UNICEF consultant revisits city

Laila Atshan
Laila Atshan

Respected UNICEF psychologist and consultant, Laila Atshan, returns to Londonderry next week to accept the position of Chair Of Insightful Healing from the City Centre Garden of Reflection.

An Audience with Laila Atshan will be hosted by journalist, Paul McFadden, on Wednesday, January 14, at 12pm in the Holywell-DiverseCity Community Partnership building on Bishop Street.

Ms Atshan is a psychologist specialising in counselling people with disabilities, refugees, prisoners and survivors of political and domestic violence and some of her recent assignments have included training UNICEF staff working in the Darfur conflict and training Iraqi university professors in the promotion and implementation of human rights in the context of conflict.

Susan Glass, Garden of Reflection programme co-ordinator said: “We are delighted that Laila is returning to the city. During her visit last September, she touched and inspired everyone who met her. What is particularly inspirational is that Laila was born blind but has incredible insight into the needs of others who have suffered trauma through conflict.”

While in the city she will also work with practitioners and students of trauma healing and psychology, as well as Year 11 and 12 pupils at Oakgrove Integrated College.

A Palestinian, Laila was born into a refugee family in Ramallah. She was educated in a missionary school in Jerusalem.

Her studies have taken her from Bir Zeit University, to Rutgers State University, USA, and she graduated from Harvard University in 2012, receiving their first Ford Foundation Mason Fellowship and Lifetime Achievement award.

Helen Quigley, Managing Director of Inner City Trust said: “This event very much underpins the ethos of the Garden of Reflection as a celebration of cultural diversity, creating a positive impact on good relations and reconciliation within Derry~
Londonderry and promoting the Garden as shared space in the heart of the city centre.”

To date the project has welcomed three Chairs of Learning, including photographer Giles Duley as Chair of Illumination and Theatre of Witness founder and director Teya Sepunick as Chair of Theatrical Innovation.

To book a place for Wednesday’s event, contact the Holywell-DiverseCity Community Partnership on Bishop 
Street, email marjorie@gardenofreflection.org or telephone 02871 261941 to book a place for the audience with Laila.