Conference “Trauma, Torture Victims, Flight”


The project “The path to reconciliation – paving the way for survivors of torture to becoming contributing members of the community” (2015-2017) was implemented in cooperation with partner organizations from Austria, Germany, Romania, Croatia and Slovenia. As part of the project, the final conference on the topic of “Trauma, Torture Victims, Flight” was organized by Omega – Transcultural Centre, and was held on February 15th and 16th, 2017 in the City Council Hall Graz, Austria. With approximately 120 visitors the conference was very well attended. During the conference the project results were presented and various lectures as well as workshops were held by experts from the field of trauma.

After the project was introduced by project coordinator Mrs. Usha Sundaresan, MA, the introductory speech was given by Ao. Univ.-Prof. Thomas Wenzel, psychiatrist and neurologist and expert on the field of trauma and torture victims. After this very interesting introduction on the effects of trauma, the importance of the Istanbul Protocol and the current situation, each project partner presented its very successful results achieved during the project. In the further course, Prof. Dr. Silke Birgitta Gahleitner, multi-professional expert, social worker and psychotherapist, gave a lecture on “Therapeutical support for traumatized women”. Besides, she provided valuable information on how to treat traumatized women appropriately, Dr. Gahleitner also pointed out how to recognize Trauma.

After lunch break, three workshops on the topics “How to approach traumatized people in everyday professional life”, led by Dr. Gahleitner, “Violation of Human Rights and flight in a health-related context”, led by Dr. Wenzel and “Future work with survivors of torture on a European level”, led by Dr. Laurent Subilia, were held. Each workshop was very well attended and its results were presented at the end of day one of the conference.

The second day of the conference was inaugurated with a lecture by Dr. Gehad Mazarweh, one of a few Arabic psychoanalysts in the world, on the topic of “Cultural backgrounds and its role in dealing with trauma and psychotherapy”. Dr. Mazarweh´s speech included many
striking cases from his every day encounters with torture victims and his way of approaching survivors of torture the best. Dr. Mazarweh’s moving speech was followed by Dr. Laurent Subilia’s lecture.

Dr. Laurent Subilia, swiss doctor and specialist in treating war and torture victims, gave his speech on the topic of „Holistic view on torture and its treatment within the environment “. Dr. Subilia´s speech was very down to earth and included cases from his work with torture victims. Regarding the treatment, he emphasized three essential steps therapists should take into consideration.

We would like to thank all participants, politicians and project partners for their support and interest in the topic of “Trauma, Torture Victims, Flight”. We are very pleased that the conference was such a success and was received so well.
For further details on the conference or the project, please check our website