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        Proposal for a special interest group in approaches to conflict, trauma and disasters
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        Proposal for a special interest group in approaches to conflict, trauma and disasters
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Procedure for establishing a special interest group:

  1. (1) Any member wishing to establish a special interest group shall write to the Registrar with relevant details.

  2. (2) The Registrar shall forward the application to Council.

  3. (3) If Council approves the principle of establishing such a special interest group, then it will direct the Registrar to place a notice in the Bulletin, or its equivalent, asking members of the College to write in support of such a group and expressing willingness to participate in its activities.

  4. (4) If at least 120 members reply to this notice within 4 months of publication, then Council shall formally approve the establishment of the special interest group.

In accordance with this procedure, Council has approved a proposal for the establishment of a special interest group in approaches to conflict, trauma and disasters.

Background to the proposal from Dr Nathaniel Minton:

The proposal for the group was initially suggested to me by Professor Driss Moussaoui, Casablanca, Chair of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) Ethical Committee, whom I first met at the International Congress of the World Association for Social Psychiatry (WASP) in Agra in 2001. I had been asked by the President of WASP, Professor S. Sharma, to organise a session on conflict resolution there on the strength of my paper on that subject (please see my updated paper; Journal of the World Association for Dynamic Psychiatry, January 2004, 204/205, 89-98). Since then I have organised two successful conferences on conflict resolution, one in Malta in 2003 and the first in Cobham, Surrey, in May 2002. I am currently organising a third conference with the Andrew Sims Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry in July 2005. This is being co-sponsored by the WPA and the World Health Organization and is supported by the College.

A College special interest group on approaches to conflict, trauma and disaster would be best served by a combination of the perspectives of social psychiatry and psychotherapy. In previous conferences, experts from opposing sides of international conflict have come together in friendly dialogue; this will hopefully be repeated in July 2005 at the London conference, a highlight of which will be a symposium on The Contribution of Psychotherapy to Peace, with reference to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and with eminent speakers from the two sides. Professor Hamid Ghodse, Chair of the College Board of International Affairs, will also chair a plenary session at the conference. Dr George Ikkos, Chair of the College London Division, is on the conference organising committee and will be an active participant.

The aim of the special interest group would be to try to promote the discussion and development of approaches to conflict, trauma and disasters, through the auspices of the College. I would be happy to act as a group facilitator, as I have developed an interest in the field of conflict resolution over the last 4 years and an appreciation of the difficulties and opportunities that it affords. If established the special interest group could lobby international bodies, and work with charities and welfare economists in the field.

The idea of a special interest group on conflict resolution is strongly supported by Professors Roy McClelland, Belfast, and John Cox, who is now the Secretary General of WPA. Both professors were key contributors to the Cobham and Malta conferences. The President of WPA, Professor Ahmed Okasha, Cairo, who wholeheartedly supports the next conference, is particularly interested in conflict resolution, and at the Malta meeting he set up a WPA task force because of the WPA's grave concern over the escalating violence in the Middle East.

Members are invited to write in support of this group and express willingness to participate in its activities. Interested members should write to the Registrar care of Miss Sue Duncan at the College. If 120 members reply to this notice within 4 months of publication, then Council shall formally approve the establishment of this special interest group.