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The Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry is governed by a Federation Council consisting of both chairpersons of the boards of the members of the Federation and selected persons who have been invited because of personal competence.
Each member organization of FGIP is a separate legal entity with its own board. The names and brief biographies of the Federation Council members can be found below. Similar information on regional board members and staff can be found in the subsequent pages for each member organization.
Robert van Voren, Chief Executive
Robert van Voren (1959) is a Sovietologist by education. A graduate of Amsterdam University, he obtained his PhD at the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas (Lithuania) where he is Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies. He is also Professor of Soviet and PPcurrently teaches political science. He holds a similar position at the Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Starting in 1977, he became active in the Soviet human rights movement. In 1980, he co-founded the International Association on Political Use of Psychiatry and became its General Secretary in 1986. He is still Chief Executive of its successor organization, the Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry.
Van Voren has written extensively on Soviet issues, the Second World War, and issues related to mental health and human rights. More than a dozen of his books have been published.
Benedetto Saraceno, Chair (IT)
Dr. Benedetto Saraceno is a psychiatrist trained in public health who serviced as Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse of the World Health Organization until February 2010. Dr. Saraceno is Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatry of the United Kingdom and received a Doctor Honoris Causa degree from the New University of Lisbon and the City University of Birmingham. He assisted in the reform of mental health services in South and Central American countries, including Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, Chile and Cuba. In 1996, Dr. Saraceno was appointed Programme Manager of the WHO special programme Nations for Mental Health and in 1999 he became WHO's Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.
John Bowis, Secretary (UK)
John Bowis is a former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for London and was the Conservative spokesman on the Environment, Health and Food Safety in the European Parliament. He also serves on the Parliament's Development Committee and is Vice-President of the African-Caribbean-Pacific/EU (ACP/EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly. Earlier he was a British Minister on the Council of Health Ministers and he was Minister for Transport and Road Safety in London. In the nineties he was an International Policy Adviser to the World Health Organisation's Collaborating Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, supporting the UN's Nations for Mental Health Campaign.
Melvyn Freeman (SA)
Melvyn Freeman is a consultant on mental health policy, legislation, human rights and HIV/AIDS – in particular to the World Health Organization. He is also extraordinary Professor of Psychology at the University of Stellenbosch. Previously he was the Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in the National Department of Health in South Africa where he initiated major mental health legislation and policy reform.
Ganesan worked as a consultant Psychiatrist for 12 years of which he spent over 9 years working in Batticaloa, a war affected area in eastern Sri Lanka. He was responsible for providing services for over 1.4 million people as the only psychiatrist. There were hardly any services as there has not been any psychiatrist in this region for over 20 years. He helped develop a model with minimum resources that has now been implemented. It includes small acute inpatient care units in hospitals; many out reach follow-up clinics, and some community work. The program also focuses on child protection, gender based violence, drug and alcohol abuse, psychosocial activities, developing services for the learning disabled children (intellectual disability) and more. Since 2008 he works as a Psychiatrist in a large mental hospital in Colombo.
Clemens Huitink (NL)
Mr Huitink is trained as a financial auditor, but currently works on Policy for the International Affairs department of the Dutch Mental Health Association (GGZ Nederland). He also serves as an advisor and trainer on mental health consumer-related issues in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and South America. Previously, he has been Secretary to the European Network of Users and Ex-users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP), an advisor on psychosocial rehabilitation in Greece and a member of the WHO taskforce on de-stigmatization. He is also involved in health issues and policies of the European Union and as well as being an MDAC board member.
Joseph Mbatia (TZ)
Joseph Mbatia currently works at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Tanzania as Assistant Director and Head of the Non Communicable Diseases Mental Health & Substance Abuse Section. He is also leader of the 'Better Mental Health in Tanzania' project which partners with government in strengthening mental health training for primary care services. He studied medicine at the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, and obtained a Masters degree in Psychiatry in the UK at the University of Manchester.
Galia Petrova (BG)
Mrs Petrova is a psychiatrist/ psychotherapist and Administrative Director of the Dinamika Center for Psychotherapy, Counseling and Psychiatric Consultations. She is also a member of the WHO Task Force on Stigma and Discrimination due to Mental Illness and a long-time member of the World Psychiatric Association Educational Liaisons Network. She has written scientific paper, translated works on psychiatry and psychological medicine into Bulgarian and delivered lectures in medical psychology, psychopathology in various universities and in therapeutic behavior to psychiatric nurses. She has lately focused her energy and efforts towards providing practical and comprehensive mental health training for general practitioners.
Danius Puras (LT)
Dr. Puras serves as Head and Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry and Social Paediatrics at the Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius Uiversity. He also teaches health policy and public mental health at the Institute of International Relations and Policy Studies, at the same university. Dr. Puras is a member of UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Chairman of the Board of GIP-Vilnius, Chairman of the Board of the Human Rights Monitoring Institute and a member of the Vilnius City Council. He has also served as Dean of the Medical Faculty of Vilnius University, Adviser to the Minister of Health of Lithuania, President of the Lithuanian Psychiatric Association, and as an expert on the development of mental health services in various Eastern European countries.
Dick Raes (NL)
Prof Raes holds an MD and PhD and is currently Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at two Dutch universities. He is a member of the Penitentiary Court of Appeal. Prof Raes has broad experience in liaison psychiatry and in care for the mentally handicapped and addicted persons. He is also a member of several psychiatric journals and associations.
Peter Tyrer (UK)
Professor Tyrer is Head of the Department of Psychological Medicine in the Division of Neuroscience and Mental Health at Imperial College and also Professor of Community Psychiatry. He has has been involved in research to improve the assessment and treatment of personality disorder and its impact on other mental disorders. He is the editor of Personality Disorders: Diagnosis, Management and Course, first published in 1988 and is currently involved in assessing the DSPD programme of the Home Office and the Department of Health as well as randomised controlled trials of treatment supported by the Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council. He is also Editor of the British Journal of Psychiatry.
David Gzirishvili is a freelance consultant from Georgia, with more than 16 years experience primarily in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in health care systems and reforms, health care financing, service delivery, applied research, strategic and financial planning, and organizational development. He has been actively involved in civil society development and policy making. He has served in different positions in management and governance bodies of non-for-profit organizations. As a medical doctor, David practiced emergency medicine and family medicine from 1989 to 1995. He also holds a MSc in International and European Law in Social Security (KatholiekeUniversiteit Leuven, Belgium).