Program ~ Presenter Bios

Program Overview, Schedule, and Guidelines

International Conference on

Refugee Crisis in Europe and Middle East:

Sharing Tools for Humanitarian Response

November 1-3, 2016 ~ Freiburg, Germany

Sponsored by:
Common Bond Institute (CBI),
Co-Sponsored by:
Michigan State University (MSU)
Friends of Asylum in Freiburg
City of Freiburg Office for Migration and Integration
Goethe Gymnasium
International Humanistic Psychology Association (IHPA)

Endorsed and Supported by:
and over 100 professional associations, universities, and organizations internationally

Official Partner of:
Charter for Compassion, and Parliament of World's Religions

List of Topics and Presenters

List of Topics and Presenters

List of Topics and Presenters


Steve Olweean, Myron Eshowsky, Albert Scherr, Regina Weiser, Wolfgang Roth, Tanya Awad Ghorra, Farha Abbasi, Ayat Nashwan, Ghalia AlAsha, Jane Gilbert, Hatice Hagar, Joachim Pfahl,

Topics Addressing Humanitarian Challenges and Responses to the Refugee Crisis:

International Psychosocial Intervention for Refugees in the Middle East Facing Trauma: Discussion of Barriers and Possible Solutions“

Social Changes in Times of High Immigration

Nonviolent Communication: A Compassionate Way Of Living And Addressing Conflict - Important Tools in Uncertain Situations

Parenting Programs: An Essential Intervention Within A Refugee Community

“I Cannot See a Future" : Surviving Loss and Grief Day by Day

Violence, Trauma, Displacement, and Gender

Psycho-social and Whole-Person Approaches for Healing Individual and Communal Trauma

Self-Help and Mutual Support Coping Skills For Vulnerable Refugee Communities Under Stress

Models, Policies, and Resources for Effective Healing, Recovery, Resettlement, and Integration

Program Schedule Outline:


Program Schedule Outline:

Tuesday, November 1

Site: Merchant's Hall
Münsterplatz 24, Freiburg, Germany

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm * On-Site Registration & Check-in

3:00 pm - 9:00 pm

3:00 pm - 3:30 pm: Welcome and introductions,
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm: Overview of trauma, displacement, and service
programs for refugees in the Middle East
5:00 pm - 5:30 pm: Break
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Overview of trauma, displacement, and service
programs for refugees in Freiburg and Germany
7:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Break
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm: Topical Roundtable
8:30 pm - 9:00 pm: Overview of the 2-Day Working Conference
that follows on Nov. 2 and 3


Wednesday, November 2

Site: Goethe Gymnasium
Holzmarkt 5, D 79098, Freiburg, Germany
10:00 am - 6:30 pm

10:00 am - 10:15 am: Conference Check-In
10:15 am - 11:15 am: Session - A
11:15 am - 12:15 pm: Session - B
12:15 pm - 12:30 pm: Break
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm: Session - C
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm: Lunch
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm: Interactive Roundtable - D
4:30 pm - 4:45 pm: Break
4:45 pm - 6:15 pm: Interactive Roundtable - E
6:15 pm - 6:30 pm: Conference Check-in and Summary


Thursday, November 3

Site: Goethe Gymnasium
Holzmarkt 5, D 79098, Freiburg, Germany
9:30 am - 6:30 pm
(7:00 pm - 10:00 pm: Farewell Banquet)

9:30 am - 11:00 pm: Interactive Roundtable - F
11:00 am - 11:15 am: Break
11:15 am - 12:45 pm: Interactive Roundtable - G
12:45 pm - 1:00 pm: Conference Check-in
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm: Lunch
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm: Topical Breakout Groups:
Dialogue and Action Planning - H
4:00 pm - 4:15 pm: Break
4:15 pm - 5:45 pm: Reporting In - Action Planning
and Coalition Building - I
5:45 pm - 6:30 pm: Conference Summary, Actionable Outcomes,
Next Steps, and Closing - J

7:00 pm - 10:00 pm: Farewell Dinner Party
(a final time to break bread together)

Program Components:


Program Components

A 3 day Schedule of:

1. Sharing an overview of the current state of conditions, needs, and services
for refugees in Europe and the Middle East.
2. Interactive Topical Roundtables examining current models and
approaches, what is working, what is not, what needs to be modified,
and what more is needed.
3. Practical Presentations and Workshops on culturally appropriate
approaches and methods for providing psychosocial care.
4. Facilitated Dialogue & Action Planning Groups.
5. Presentation of proposal to establish a Bi-Regional Cross-Training
Program and a Collaborative Network.
6. Live 2-Way Global Links to Other Countries.
7. Networking for Coordination, Cooperation, and Partnerships on Practical
8. On-site Blogging and Live Streaming.
9. Interdisciplinary, Multi-cultural Learning Community.
10. Social-Cultural Events.
11. Farewell Dinner Party on evening of Thursday, November 3.

Intent and Description of Program Sessions:


Intent and Description of Program Sessions
(also provides Guidelines for Proposals)

Topical Roundtables, Presentation Sessions,
Facilitated Dialogue & Action Planning Groups,
Live 2-Way Global Links:

1) Topical Roundtables:
In keeping with the character of the conference, roundtables are intended to be interactive dialogues addressing important needs, issues, and policies related to assisting refugees - rather than a series of separate mini-presentations. A typical format is to begin with brief comments by each panel member to stimulate thinking, followed by a discussion among these members, and then to extend the dialogue out to include and actively engage the full audience for a portion of the session to encourage a wider, more inclusive dialogue and deliberation on the topic at hand. This process is guided and facilitated by a moderator(s) to ensure opportunities for multiple voices to be heard, that the focus is maintained and aimed at practical outcomes, and to keep things on track in terms of time.

2) Presentation Sessions:
Practical Presentations and Workshops intended to stimulate dialogue and deliberation throughout the conference days.
These are prepared presentations for sharing practical skills and approaches in psychosocial care, introduction and demonstration of developing culturally appropriate models and methods, perspectives, research and analysis, and deep inquiry and deliberation on essential issues. The RC Conference is designed to be a working conference and a cooperative learning experience that enlists contributions of all participants, and so all presenters are asked to include opportunities for significant participant interaction and dialogue within their sessions. Presenters are also requested to be present for full participation in the 3-day conference learning and action planning community.

3) Facilitated Dialogue and Action Planning Groups:
These breakout groups focus on specific topic areas and the overall conference mission of practical application that all participants take part in, and lead into a final plenary session for actionable outcomes. They are intended for delving further into issues presented, brainstorming and considering new or alternative ideas, formulating action plans and collaborations for applying them, additional networking opportunities, and processing the conference experience. Material emerging from these dialogues is meant to lead to actionable outcomes, is included in conference proceedings, and used for future planning.

4) Live 2-way Global Links to Other Countries:
In addition to on-site presenters and participants, to expand the size and reach of the conferences key participants in other countries will be Skyped into the conference for real-time, 2-way participation.

5) Interdisciplinary, Multi-cultural Learning Community:
A central intent of the conference is building an interactive professional learning community and common ground of reference to promote a concerted effort in exploring core themes and integrating learning. The program structure encourages participants to learn from prepared material while also bringing their own experience, perspectives, and wisdom to bear in exploring the topic of the conference. Experts in a variety of relevant fields and from a number of countries will be on hand to both provide presentations and participate in the program along side all participants, including facilitated dialogue and action planning groups. As such, presenters are requested to be present for full participation in the conference.

6) Social-Cultural Gatherings and Events offer opportunities for cross-cultural sharing and appreciation, social interaction, and important community building.

Guidelines For Compassionate Dialogue:


Guidelines For Compassionate Dialogue
Common Bond Institute conferences strive to promote an inclusive, compassionate dialogue that honors different personal experiences, perspectives, and narratives, while allowing for better expressing and listening to each other as we work together toward understanding and harmony. Our intention is to create an open venue where we can engage meaningfully and invite in a public dialogue that brings our joint wisdom to bear in exploring sometimes difficult issues that effect us all. This is based on the premise that it does not require that we be the same to be appreciate of, at peace with, and secure in our relationships with each other; only that we be familiar enough with each others story to share the humanity and trustworthiness that resides in each of us.
We ask all participants to assist us by carrying and expressing this intent throughout the conference.

NonViolent Communication Guidelines: (Adapted from Marshall Rosenberg)

Unique Assumptions - NVC begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature and that violent strategies-whether verbal or physical-are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture. It also assumes that we all share the same, basic human needs, and that all actions are a strategy to meet one or more of these needs.

While NVC is much more than a communication model, the components below provide a structural concept of the process that leads to giving and receiving from the heart.

Honestly Expressing how I am and what I would like without using blame, criticism or demands

Empathically Receiving how another is and what he/she would like without hearing blame, criticism or demands

Whether expressing or receiving, NVC focuses our attention on four pieces of information:

Observations-Objectively describing what is going on without using evaluation, moralistic judgment, interpretation or diagnosis
Feelings-Saying how you feel (emotions and body sensations) about what you have observed without assigning blame
Needs-The basic human needs that are or not being met and are the source of feelings
Requests-Clear request for actions that can meet needs