Prof Vamik Volkan Wins World's Prestigious Psychoanalysis Award

Image Vamık Djemal Volkan, M.D., a Turkish Cypriot emeritus professor of psychiatry who resides in the US, has been one of the two winners of the prestigious Sigourney Award, which honors achievements for the advancement of psychoanalysis. Volkan and Jay Greenberg, Ph. D have been selected as the recipients of the 2015 Sigourney Award for their outstanding achievement in psychoanalysis, according to a statement posted on sigourneyaward.org. “Seminal contributor to the application of psychoanalytic thinking to conflicts between countries and cultures. In addition, his clinical thinking about the use of object relations theory in primitive mental states has advanced our understanding of severe personality disorders,” the website said while explaining Volkan’s achievement.

Born in 1932 in northern Cyprus, Volkan received his medical education at the School of Medicine, University of Ankara. He later moved to the US and became a professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia in 1971 and retired in 2002. A year after his retirement Volkan became the Senior Erik Erikson Scholar at the Erikson Institute of the Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, Massachusetts and has spent three to four months several times at that center.

During his long tenure at the University of Virginia Volkan was the Medical Director of the University’s Blue Ridge Hospital for 18 years. Following his six-year work as a member and later as the leader of the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on International Affairs during which the committee brought influential Israelis, Egyptians and Palestinians for unofficial negotiations, Volkan, in 1987, established the Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction (CSMHI) at the School of Medicine, University of Virginia.
 Volkan is the author, coauthor, editor or coeditor of over fifty psychoanalytic and psychopolitical books many translated into several languages.

Currently, Volkan is the president of the International Dialogue Initiative (IDI), a nonprofit organization that brings together unofficial representatives from various parts of the world, such as Germany, Iran, Israel, Russia, Turkey, UK, U.S.A, and the West Bank to examine world affairs from a psychopolitical angle.

The world-famous academic, who is also peace facilitator, was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize, in 2005, 2006 and 2007, for various peace initiatives he worked on in different parts of the world.

Established in 1989 by Mary S. Sigourney, the independent foundation annually grants substantial cash awards to one or more persons or organizations that made major contributions to clinical psychology or psychoanalytical research, the foundation’s website says. These contributions include applications to medicine psychiatry, one sciences, the humanities, or the public good. (Foto: Selman Eştürkler, Today's Zaman)

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