Dear members of the WACP,
Dear colleagues interested in Cultural Psychiatry,
This is the first of its kind: A newsletter of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry.
A lot happens within our community, we are thriving (1), and it is about time that we inform each other about what is going on. With this new initiative, a newsletter, we want to come closer to each other, and, to be better informed about our cherished field of cultural psychiatry.
We also want to increase our members, so please send this newsletter to at least one other colleague of yours who you think might be interested.
This is a pilot edition of our newsletter. It is a complete edition intended as a test/teaser, before publication really starts with our official first issue planned for January next year. We will ask our social media group to have a look at this newsletter and improve it if needed. Please feel free to send me any comment or any news you want to share with us or anything else you would like to add to this cultural psychiatric newsletter. Ideas are more than welcome (

Mario H Braakman, President WACP



Update website
Our website needs an update. We allocated funds to redesign our main website and we let you know the launch date a.s.a.p.

Transcultural psychiatry
After 32 years of active service as Editor-in-Chief of ‘our’ top-journal Transcultural Psychiatry, Laurence Kirmayer (till recently one of our board members) stepped down. He contributed immensely to ‘building the foundation for a culturally responsive psychiatry’. We are deeply grateful for his dedication. We wish his successor Dr. G. Eric Jarvis all the best in his new role.

Special Interest Groups (SIG’s)
We were happy that our past-president Roberto Lewis-Fernandez was willing tocoordinate and stimulate SIG-activities. SIG’s are our Special Interest Groups and we will introduce them to you in the next newsletters. We purchased a ZOOM- account in order to enable the SIG’s to organize webinars. In the recurring SIG-section of the newsletter you will find information, updates and plans for webinars etc. of our SIG’s.

Renato D. Alarcón
One of our prominent members and former WACP Officer and treasurer, Prof. Dr. Renato Alarcon, emeritus professor of Psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, will deliver
the prestigious Distinguished Psychiatrist Lecture by Presidential invitation during the next annual APA-meeting in New York, May 4-8, 2024.
There is much more to say but we don’t want to overload you with news in this pilot-issue.

International conference
We as WACP decided to introduce a new initiative: the International Conference. In between our large congresses, these are 3 years apart from each other, we thought it
would be a good idea to have an additional scientific gathering, smaller but as inspiring as the large congress.The first one was planned in Shanghai, China but very unfortunately, due to COVID, we had to cancel it. However, now we are heading towards the next international conference and it will be planned in the second part of 2024. It will happen in Paris, and the theme will be CULTURAL PSYCHIATRY & ART. Alberto Velasco and his SIG is very active in organizing this and he is planning online seminars in preparation for that event.
In our first official newsletter in January we will inform you about all the details. Please join us and also come to Paris for this very special conference. Alberto Velasco is cooperating with colleagues from two other organizations: GHU Paris psychiatry and neurosciences (GHU Paris) and France Latin America Coordination of Psychiatry (COFALP).



7th World Congress of Cultural Psychiatry
Our colleague and member of our Board of Directors, Dr Itsuo Asai (and his team) is very busy with the preparations of our next World Congress. We will pay much more attention to this big event in the near future. For now save the date: we will meet in Tokyo in the last week of September 2025. The Pacific Rim Psychiatrists ( will join us and we will organize the congress together.




Our Highlight: Iraqi Psychiatric Association

Each issue we focus on a special event, gathering, meeting or the like in our field. This time we asked our BoD-member Riyadh Al-Baldawi to comment on the 4th Iraqi Psychiatric Association International conference recently held in Baghdad, Iraq and supported by the WACP.

Here is my report on my participation at the 4th Iraqi Psychiatric Association International conference, representing the WAC, held in Baghdad – Iraq November 23rd to 24th of 2023.
I participated at the 4th Iraqi psychiatric Association International conference which was held in Baghdad – Iraq, November 23-24, 2023.
The WACP was actively involved in planning this conference. The WAC was one of the three international organizations participating at the conference, the other two being the Arab federation of Psychiatry and the Royal College Psch. UK.
The conference was held more than 15 years later than the previous conference. During these years Iraq as a country faced a huge number of challenges following the sectoral war, the war against ISIS and many more. The conference could now be organized due to the past four years of relative political stability in the country, which has had a positive effect on social aspects in general and the country’s medical situation in particular.



The conference was supported by the government and in particular the health ministry. The Minister of Health personally, Dr. Saleh Al Hasnaui (Psychiatrist), participated in the opening ceremony and gave a welcoming speech to all participants. All medical faculties at Iraqi universities from different parts of Iraq were actively represented at the conference. Many colleagues from the Kurdistan region were actively involved and participated at the conference. This was very positive and key in keeping the association between Iraqi psychiatrists.

The conference was held at one of the biggest hotels in Baghdad, more than 200 participants attended the conference in person and some of colleagues virtually. The conference offered a good opportunity for Iraqi colleagues from different generations to interact and share experiences of working within and outside the country, as well as to exchange clinical experiences and research with the guests from other countries such as the UK, Canada, USA, Italy, Sweden and Australia.
Iraq as a country has a huge heritage of different civilizations and cultures as well as different ethnicities and religions, which makes this country very interesting in our field of cultural Psychiatry.
I was impressed by how well this conference was organized and the positive warm collegial atmosphere that was created. The organizers did all necessary to make the participants feel comfortable and welcome.
At the conference I was involved personally as a member of the organizing committee and international speaker in different activities during the planning phase of the conference. Our WACP logo was presented on all official documents at the conference. I tried to make contact with many distinguished decision makers within the Iraqi association and the Iraqi Ministry of Health. I informed them about the aims of our organization and invited colleagues to be active in our organization. During my speech I invited the participants to our future events in particular our upcoming WACP world congress in Japan and invited some colleagues to participate at different WACP SIG groups.
In general, I was very happy to participate at this conference in my birthplace Baghdad which is recovering rapidly from tougher periods of war and destruction.
The health care system generally and the psychiatric medical care still has a huge number of challenges to face. It has come to my understanding that the stigma around psychiatric disability still is one of the big issues our colleagues in Iraq face when dealing with patients and their families. Many patients usually seek traditional healers and other questionable sources of aid before visiting a psychiatrist. The stigma is more common in peripheral colleagues from two other organizations: GHU Paris psychiatry and neurosciences (GHU Paris) in drug- and alcohol problems in the bigger cities. I also learnt that as a result of many years of war there is a huge need for specialist centers to treat people suffering from severe or chronic PTSD. Another major issue to be addressed is the rising numbers of cases of depression, anxiety, OCD and other psychiatric problems. There are many thousands of people still displaced from their villages and towns after the internal war and in need of help and support. The internal migration and forced displacement is still one of the big challenges the country has to deal with. There is a rising awareness regarding early detection of children with neuropsychiatric disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD etc. The country is still in need of more professional competence to cover these kinds of problem areas and situations presented above.
Despite the difficulties the country faces today I found that there is a strong will amongst colleagues working within public or private health care to better the situation. My hope is that political stability by itself will solve many of them.
I hope that we as an international organization can pay more of our attention to developing countries by supporting our colleagues, inviting them to our conferences and events and thereby exchanging knowledge and perhaps offering new ideas.
Finally, I was very happy to visit my birth country once again after so many years and meet with enthusiastic colleagues from all over the World, willing to deepen their relations with each other and our WACP.

Best regards
Riyadh Al-Baldawi
BoD member WACP
Stockholm 2023-111-30





 Proud to introduce to you

In each issue we would like to highlight a special person who devotes a lot of time to our association. Dedicated people who are essential for a flourishing association.
This time we like to introduce to you: Daina Crafa, our Editor-in-chief of our journal, WCPRR.




Daina Crafa (above to the left) presenting herself at the General Members Meeting during the 6th WCCP inRotterdam, the Netherlands.

Daina Crafa is a Tenured Assistant Professor in the Clinical, Neuro- & Developmental Psychology Department at VU Amsterdam. She combines multidisciplinary approaches to study how psychiatric patient groups respond during dynamic, real-time social interactions and how contexts may influence these responses. Her core interest is in social adaptability and challenges. She has a M.Sc. in Neuroscience (University of Osnabrock, Germany) and aM.Sc. in Transcultural Mental Health (Queen Mary University of London, UK). She completed her Ph.D. in Neuroscience (McGill University, Canada), where she worked closely with the Transcultural Psychiatry unit. Between completing her Ph.D. and starting her currentposition, she worked an Adjunct Professor at the Interacting Mind Centre at Aarhus University, Denmark. She is the new editor-in-chief for the WCPRR. Daina volunteered as an EditorialAssistant from the WCPRR starting in 2012. Daina also started the Student Section of the WACP and acted as its first section president. Daina is an Italian-American (dual citizen)who grew up in Florida. She enjoys exploring new places via kayak.


The World Cultural Psychiatric Research Review (WCPRR) is the official journal of the World Association for Cultural Psychiatry (WACP). It is a quarterly international peer-reviewed psychiatric journal that covers all branches of psychiatry with a particular emphasis on sociocultural context. The WCPRR promotes equity in academic publishing practices and provides cost-free, open access publishing to authors globally.
Preparations for the next issue are currently underway and we would love for you to be a part of it!
Have a look:
The President’s Choice
Each quarter I want to highlight intellectual advancements in our field of cultural psychiatry. This time, our pilot issue, I take the liberty to focus on publications that appeared in 2023. I could focus on a lot of publications since we have members as well as non-members who are very active in publishing great papers. However, this time, focusing on 2023, I was pleasantly amazed by the publication of three innovative scientific articles published by Ana Gómez-Carillo. Her main co-authors Laurence Kirmayer and one of the papers, published in the Lancet Psychiatry, was written with the help of a lot of colleagues of our association. All three publications are about the development of an alternative approach to counteract the present day neurobiological reductionism and it is coined the cultural-ecosocial systemic approach. It is an approach based on a multilevel explanation of a clinical case. There are an abundant number of attractive statements in these papers, like:
* … someone’s postcode can be a better predictor of health outcomes than the genetic code …’, Or
* . [understanding; MB] the brain as situated in the social world and as part of larger, self-reflexive systems or
*. the missing person in personalized medicine …•

Central concepts are: embodiment and enactment, compositional as well as causal hierarchies, circular rather than linear causation and self-explanation by the patient. This work is a clear and concrete example of how to apply complex systems dynamics within our field of psychiatry and putting the human brain in a sociocultural context in such a way that illness can no longer be reduced to a problem of an individual, it is a social problem as well. By using this model a useful
interacting clinical case can be formulated and widens the scope of the clinician as well as the perspective of the patient. These three papers are a culmination of interests that Laurence Kirmayer (but also others!) talked and wrote about for a few decades: neuroscience, culture, socioecological and anthropological systems and the self that culminated in a ecosocial model in which the dichotomy of Dilthey between “Erklären’ (explaining) and “Verstehen” (understanding) are finally integrated. Also the different levels in which a patient is entangled are combined into a synthesis that is worthwhile reading. The fact that the first author is NOT Kirmayer but a young gifted scholar is very promising for the future and sustainability of our subdiscipline called cultural psychiatry. It is even and foremost an example of what cultural psychiatry has to offer to psychiatry and medicine in general.

Gómez-Carrillo, A., Kirmayer, L. J., Aggarwal, N. K., Bhui, K S., Fung, K. P. L., Kohrt, B. A. _. & Lewis-Fernandez, R. (2023). Integrating neuroscience in psychiatry: a cultural-ecosocial systemic approach. The Lancet Psychiatry, 10(4), 296-304,
Gómez-Carrillo, A., & Kirmayer, L. J. (2023). A cultural-ecosocial systems view for psychiatry.
Frontiers in Psychiatry, 14, 486.

Gómez-Carrillo, A., Paquin, V., Dumas, G., & Kirmayer, L.. J. (2023). Restoring the missing person to personalized medicine and precision psychiatry. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 17.

Important dates
7th WCCP: our 7th World Congress of Cultural Psychiatry last week of September 2025, Tokyo
(exact dates will follow soon)
Cultural psychiatry and Art second half of September 2024 Paris *

Next issue
All-embracing information by Alberto Velasco on our next WACP international conference in Paris and the webinars.
Proud to introduce to you: Claire Kwagala, psychiatrist from Uganda.



Please send this newsletter to at least one other colleague of yours who is not (yet) a WACP and might be interested



Three members of the Special Interest Group on COVID-19 have edited a Volume of the Frontiers in Psychiatry Edition with 8 articles on this subject in 2024


Mao-Sheng Ran, Yunyu Xiao, Hans Rohlof (2024). Editorial: The impact of COVID-19 on internet addiction, suicidal behavior, and study behavior in adolescents in various cultural contexts. Frontiers in Psychiatry. Section Adolescent and Young Adult Psychiatry, Volume 15.

This webinar, from the Special Interest Group on Culture and Sexuality, was held on the 29th of July, 2022. The topic is Culture and the Prevention of Sexual Violence. It was presented by prof. Vasudeo Paralikar from KEM Hospital Research Centre, Puna, India, and his collaborators.



Co-Chairs: Vincenzo Di Nicola and Riyadh Al-Baldawi


“Insider/Outsider Perspectives on Religious/Spiritual Beliefs

on Therapeutic Process”

Exploring therapeutic intersections with families whose spiritual/religious lived experiences

are at odds with professional formulations


Presenter: Anjali Joseph

Family Therapist, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Discussant: Charlotte Clous

Medical Anthropologist, The Netherlands

 There will be a short presentation to frame the issues, followed by a town hall discussion


11:00 AM-12:30 PM ET (New York time) – 17:00-18:30 PM CET  



Saturday, September 17, 2022 @15:00, Rotterdam, World Trade Center

  1. Roberto Lewis-Fernández received the Wen-Shing Tseng Lifetime Award, in recognition of outstanding leadership and professional achievement in cultural psychiatry (introduced and awarded by Mario Braakman)
  2. Meryam Schouler-Ocak received the Pioneering Working in Cultural Psychiatry Award, in recognition of ground-breaking contributions to cultural psychiatry (introduced and awarded by Muthoni Mathai)
  3. Hans Rohlof received the Seva Award, in recognition of selfless, exemplary service to WACP and contributions to cultural psychiatry (introduced and awarded by Vittorio De Luca)
  4. Roberto Lewis-Fernández, on behalf of Pablo Farias, received the Seva Award, in recognition of selfless, exemplary service to WACP and contributions to cultural psychiatry (introduced by Roberto Lewis-Fernández himself)
  5. Hans Rohlof, on behalf of Nikolai Bokhan, received the Pioneering Working in Cultural Psychiatry Award, in recognition of ground-breaking contributions to cultural psychiatry (introduced by Vittorio De Luca) and pronounced a speech on behalf of N. Bokhan.
  6. Hans Rohlof, on behalf of Jie Li, received the 2022 Book Award, in recognition of outstanding scientific and literary competency expressed in publications on Cultural Psychiatry (introduced by Vittorio De Luca) and pronounced a speech on behalf of Jie Li.
  7. Muthoni Mathai received the Creative Education in Cultural Psychiatry Award, in recognition of innovative training and dissemination efforts in Cultural Psychiatry (introduced by Lisa Anderman).
  8. Vincenzo Di Nicola received the Creative Education in Cultural Psychiatry Award, in recognition of innovative training and dissemination efforts in Cultural Psychiatry (introduced by Lisa Anderman).
  9. Samrad Ghane, on behalf of Sushrut Jadhav & Roland Littlewood, received the Goffredo Bartocci Special Award In recognition of exceptional achievements in Cultural Psychiatry (introduced by Vittorio De Luca).
  10. Kamaldeep Bhui, on behalf of Dinesh Bhugra, received the Kamaldeep Bhui Academic Award, in recognition of outstanding academic accomplishments in Cultural Psychiatry (introduced by Vittorio De Luca).
  11. Vera Mohwinkel received from Kamaldeep Bhui, chair of the Poster Award Committee, the 2022 Poster Award Winner, in recognition of impact, clarity and scientific significance for Cultural Psychiatry” for her poster ‘Findings from a German clinical study: Refugees’ Pathways to Mental Health Care’.


2022 WACP Awards Committee

Lisa Andermann

Vittorio De Luca (chair)

Muthoni Mathai(except for nr.7)

Xudong Zhao

Recently, a new Board of Directors of the WACP was chosen. We will therefore soon change the website.

As preliminary news, here are already the names:


Mario Braakman, The Netherlands, President.

Byamah Mutamba, Uganda, Secretary.

Pablo Farias, Mexico, Treasurer.

Muhammad Irfan, Pakistan, President-Elect.

Roberto Lewis-Fernández, USA,  Past President.

Rest of the Board of Directors:

Itsuo Asai, Japan. He will organise the next WACP-conference in 2025 in Tokyo.

Xudong Zhao, China.

Carlos Zubaran, Australia.

Vincenzo Di Nicola, Canada.

Kenneth Fung, Canada.

Lisa Andermann, Canada.

Alberto Velasco, France.

Riyadh Al-Baldawi, Sweden/ Iraq.

Meryam Schouler-Ocak, Germany.

Irina Kupyanova, Russia. She will be appointed as Advisor to the Board.




The videos of our Travel Award Winners of the 2022 WACP conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands are available on YouTube.

Have a look, and have a preview of the lectures they will give on the conference: 

Registration at the conference, from the 14th till the 17th of September, 2022,  is still possible:


7:30 PM IST – 2 PM UTC – 10 AM EDT 

Organized by Special Interest Group on Culture and Sexuality
Chair: Dr. Vasudeo Paralikar

Topics and Presenters:

  • Introduction to sexuality in Indian context – Dr Ujjwal Nene, Clinical Psychologist; Sexual Health Consultant
  • Role of Socio-cultural Assessments in Prevention of Sexual Violence – Ms Ankita Deshmukh, Clinical Psychologist
  • Indian program for the primary prevention of sexual violence against children – Dr Suchita Agrawal, Psychiatrist
  • Participant comments and discussion

Registration and Zoom Link:

The videos of the webinar on the Care for Refugees, specially from Ukraine have been published. This webinar, which was held on the 19th of May, was called: Lessons learned from hosting and helping war refegees: from Bosnians to Ukrainians. Stevan Weine and Julia Bala were the lecturers, and in the discussion also Ewa Dobiala, psychiatrist from Poland, joined. 

Of the videos, there are two versions;

In English:

In simultaneous Ukrainian translation: