.  The following is an overview of activities in related commissions, committees, conferences and other roles, settings and partnerships. I am honored to represent the team for WPA, to make a difference for psychotherapy in the global agenda.

 Leadership in the Psychology Coalition at the UN 

The rep continues to be very active in the Psychology Coalition of NGOs accredited at the UN. Judy Kuriansky chaired the board for two terms, with related activities regarding disaster. 

 PCUN is currently conducting a continuation of the Advocacy Awareness campaign, the first phase of which was led by Kuriansky, and led to the successful inclusion of “mental health and well-being” in the new UN 2030 Agenda outlining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Emails have been sent to main representatives of the PCUN organizational members, and other psychology organizations, about the campaign that aims to communicate about the SDGs and invite engagement in their implementation (see Appendix A). 

 A one-sheet was prepared to assist organizations in joining PCUN and gain ECOSOC status at the UN. (for excerpts, see Appendix B).

 Advocacy at the UN and Next steps in the Agenda 2030 process

 The focus of the rep for WPA Kuriansky over the past few years has been advocacy about psychosocial recovery in disaster recovery and risk reduction and prevention related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which is the global agenda of the UN for the next 15 years (2015-2030) replacing the Millennium Development Goals. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and associated 169 targets were formally approved by the UN General Assembly in September 2015.  Advocacy efforts were focused on the inclusion in the agenda of issues related to applied psychology, e.g., promote mental health and well-being (MHWB), and psychosocial recovery. Over the two-year intensive process of meetings of the 193 government member states at UN NYC headquarters (e.g., during the Open Working Group and the Intergovernmental Negotiations), during which civil society was allowed to observe and advocate in side meetings, Judy Kuriansky led an intensive and extensive successful effort for the inclusion of mental health and well-being (now in Goal #3, target 3.4 and the introduction and vision), in partnership with the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Palau to the UN, Ambassador Caleb Otto, who is a public health physician.  The extensive campaign, consisted of position papers, videos, establishment of a “Friends of Mental Health and Well-being Group,” and meetings with 80 delegates (see Appendix C).

 A meeting of the “Friends of Mental Health and Well-being” during the negotiations for the Sustainable Development Goals.

With the SDGs adopted, the current focus in now on two issues:  indicators for the goals, and implementation. 

The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) was held in New York from 10-21 July.  The theme of the meeting is “ No One Left Behind” – which is a recurrent theme of the new agenda.

Psychology Days at the UN

The UN rep continues to participate actively in planning the annual Psychology Day at the UN. This is an annual event sponsored by psychology organizations that have Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status accredited by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and/or are affiliated with the UN Department of Public Information (DPI). The event offers UN staff, ambassadors and diplomats, NGO representatives, members of the private and public sectors, students, invited experts, guests, media and other stakeholders, the opportunity to learn how psychological science and practice contributes to the United Nations agenda, as well as to exchange ideas and establish partnerships on global issues. 

The theme of the 10th annual conference was Promoting Well-being in the 21st Century: Psychological Contributions for Social, Economic, and Environmental Challenges 

held at United Nations Headquarters Conference Room 4 in New York, Thursday 20 April 2017.  The rep Dr. Kuriansky was recognized for her work in including MHWB in the Agenda.  

The theme of the 9th Annual Psychology Day at the United Nations on 28 April 2016 was “From Vulnerability to Resilience: Using Psychology to Address the Global Migration Crisis.” This topic was chosen because forced migration is an overwhelming crisis today on the international stage, both in scope and complexity, affecting every region of the world. Migration, in particular the forced migration of refugees fleeing conflict and economic deprivation, is a crosscutting issue relevant to the goals of the newly adopted UN agenda.

The 8th annual conference was held at UN NY headquarters on 30 April 2015 on “Reducing Health Inequalities Within and Among Countries: Psychological Contributions to the United Nations Post-2015 Global Agenda.  

Psychology Days were co-sponsored by the UN Missions of El Salvador and Palau, with remarks by H.E. Ambassador Rubén Ignacio Zamora, Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of El Salvador to the United Nations, and by H.E. Ambassador Dr. Caleb Otto, Permanent Representative of Palau to the United Nations. 

Meetings with UN Missions

An important aspect of the work of Kuriansky as a UN representative is to make connections and partnerships with high-level UN delegates and agencies and mission Ambassadors and staff.

Recently, meetings were held with the Missions of India and of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas to the UN. An important partnership was made with the Mission of the Bahamas. This started with a meeting at the mission of the Commonwealth of Bahamas to the UN with the mission’s Craig Powell, organized by Judy Kuriansky. This led to participation of a Bahamian counselor as a panelist in the mission-sponsored side event on “Gender-based Violence in the Caribbean: A Cause for Concern and Time for Action.”

The following were important events Dr Kuriansky co-organized:

* “Mental Health and Wellbeing at the Heart of the SDGs: Concrete Means of Implementation” on Sept 7, with the mission of Canada

* “Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing for Youth: A strategy for Social Integration and Poverty Eradication” (a side event during the UN Commission for Social Development) on February 7 with the mission of Belgium

* “Artificial Intelligence and Technology Tools for Mental Health, Well-being and Resilience: Bridging the treatment gap.”  on April 7 at UN Science, Technology and innovation Forum sponsored by the Mission of Iraq

* moderator: How Anti-Bullying will Impact the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, side event:  May 31.  Church Center sponsored by NGOCSD-NY and the Mission of Mexico

* moderator: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development”  May 22, ECOSOC Chamber., sponsored b the Missions of Jamaica and of Ethiopia  

Meeting of the World Bank/World Health Organization

Dr. Kuriansky was invited to an historic two-day conference held in April 2016, in Washington D.C., sponsored by the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), on “Out of the Shadows:  Making Mental Health a Global Priority.”  Kuriansky was invited to be on a panel about “Engaging Communities, Engaging Governments: Taking Action for Mental Health,” and presented about the successful partnership between Psychology NGOs and governments to include MHWB in the agenda.  The meeting aimed to move mental health from the margins to the mainstream of the global development agenda. Attendees included civil society groups, NGOs, government representatives, foundation leaders, technology innovators, and other stakeholders, emphasizing the urgency of investment in mental health services. It is an extremely important event, given its high profile.

Mental Health and the UN Human Rights Council

On 1 July 2016, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a Resolution on Mental Health and Human Rights, led by Portugal and Brazil and cosponsored by 61 countries, with more countries still joining.

The resolution highlights:

 (i) that “persons with mental health conditions or psychosocial disabilities, in particular persons using mental health services, may be subject to, inter alia, widespread discrimination, stigma, prejudice, violence, social exclusion and segregation, unlawful or arbitrary institutionalization, over-medicalization and treatment practices that fail to respect their autonomy, will and preferences” and

 (ii)  “the need for States to take active steps to fully integrate a human rights perspective into mental health and community services, particularly with a view to eliminating all forms of violence and discrimination within that context, and to promote the right of everyone to full inclusion and effective participation in society” 

This resolution provides additional impetus to address human rights in mental health and also signals a commitment by countries to achieve this. It builds on the “Quality Rights” campaign launched several years ago, attended by Kuriansky. 

Participation in UN Commissions 

Dr. Kuriansky continues to contribute significantly to advocacy statements written and distributed at important UN Commissions, e.g., the Commission on Social Development (CSocD) and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), as well as at the International Day of the Cultures of Peace and to the UN General Assembly High-level Meeting on “Disability and Development,” and other meetings. ECOSOC-accredited NGOs co-sponsor side events during these UN Commissions and submit statements to coincide with the themes (see Appendix D).

Parallel event at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women: “Women’s Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Post-2015 Agenda” was held as part of the two-weeklong annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), and drew a packed room.  Called Beijing+20 in honor of its 20th anniversary since gathering in Beijing, China in 1994, the CSW sessions discuss progress towards achieving gender equality, women’s empowerment, and women’s rights like freedom from violence, participation in land ownership and equal pay for equal work. The parallel event, organized by Judy Kuriansky was a unique mixture of panelists with professorial perspectives and performances from diverse cultures. Judy Kuriansky presented on the importance of considering males.  Since CSW often emphasizes the importance of involving young women, the event opened and closed with teenagers singing, including 16-year-old Sheimyrah Mighty of Jamaican-Haitian heritage, who performed the anthem “Every Woman, Every Child” co-written by Kuriansky, supporting the theme of the UN Secretary General’s campaign of the same name. Noted Japanese operatic soprano and international recording artist Tomoko Shibata sang a Japanese version of an original song, “Towers of Light,” co-written by Kuriansky, to honor the victims of New York’s 9’11 and Japan’s 3/11 tsunami/earthquake, given the  4th anniversary of that event.  Shibata spoken of the need to honor values of the older generation of women while being more open in self-expression as younger Japanese girls. A powerful original dance by two young medical students, Indian-born Shilpa Darivemula and Rohini Rau-Murty, dramatized their interpretation of women healing within to integrate her self and feel empowered. A duo of Chinese-born virtuoso musical artists, Feifei Yang and Jiaju of F J Music Fusion, played ancient Chinese instruments in their original composition of “Rose: Women’s Strength and Empowerment from Early Days to Beijing+2 to Beyond 2015.” In the spirit of CSW, the participants pledged partnerships to advance women’s rights, empowerment, mental health and wellbeing.

Side event at the Commission on Social Development: “The Impact of Climate Change on Children's Health & Well Being” was held in UN Conference Room B.


Participation in Major UN-Related Conferences

The World Humanitarian Summit

The World Humanitarian Summit was held in Turkey in May 2016. Kuriansky contributed commentary and edits to the health sector, and wrote a commentary on the theme “No Health without Mental Health.” It was published by E-International Relations on May 10, 2016, accessible at: http://www.e-ir.info/2016/05/19/i-am-african-i-am-not-a-virus/

The World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

Major advocacy about “psychosocial resilience” (as opposed to just referring to resilience as structural) was continued at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, held in Cancun in 2017.  A presentation was made on the Ignite Stage and also with the UN Major Group for Children and Youth.  The previous conference was held in Sendai, Japan in March 2015, to coincide with the 4th anniversary of the tragic tsunami/earthquake.  The goal of the WCDRR was to update the Hyogo Framework for Action for the years 2015-2025. During the four-day pre-conference of the Major Group on Children and Youth, Kuriansky was invited to make several presentations and workshops about Youth and Mental Health, and on “Recovering from Natural Disasters and Epidemics like Ebola,” and included youth Joel Zinsou; Father Wismick Jean-Charles who came from Haiti, and Yotam Polizer, Coordinator of IsraAID’s Aid & Development projects who was a panelist in the PCUN Ebola conference at the UN in December, and with whom Kuriansky co-developed resilience workshops during the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone.  

Additionally, a presentation was made by Kuriansky during the “Ignite Stage” (meant to stimulate new ideas) about the model programme promoting youth resilience using psychosocial techniques, music and art, implemented in Japan, Haiti and Africa. It included a performance by Japanese pop star Shinji Harada.

During the major sessions, a statement was made about the importance of psychosocial resilience (see: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4XDMMi_3LeCNi1fdHNoVk1HazA/view?usp=sharing) and collaboration about advocacy was effective with the mission of Palau by the Ambassador in Japan, Frances Matsutaro.

This conference led up to the World Conference on Climate Change held in Paris, France – highly promoted by the UN Secretary General -- where governments made a long-anticipated agreement about climate change.

The Department of Public Information/NGO conference 

Kuriansky continues to be involved in the activities of the Department of Public Information/NGO section, at weekly briefings and planning events, co-sponsoring and presenting at workshops at the annual DPI/NGO conferences. At the 65th UN DPI/NGO Conference held on "2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda,” Kuriansky contributed to the "zero draft" Conference Action Agenda produced by a working group.

In May 2016, Kuriansky co-organized and participated in the conference on the title of “Educating Global Citizens about Mental Health, Well-Being, Empowerment, and Resilience to Achieve Sustainable Development for All at All Ages.” Panelists discussed using psychology principles and practices (i.e., emotional well-being, empowerment, and consensus-building) in advocacy, formal/informal educational settings, and media campaigns to inform and motivate global citizens to make meaningful changes in their personal lives and communities, related to the SDGs.  The video about youth and mental health at the UN produced by Kuriansky was shown.

Co-sponsorship of International Conferences

Kuriansky was honored with an invitation by the Mission of the United Arab Emirates to participate in the Dialogue on Happiness in February and also the World Government Summit, held in Dubai.  Subsequently on March 20, she was invited to speak on the panel about the International Day of Happiness at the UN sponsored by the Mission of Iraq, with the Ambassador or Hungary and the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Former President of the General Assembly His Excellency,
Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.

The previous year Dr. Kuriansky produced a major spectacular day-long celebration of the International Day of Happiness, held at UN headquarters 20 March 2016. The event was sponsored by Ambassador Angelo Toriello of the Mission of São Tomé and Príncipe, co-sponsored by the missions of Palau and Vietnam to the UN, as a tribute to the Kingdom of Bhutan, that initiated the UN GA resolution for the International Day of Happiness. The event featured high-level speakers and performances of dance and music, including an original song “Happy People Happy Planet.” The event drew ambassadors, UN representatives, NGOs, and many civil society groups like the Lions Club, and celebrities, including James Bond 007 actor Daniel Craig.

Participation in the European Congress of Psychology

Kuriansky made several presentations at the recent European Congress of Psychology in Amsterdam, and also the previous year in Milan, Italy, in a symposium entitled “Implications of the successful advocacy of psychologists at the United Nations to influence the new Sustainable Development Goals.”

Other UN Events

The Women Ambassadors Luncheon was held 17 February 2016 at the Mission of Hungary to the UN, co-sponsored by CSW-NGO NY, to celebrate the leadership women ambassadors. An unprecedented number of women ambassadors were in attendance. Judy Kuriansky was on the committee, and personally invited many of the ambassadors. High-level UN delegates and civil society leaders were present.

Award Ceremony for the Sustainable Development Goals. Awards were given to celebrate the SDGs, honoring the leaders of the SDG process with awards, including co-chairs H.E. Macharia Kamau, Ambassador of the republic of Kenya to the UN, and H.E. David Donoghue, Ambassador of Ireland to the UN, as well as H.E. Ambassador Csaba Kőrösi who co-chaired the UN sessions, UN Assistant Secretary General Thomas Gass, the Secretariat Nikhil Seth, and Amina J.Mohammed, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development (now the Deputy Secretary-General).   

The Building Bridges Across Boundaries Awards. Kuriansky was also a co-organizer, with the United African Congress, Give Them A Hand Foundation and the Nusantara Foundation, of the event honoring Ambassadors and Missions that have contributed to building bridges across boundaries at the UN. Hosted by Kuriansky, it honored UN Ambassador Jean-Francis Zinsou of Benin, H.E. Ambassador Téte António of the African Union, Ambassador Anatolio Mba, Permanent Representative of Equatorial Guinea, and Ambassador Tekeda Alemu, Permanent Representative of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the United Nations.

Youth and Mental Health

The video “Youth and Mental Health: Youth and UN Ambassadors Speak Out” produced by Judy Kuriansky and has had several showings at UN meetings. These include at the DPI/NGO conference in this report and at the forum on “Education as an Imperative,” convened by the First Ladies Forum and sponsored by the Ambassador of Grenada to the UN.  H.E. Ambassador Lois Young, the Permanent Representative of Belize to the UN, who is featured in the video, introduced the video to the assemblage. There were many comments afterwards about the significance of the video and its messages.

Interfaith events

An event at The 4th annual World Interfaith Harmony Week was co-organized by Kuriansky on 4 February 2016, held in the ECOSOC chamber of the United Nations, with the United African Congress and Give Them a Hand Foundation with partners Nusantara Foundation, and Buddha’s Light International Association. The event was jointly sponsored by three United Nations member states: the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Jamaica.  The theme, Building bridges Across Boundaries, was conceived by the organizers to underscore three pillars, namely, the pursuit of interfaith harmony to achieve a lasting peace, and its interconnectedness to the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, as well as to the achievement of global health and recovery from emergencies such as the Ebola pandemic. The keynote speaker was H.E. Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. Thomas Gass. Leaders from the Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, and Buddhist faiths made presentations, and participated in a panel discussion with audience questions.

Response to the Ebola Epidemic

In response to the Ebola Epidemic, Kuriansky as PCUN Chair convened an Ebola Task Force. Two events took place at the United Nations.

 (1) An educational conference organized by the UN/ECOSOC-accredited NGO, Voices of African Mothers, on “Ebola, Facts Myths and Reality.” Judy Kuriansky spoke about the psychosocial challenges of the epidemic.

(2) Eradicating the Ebola Epidemic:  Psychosocial Contributions to Combat Stigma, Promote Well-being, Mental Health and Resilience: Policies and Practices to Protect the Global Community.  The PCUN Task Force on Ebola sponsored a side event at the UN, sponsored by the Mission of Liberia to the UN, and co-sponsored by the Missions of the United States, Guinea and Uganda.  Speakers were from those missions as well as the Netherlands and Nigeria, and representatives from WHO, UNICEF, the NGO Committee on Health, an NGO on the ground in Sierra Leone, IsraAid. Kuriansky gave summary conclusions.

The forum was a huge success, bringing together UN mission delegates and representatives from UN-agencies and NGOs related to psychological science and practice, and that all participants noted the high relevance of psychosocial issues in this epidemic and said that the issue needs to be further explored and highlighted.  

Mission of Psychosocial Support in Sierra Leone. As one immediate outcome of the PCUN Ebola forum, Kuriansky went to Sierra Leone during the epidemic to collaborate in psychosocial support in cooperation with IsraAid, a humanitarian NGO based in Israel that offers psychosocial support worldwide, including in Japan, the Philippines, Nepal, and prevention of gender-based violence in Haiti and Sudan; and to attend the Mental Health Conference on the theme “Build Back Better.” Kuriansky co-developed a manual for trainings for resilience and empowerment for caretakers to work with children in the Ebola Context, and edited the just-released anthology, “The Psychosocial Aspects of a Deadly Epidemic: What Ebola has Taught Us About Holistic Healing,” that includes contributions from government officials, psychosocial experts and other stakeholders on the ground and in the diaspora.

Other international activities

Kuriansky initiated a hugely successful course at Columbia University Teachers College for the first time on “Psychology and the United Nations” held in the Spring 2017. 

Cooperation with Russia. Kuriansky presented at the conference in Moscow on “Mental Health and Wellbeing in the new Global Agenda, at the United Nations” at the Congress on Mental Health: Meeting the Needs of the XXI Century. Articles have been published in Russian books about trainings in psychotherapy principles and practice conducted in Siberia. (see: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4XDMMi_3LeCT19DcFZJbzExYWs/edit?usp=sharing, http://www.supervis.ru/content/2094087304-dzhudit-kurianski-semi-i-pary-v-hhi-veke-problemy-i-ih-resheniya-dlya-rosii-i, and http://www.supervis.ru/content/528050961-semya-v-hhi-veke-sbornik-materialov-mezhdunarodnogo-ekspertnogo-simpoziuma-28.


Kuriansky also co-edited a book,“Ecopsychology: The Intersection between Psychology and Environmental Protection” co-edited by Kuriansky. See: www.abc-clio.com/ABC-CLIOCorporate/product.aspx?pc=A4328C.  Examples of the chapters related to the UN are in Appendix I.

Presentations at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Cancun Mexico, May 22-26, 2917

* Presentation at the Ignite Stage: Title: Global Youth Resilience Programme, focus on Haiti. Dr. Judy Kuriansky and Alexandra Margevich, May 24

* Workshop for the Major Group for Children and Youth: Techniques to aid Youth resilience from natural disaster. May 25 

Panelist at many United Nations events about Mental Health and Well-being

They include: 

* “Mental Health and Wellbeing at the Heart of the SDGs: Concrete Means of Implementation,” September 7, 2016

* “Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing for Youth: A strategy for Social Integration and Poverty Eradication” (a side event during the UN Commission for Social Development) February 7, 2017

* “Artificial Intelligence and Technology Tools for Mental Health, Well-being and Resilience: Bridging the treatment gap.”

How Anti-Bullying will Impact the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda

*World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development” May 22, ECOSOC Chamber.   

* “The 3 E’s for SDG 5 on Women’s Empowerment:  education, Entrepreneurship and Empowerment.”  Speech at side event about Advocacy during Commission on the Status of Women, African Union, March 21, 2017

* Panelist, World Health Day 2017, “Depression: Let’s Talk”  Title:  Youth and Depression:  Youth testimonials, Government Action and Psychological Healing”  April 7, UN Trusteeship Council Chamber

Three presentations and a poster at the European Congress of Psychology, Amsterdam, Netherlands, July 11-14, 2017

* Presentation: Mental health and Wellbeing: Advances at the United Nations and in Civil Society Initiatives, Importance and Impact for Psychologists in Europe and Worldwide,  

Judy Kuriansky, IAAP Representative to the United Nations, New York, USA; Columbia University Teachers College, New

* Poster, Providing Psychosocial Support in a Culture Doubly Devastated by Natural Disaster: The Case of Haiti. Alexandra Margevich, International Association of Applied Psychology, New York, NY, USA; Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, USA, & Dr. Judy Kuriansky.  Wednesday July 12, 12:45-2:45

* Presentation. Psychotherapy and psychosocial support interventions with refugees Chair: Jessica Lambert, California State University, Turlock, USA: Trauma-focused therapy for refugees with PTSD & depression: An overview of the research, Jessica Lambert, California State University, Turlock, USA 

Presentation: Psychosocial Intervention during a Medical Mission for Syrian Refugee Children in Jordan: Experiences and Lessons Learned and Importance for the People, Psychology Professionals and the International Community

Judy Kuriansky, IAAP Representative to the United Nations, New York, Friday 11:15 - 12:45 PS22

* Presentation at symposium. Call to Action for Psychologists in Achieving Mental Health and Well-being in the Global Agenda

Judy Kuriansky, IAAP Representative to the United Nations, New York, USA; Columbia University Teachers College, New York, Friday, July 14, 1:45-3:15


Three presentations and a poster at the World Congress of Psychotherapy, Paris, France, July 24-28, 2017

*Plenary Presentation at Pre-Congress Plenary.  Peace, Empathy and Psychotherapy Mental Health and Well-Being, Advances at the United Nations and Events Impacting Psychotherapy.  July 24, 2017 

* Poster:  Title: Providing Psychosocial Support in a Culture Doubly Devastated by Natural Disaster: The Case of Haiti. Authors: Alexandra K. Margevich, Dr. Judy Kuriansky, Father Wismick Jean-Charles, Russell Daisey

* Presentation. Recovery and Resilience from Trauma: the Case of Haiti and other Natural Disasters, Friday July 28,2017

* Presentation:  From Ecstasy to Embracing the World: How Tantric Sex Connects to Achieving the United Nations Agenda, Friday July 28,2017


Three presentations and a poster about trauma recovery and resilience at the American Psychological Association meeting, Washington D.C. August 2-6, 2017

* Facilitator, Town Hall on Social Justice, Division 17, Thursday 3, 2017

* Presentation at panel:  Resiliency Workshops can Help people start over after environmental Trauma.  organizer: Dr. Darlyne Nemeth. Dr Judy Kuriansky topic: Working with children, Post-environmental Trauma, August 3, 2017

*Poster Title: Providing Psychosocial Support in a Culture Doubly Devastated by Natural Disaster: The Case of Haiti. Authors: Alexandra K. Margevich, Dr. Judy Kuriansky, Father Wismick Jean-Charles and Russell Daisey, August 3

* Presentation at panel on Human Strengths and Resilience: Cross Cultural and International Perspectives. Kuriansky Title: Resilience in International Interventions: Techniques/Outcomes in Train-the-Trainer Projects, Sunday, August 6


Two workshops at the Caribbean Well-being Conference, August 7-8, 2017, Phillipsburg, St. Maarten

*Title:  Resilience and empowerment for youth:  Workshop to recover from trauma for the region and around the world. Dr. Judy Kuriansky 


APPENDIX A                                                                                                                                               12 May 2016

 Subject: Psychology Coalition of NGOs Accredited at the United Nations (PCUN) UN Agenda 2030 Campaign

Dear Colleague:

We are writing to you from the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on behalf of the Psychology Coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) accredited at the United Nations (PCUN).  As you are aware, the organizational members of the Coalition collaborate in the application of psychological principles, science and practice to issues on the agenda of the United Nations (UN), thereby contributing to the promotion of human dignity, human rights, decent work, psychosocial well-being, resilience and positive mental health.

     Intergovernmental negotiations over the past two years at the UN culminated in a sustainable goals agenda entitled “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015. A link to the Agenda is provided below.  Since NPA is an affiliate organizational member of PCUN, we invite you to participate in the PCUN UN Agenda 2030 Campaign by disseminating the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda to your membership of all psychologists affiliated with NPA. In conducting this Campaign, PCUN has the following objectives:  That through your organization,

  1. Psychologists will become aware of the UN SDGs and undertake to integrate the framework and one or more of the goals and their related targets into their teaching, research, or practice; and that
  2. Some of your members will decide to become engaged with the implementation of the UN SDGs in at least one of the following ways:

A. Send us a list of references to their research publications listed under the name and number of the goal(s) as well as the number(s) of the target(s) to which their publications are directly relevant.   We are attempting to build a database of research publications on the SDGs which we can offer to governments, UN agencies, and other stakeholders, to use in developing recommendations for implementing, evaluating, or reviewing progress on the SDGs.

B. Let us know whether they are or would like to be engaged in the implementation of one or more of the SDGs in collaboration with a government agency and/or civil society groups at the country level.   If so, they should email us their (a) Name; (b) Position/Title; (c) Institutional Affiliation/Private Practice;  (d) Area of psychological/social science; (e) Country focus; (f) SDG(s) they are interested in helping to implement; and (g) Postal address and email address.  

     We request that your members’ responses to A and B above be emailed by June 15, 2016 and we will send them some recommended guidelines to assist in pursuing their objectives.

     We are pleased to share with you the following information:

 (1) Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (www.sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld);

(2) A summary of PCUN’s advocacy efforts that contributed to the UN SDGs (Attached);

(3) A recent publication, “Humanitarian Work Psychology and the Global Development Agenda:  Case Studies and Interventions.” edited by Drs. Ishbel McWha-Hermann, Douglas C. Maynard, and Mary O'Neill Berry, 2016. London:  Routledge. http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9781848723689;  and

(4) A publication edited by Judy Kuriansky (2016), “The Psychosocial Aspects of a Deadly Epidemic: What Ebola has Taught Us about Holistic Healing.”  Santa Barbara, CA:  ABC-CLIO/Greenwood (www.abc-clio.com/abc-cliocorporate/product.aspx).

(5) A II Volume by Kalayjian, A. & D. Eugene (2010). Mass Trauma & Emotional Healing around the World: Rituals and Practices for Resilience and Meaning-Making. Santa Barbara, CA:  ABC-CLIO/Greenwood.

(6) A Peace Psychology Book Series, Edited by Kalayjian, A. & Paloutzian, R. (2010). Forgiveness and Reconciliation. New York, NY: Springer Publishing.


We look forward to collaborating with your members and you in carrying out our PCUN UN 2030 SDG Campaign.



Psychology Coalition of NGOs accredited at the UN


The Psychology Coalition of NGOs accredited at the United Nations is composed of psychologists who represent Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) accredited at the United Nations (UN) and psychologists affiliated with United Nations departments, agencies and missions. Members of the Coalition collaborate in the application of psychological principles, science, and practice to global challenges of the UN agenda, including those outlined in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.  

The Coalition seeks to accomplish this overarching aim through advocacy, research, education and policy and program development guided by psychological knowledge and perspectives to promote human dignity, human rights, psychosocial well-being and positive mental health.



To Advocate with UN commissions and agencies, governments, and non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders that policies and programs to meet recurrent and emerging global challenges of the UN agenda can benefit from incorporating psychological principles, science, and practice, including the following: mental health, psychosocial well-being, psychological empowerment, social justice and human rights, conflict resolution and peace building, psychosocial recovery from disasters, environmental psychology, decent work, etc.

To Educate and collaborate with various constituencies at the UN about the contributions that psychological factors and behavioral changes addressed by psychologists can make to the UN Agenda and its implementation at the international regional and national levels.

To Inform the psychological community about the Coalition’s efforts to bring psychological principles, science and practice to bear on the agenda of the UN as well as to integrate global/international issues, standards, and outcomes into psychological science and practice.



 OVERVIEW:  Requirements for membership in the United Nations Economic and Social Council:

1)     The organization must demonstrate that its work and programmes are relevant to the work of the United Nations, including on populations and topics related to the Sustainable Development Goals (see:  https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld). Topics include: end  poverty; ensure gender equality, peaceful societies, education, and decent work for all; combat climate change; strengthen partnerships; and promote mental health and well-being (target 3.4); Populations include those who are vulnerable, disenfranchised, or at risk, due to gender, abilities, socio-economic status, race, or other factors, e.g., women, children, the disabled, the impoverished.  

2)     Proof it is (a) in operation for at least two years; (b) registered by the government authorities; (c) has a headquarters and a constitution; (d) is accountable and transparent; and (e) serves its constituents.

There are three categories of status: General, Special or Roster. We recommend you apply for General Status, which can be more flexible; although Special status can apply given special competence in one area. 


STEPS: These are described at: http://csonet.org/?menu=83

1)     Fill out a profile of the organization (see: http://esango.un.org/civilsociety/showNewProfile.do?method=addNewProfile&sessionCheck=false

2)     It will be reviewed and you will be notified that you can continue to fill out the application.

3)     Then, fill out an application, answering the questionnaire and submitting the support documents (e.g., proof of NGO status in your country, etc., as described above). Important: submit an annual report and financial statement (proving that funds come from members or from non-governmental sources)

4)     The application will be reviewed by the NGO committee (that meets 2x a year)


At any point in this process, if you have any questions, please contact us for assistance. Once you are accredited, we can help you through all the registrations for conferences, registering and listing representatives through the website system (since the process and the website can be confusing), getting UN grounds passes, and other matters.


APPENDIX C:  Elaboration of the Advocacy for the SDGs 

An intense focus of Kuriansky’s was on the new global agenda adopted by the 193 government member states of the UN for the years 2015-2030. The new Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development focuses on three pillars of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental. It promotes 5 P’s: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. The SDGs replace the Millennium Development Goals that guided the UN agenda during 2000-2015.

Judy Kuriansky led the advocacy campaign for including “mental health and wellbeing” in the new agenda. This campaign has been breakthrough and successful.  Awareness was raised such that mental health and wellbeing was supported verbally on the floor of the UN at the Open Working Group meetings where member states are determining the new agenda document.  Over 17 statements were made by countries representing all parts of the world, and including major groups -- CARICOM, SIDS (Small Island Developing States), the LDCs (Least Developed Countries), as well as troikas (e.g., made by Cyprus on behalf of Singapore and the U.A.E.) and individual member states from the EU, Asia and other regions (e.g., Slovenia, Malaysia, Romania, Greece, Jordan).  Discussions have been held with over 60 countries that expressed interest and support for mental health and wellbeing.   A “Friends of Mental Health and Wellbeing” group was formed, under the leadership of Ambassador Caleb Otto of Palau, who is a medical doctor.  Three “Friends” meetings were held, attended by delegates from all regions of the world, including Spain, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Greece, Cyprus, the Philippines, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Afghanistan, Angola, Benin and Burkina Faso, Timor-Leste, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Japan. These Friends helped shape the advocacy strategy, that resulted in the groundbreaking inclusion of “promote mental health and wellbeing” in the document. Kuriansky also participated actively with civil society groups, under the auspices of DESA, and the umbrella of the Stakeholder Forum, to form alliances with other civil society groups in formulating civil society’s response and input to the document.  Kuriansky was one of the selected presenters of recommendations to the co-chairs (Ambassadors of Hungary and Kenya) during the 11th meeting of the Open Working Group.   


APPENDIX D: Sample statement submitted to ECOSOC, related to UN Commissions

59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, 2015

Beijing+20: Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity




Primary Sponsor: Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues

Co-Sponsors: International Association of Applied Psychology, ATOP Meaningful World, International Council of Psychologists, International Union of Psychological Science, World Council of Psychotherapy and other Accredited NGO Members of the Psychology Coalition at the UN


The Psychology Coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations accredited at the United Nations (PCUN) welcomes the opportunity to join the 2015 commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, which resulted in the most progressive international commitments ever made on women’s human rights – the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.  Reviews on the implementation of the 12 critical areas of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action indicate that although significant achievements have been made, progress has been very uneven and significant inequalities between women and men and among diverse women and girls persist.

This statement by the Psychology Coalition contributes psychological perspectives to address significant gaps and challenges in three categories of the 12 critical areas:  (1) The diversity of women’s and girls’ experiences of gender inequality and discrimination, (2) the pandemic of violence against women and girls; and (3) the empowerment and resilience of women and girls.

I.          Mainstream the Diversity of Women’s/Girls’ Experiences of Gender Inequality and Discrimination

Inequalities at the intersection of multiple forms of gender discrimination continue to threaten the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by different social identity subgroups of women and girls.  Racial, ethnic, indigenous, rural, disabled, less educated women and girls, and older women experience continuing inequalities in education, training, and employment; access to physical and mental health care; and access to social and political participation.  Refugee and migrant women and girls and their families are especially vulnerable to social exclusion in countries of origin, transit and destination.  These inequalities affect the survival, safety, full development, and psychosocial wellbeing of women and girls.  Disparities between women and men, girls and boys, and among women and girls also have multigenerational and intergenerational psychosocial consequences that contribute to the persistence of poverty in families and communities.

Therefore, PCUN recommends that all Member States, UN agencies, NGOs, and civil society and humanitarian groups:

II.        Eradicate All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls

Violence against women/girls continues in all countries and sectors of society and includes: Domestic violence, rape in armed conflicts, sexual and labor exploitation in trafficking and abduction, genital mutilation/cutting, sexual harassment in work settings, media violence, and forced prostitution (WHO, 2012).  Although all women/girls are at risk, multiple, intersecting forms of discrimination can exacerbate the violence women experience (Manjoo, 2012; Ortoleva & Lewis (2012).


All forms of violence originate in structural and institutional inequalities between girls and boys, women and men, perpetuated through gender norms, stereotypes, and discriminatory attitudes and behaviors.   Gender-based violence has cumulative effects which increase the risk of subsequent violence and restrict girls’/women’s survival, physical and mental health, full development of their capacities, and sociocultural, political, and economic participation (White & Frabutt, 2005).

Therefore, PCUN recommends that all Member States, UN agencies, NGOs, and civil society and humanitarian groups:


III.       Promote the Psychosocial Empowerment and Resilience of Women/Girls


Psychosocial empowerment occurs when people are enabled to participate in decisions affecting them and to exercise some control over life choices (WHO, 2010).   Empowerment is essential to the sustainability of individual and societal progress.


Psychosocial empowerment develops in three stages (Zimmerman, 2000):  First psychological distress must be reduced and social and economic participation encouraged. Then, isolation must be reduced though developing social relationships and networks. Finally, women’s/girls’ rights to voice their opinions and participate in decision-making at all levels should be supported. Recognizing that women/girls have rights to ownership and participation in decisions is critical to their psychosocial empowerment. Their empowerment and resilience are protective factors to be nurtured as psychological buffers for avoiding and recovering from stressors.


PCUN recommends that all Member States, UN agencies, NGOs, and civil society and humanitarian groups:


  1. Provide access to productive employment and decent work
  2. Reduce the physical and mental burden of paid and unpaid work women/girls do by providing access to simple tools and technologies (such as solar ovens, pump wells, electricity, indoor plumbing, cell phones, and the Internet).


V.         Monitor and Evaluate Progress  

PCUN recommends that all Member States, UN agencies, NGOs, and civil society and humanitarian groups:


Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of approaches to achieve progress on each of the 12 critical areas of the Beijing Platform for Action so that data are available to assess programs for different ages, race/ethnicities, disability status, cultural origins, and geographic regions.       


Corann Okorodudu, EdD, PCUN Founding Past Chair, SPSSI, okorodudu@rowan.edu

Judy Kuriansky, PhD, PCUN Chair, Drjudyk@aol.com

Mary O’Neill Berry, PCUN Advocacy Committee, mberry@sirota.com











You are cordially invited to this Parallel Event at CSW59




Date: 9 March 2015         Time: 10:30 AM to 12:00 Noon

Venue: Armenian Convention Centre Auditorium

630 Second Avenue (at 35th Street) New York City


MODERATOR: Corann Okorodudu, EdD, UN/NGO Representative, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues

WELCOMING REMARKS: Representative, Mission of Armenia to the United Nations



Mom’s Mental Health Matters! Challenges of Pregnancy in India”

Padmini Murthy, M.D., MPH, Communications Secretary NGO CSW/NY and Alternate Representative to the UN, Medical Women’s International Association

“Emotional Challenges for Women Suffering from Fibroids: Personal Account and Professional

Initiative” Grace Charrier, UN/NGO Representative, International Association of Applied Psychology


“Mental Health Service Needs of Child Victims of Trafficking”

Yvonne Rafferty, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Women and Gender Studies, Pace University


“Consideration of the Role of Boys and Men in Promoting Beijing+20 and the Sustainable

Development Goals: A Case in Sierra Leone”

Judy Kuriansky, PhD, Chair, Psychology Coalition of NGOs accredited at the UN


“Forms of Violence Against Girls and Women and Factors Contributing to Wellbeing”  

Janet Sigal, PhD, UN/NGO Representative, American Psychological Association

& Florence Denmark, PhD, UN/NGO Representative, International Council of Psychologists &



Song: “Every Woman, Every Child” (theme of the UN Secretary-General’s Campaign, “Every Woman, Every Child”)

performance by Sheimyrah Mighty, Tomoko Shibata and Russell Daisey


Song: “I Will Always Love you” Artist: Whitney Houston, sung by Sophia Angelica


Music: “Rose: Women’s Strength and Empowerment From Early Days to Beijing+20 to 2015” performed by Feifei Yang and Jiaju Shen of FJ Music Fusion


Dance: “Mardhini: Women Healing From Within to Achieve Empowerment” performance by Shilpa D Darivemula and Rohini Rau-Murty, Medical Students, Albany Medical College






What Tiger Wood's Mother-in-Law's Health Crisis Reveals

Dr. Judy’s theory on Tiger Woods’ mother-in-law’s health crisis.

The facts: Tiger Woods’ mother-in-law was rushed to the hospital. This drama occurred just days after alleged paramours of her daughter’s famous pro golf husband went public with claims of sensationalized long and short-term sexual affairs, flings and fantasies, followed by Tiger’s own cover-up attempts and apology for his “transgressions.”

Question:  Is this a coincidence?

My theory: Tiger’s mother-in-law was exceptionally upset about the public expose, and physicalized her own emotional turmoil, such that her inner distress manifested in an outer health crisis.  Requiring hospitalization is further a sign of an inner voice saying: “someone please stop this or help”!  Barbo Holmberg’s own crisis reflects her daughter’s outburst and outrage, which was seemingly more outwardly expressed and maybe even physically acted out (i.e. did she swing  Tiger’s club in anger?).  Her daughter’s outward expression is even more reason for her mother to compensate by trying to maintain control in the headed household by holding her feelings in … until they had to explode (in physical symptoms).

This hypothesis is backed by the psychological theory that people who do not express emotion outwardly can SOMATIZE, which means that intense feelings are transformed into physical symptoms, like headaches, stomach pain (which Mrs. Holgren supposedly had), collapse (which she also did) and heart problems (that can be severe, even leading to a collapse or heart attack). Further, people in public office are more likely to repress emotions, and indeed, Elin’s mother held a local public office in her native Sweden. Specifically, she is a county governor (in Gävleborg), and until 2006 was a cabinet member in the Swedish government. Having had such a position, this is not a woman who wears her emotions on her sleeve, nor who has a son-in-law acting out sexual fantasies with myriad cocktail waitresses and porn stars, shaming her family, career and image. The family is prominent, further fueling their upset and shame over this expose. Elin’s father Thomas Nordegren is a well-known Swedish journalist who once worked as a foreign correspondent for Swedish National Radio in Washington, D.C.  – certainly a newspaper man would not want his family dirt splashed across the front pages of his very own media outlet -- NEWSPAPERS -- which is what has happened in Sweden.  

Further upsetting to the mother-in-law, with her cultural background and political career, is that the family’s public image of purity and propriety, as well as probably her dreams for her daughter’s “perfect” life (and her own), have now collapsed and come crashing down.  Even though Elin has been lauded as a folk hero for standing up to her man, the gossip is still not desirable given her “breeding.”

Likely fueling the mother’s stress are stories brewing in her hometown Swedish newspaper that her being overseas (to help her daughter through this marital crisis) is preventing her from dealing with a government-appointed job to deal with layoffs by Stockholm-based wireless company Ericsson.   

Another Swedish newspaper is quoting the Swedish-bred ex-wife of superstar singer Paul Anka, reportedly advising Woods’ wife: “Take the money and kick him in the butt. You don’t need him. He’s a pig. Get yourself another millionaire.”

But another paper is kinder: “Swedish hearts are full of pride over our own Elin, not a regular au pair but a daughter of a Social-Democratic minister and a national broadcast journalist, did not take any sh–. Exactly as a Swedish girl with a spine shall do, Elin is our hero.” (Note job listing as “au pair” --after all, she was a nanny to a Swedish golf pro), not the supermodel newspapers in America have labeled her).

What should a woman do? Women like Elin offered $5 million to stay with their cheating man for a year, and possibly $55 million for another two years, have a big monetary incentive to stand by their man! If the marriage was a mess already, they can continue concentrating on the children, and not seeing the traveling sports hubby anyway.

Anyway, the cat’s out of the bag.   

Of course she could gain money in a divorce. But some women with integrity might just leave regardless of the amounts. They just wouldn’t stand to live with the guy. For the vast majority of women not so lucky to get such massive pay-offs as Elin Nordgren, it is better for them to choose between leaving or making changes in the marriage – by both partners-- to make it work better for them.  

In the Complete Idiots Guide to A Healthy Relationship I address recovery from affairs, and prevention in terms of “affair-proofing” your marriage. The cheater has to get treatment to find out his reasons for straying, ego needs, impulse to indulgence, deeper insecurities, and methods for self-control to stop acting on his sexual urges (whether they are the signs of addiction or not). Cheaters have to prove they can be trustworthy, and rebuild their commitment. The cuckolded woman however, never fully forgets that she was cheated on, fears that she wasn’t sexy or desirable enough, and distrusts that he may do it again. To combat this, the man has to apologize continually, acknowledge how he hurt her, and prove himself over and over… it’s a long road that takes a lot of effort, you can see. 


Control Battles and How to Beat Them

Control battles are common – with one or the other partner buckling over who’s the boss! 

And the problems are not gender-free. In other words, it’s not always the man who always wears the pants in the family. 

Two celebrity couples demonstrate the dramas that can come from battles over control. First, an example of the woman rebelling against a controlling man: Katie Holmes, after initially marrying her dream man, Tom Cruise, is now apparently rebelling against his telling her what to do – from insisting that 3-year old daughter Suri be raised in Scientology instead of Catholicism as Katie wants, to even directing her about how to jog – wants her “space” from her domineering hubby. The small screen Dawson’s Creek-turned Broadway stage star is reportedly wanting to spend more time in NY than his preference for LA. 

From the opposite gender point of view, Brad Pitt is an example of the male rebelling against the Alpha Female. Heartthrob Pitt, who once seemed thrilled to follow in lover Angelina Jolie’s shadow through whirlwind worldwide travels, now is reportedly wanting his “space” -- staying in another wing of one of their mansions and recently disagreeing with her desire to take their brood of six abroad.

My advice: One exercise we marriage counselors often prescribe for couples in control battles is that they take turns being “boss,” with each having their way for a period of agreed-upon time, where the other goes along without protest. This exercise evens the battlefield and gets each used to leading as well as following. They may also need to accept the imbalance in who gets their way, recognizing that traits like being in control are hard to change. They also need to recognize that they chose their partner with that trait in the first place, for reasons that once were satisfying even if now annoying. On a deeper level, they need to confront whether the present-day domination or submission mirrors earlier childhood patterns that they once conceded but then rebelled against. Tracing the roots helps you accept that you chose a partner because of unconscious needs to repeat early experiences (even if you don’t like them).