Vamık D. Volkan | Leadership

Vamık D. Volkan | Leadership

Vamık D. Volkan, M. D., DLFAPA, FACPsa, is the founder and President Emeritus of the International Dialogue Initiative.  He was born to Turkish parents in Cyprus. Before coming to the United States in 1957 he received his medical education at the School of Medicine, University of Ankara, Turkey. He is an Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, the Senior Erik Erikson Scholar at the Erikson Institute of Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and an Emeritus Training and Supervising Analyst at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, Washington, DC. He holds Honorary Doctorate degrees from Kuopio University, Finland and from Ankara University, Turkey.

Professor Volkan was the Medical Director of Blue Ridge Hospital (1978-1994) and the Founder and the Director of the Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction (CSMHI) (1987-2002) at the University of Virginia. CSMHI applied a growing theoretical and field-proven base of knowledge to issues such as ethnic tension, racism, national identity, terrorism, societal trauma, leader-follower relationships, and other aspects of national and international conflict. Because no single discipline can fully illuminate such deep-seated and complex issues, CSMHI’s faculty and board included experts in psychoanalysis, psychiatry, diplomacy, history, political science, and environmental policy.

Dr. Volkan was a member of the International Negotiation Network (INN) under the directorship of the former President Jimmy Carter (1990-2002). INN was a flexible, informed network of former heads of state, Nobel Peace laureates, eminent persons and conflict resolution practitioners dedicated to resolving international conflicts through peaceful means. He was also an Inaugural Yitzhak Rabin Fellow in Tel Aviv, Israel; a Temporary Consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO) in Albania and Macedonia; a Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts; a Visiting Professor of Political Science, the University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; and a Visiting Professor of Political Psychology, Bahceșehir University, Istanbul, Turkey. He was also a Visiting Professor of Psychiatry at Ege University, Izmir, Turkey; Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey; and Cerrahpașa Medical School, Istanbul, Turkey.

Dr. Volkan is a recipient of numerous awards including Nevitt Sanford Award given by the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP) for his work on political psychology; Max Hayman Award given by the American Orthopsychiatric Association for his contributions to the psychology of racism and genocide; L. Bryce Boyer Award given by the Society for Psychological Anthropology for his study of post-Ceauşescu Romania and the Margaret Mahler Literature Prize for his writings on clinical issues. Dr. Volkan also received the Sigmund Freud Award given by the city of Vienna, Austria, in collaboration with the World Council of Psychotherapy. He was a Fulbright/Sigmund-Freud-Privatstiftung Visiting Scholar of Psychoanalysis, and a Board Member of the Freud Foundation, in Vienna, Austria.

Professor Volkan is the author or co-author of 42 books and the editor or co-editor of 10 more. He has published about 500 scientific papers or book chapters. His work has been translated into many languages. He was the founder and editor (from 1987–2003) of a quarterly journal, Mind and Human Interaction, which opened meaningful dialogues between the disciplines of history, culture, politics, and psychoanalysis. He has served on the editorial boards of 16 professional journals including the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association and Political Psychology. Dr. Volkan has also given hundreds of lectures and keynote addresses. He has spoken in Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Egypt, Estonia, England, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Northern Cyprus, Norway, Peru, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, South Ossetia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and U.S.A. He is a former President of the Turkish-American Neuropsychiatric Society, the International Society of Political Psychology, the Virginia Psychoanalytic Society and the American College of Psychoanalysts.

Dr. Volkan worked in various countries (such as Israel, Egypt, Soviet Union, Russia, the Baltic Republics, Croatia, Albania, Romania, Kuwait, Georgia, South Ossetia, Turkey) over three decades, brought various “enemy” representatives together for unofficial dialogues, spoke with many world political leaders and spent time in refugee camps. He developed new theories about large-group psychology and suggested new strategies for peaceful co-existence. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for four times (2005-2008) supported by letters from over 25 countries.