7 to 10 June 2009 – TARAPOTO, PERU


The WHO defines health as a state of wellbeing that includes every sphere of human life, and the organization promotes health policies that include the valuable contributions made by ancestral traditional medicines (MT).  Mental Health has now become a priority for the WHO, displacing the classic endemic diseases.

So far, little has been done to respond to the recommendations of the WHO in the area of Mental Health.  The objective of this conference is to create a space for sharing experiences of using traditional medicines to resolve mental health problems, and to reflect upon these experiences.  We also hope to create an American Regional Network that will continue to explore this field of study and its possible applications in health policies.

Traditional medicines are used to treat mental health problems which have often been viewed as culturally specific problems, and so these treatments have been seen as effective only in this specific context.  However, empirical medical experience appears to demonstrate the opposite, indicating instead that the therapeutic techniques of indigenous or native peoples have a transcultural dimension, responding to human constants that are invariable or archetypal.  Moreover, the instruments employed by TM are sufficiently adaptable to offer innovative solutions in areas where conventional medicine is deficient, such as in the treatment of addictions.  Yet these diverse experiences are geographically separated, little known, their practitioners do not have any means of coordination or exchange and, since they are personal initiatives, there is no state support for them.

When official or conventional medicine agrees to consider the contributions of traditional medicines to mental health, it comes up against a series of resistances or difficulties that are worth mentioning here. For example:
– The lack of differentiation between mental and spiritual dimensions in TM.
– The frequent use of psychoactive plants or substances, and of techniques to induce modified states of consciousness.
– The voluntary and necessary subjectivity involved in the therapeutic relationship, both by the patient and the therapist, which is contrary to the recommended supposed scientific objectivity.
– The supremacy of experience over technique in TM therapeutic practices.
At the same time, currently many westerners are engaged in an erratic search for solutions to their mental, moral, existential or spiritual suffering.  They travel further and further from their own cultural contexts in search of this, reaching traditional societies to find shamans, healers and other practitioners of these techniques.  Aside from the frequent intercultural incomprehension that results, this movement has produced a dubious form of neo-shamanism and shamanic tourism that threatens to degenerate Traditional Medicines and destroy them.  In conclusion, the mental health of indigenous peoples is also under threat.
Numerous young researchers interested in carrying out research in this field have great difficulty finding academic support, a way to apply what they have learnt, and adequate funding.  Meanwhile, this is a vast area and there exists an urgent need to explore it.

We propose to organize the presentations into various thematic round tables:
• Mental Health Policies and integration of TM
• Legislation and legal aspects of TM
• Addiction and Modified States of Consciousness
• Mental Health and Indigenous peoples
We consider it necessary to bring together representatives from:
• Projects that integrate TM and conventional medicine in the field of mental health
• Indigenous and mixed race practitioners of TM
• The academic world
• Governments and international organizations

General Program:
• Sunday 7 June 2009: Opening session of the conference
• Monday 8 – Tuesday 9: Presentations and debates at thematic round tables
• Wednesday 10: Plenary session and closure of the conference
• 11 and 12 June: Post conference. Tourism, visit to Takiwasi Centre and meetings with TM practitioners.
Location: Hotel Río Shilcayo (Tarapoto)
Anticipated participation: 4 thematic round tables with 50 participants and 100 general public atendees, totaling  200 to 300 people.
Official Language: Spanish (with simultaneous translation into English and consecutive translation into French).
Costs ofparticipation (includes access to conferences and program for the event):
– Before 1 March  2009 : Professionals 60 US$ – Students : 25 US$
– After 1 March 2009: Professionals 100 US$ – Students : 30 US$

Contact information: congreso@takiwasi.com
Secretary : Gabriela Montenegro

This conference is the initiative of several fellows of ASHOKA Foundation ( www.ashoka.org) who work in the field of mental health, combining resources from TM with those from conventional medicine. The organizing committee is composed as follows:

Dr. Jacques Mabit, MD, Centro Takiwasi (Perú) ( www.takiwasi.com )

Lic. Sacha Domenech, clínical psychologist, Asoc. Runa Wasi (Argentina)
Dr. Jorge Hurtado, psychiatrist, Museo de la Coca (Bolivia)
Dr. Brendan Tobin, lawyer, TM and legislation (Peru)

Dr. Germán Zuluaga, MD, Centro de Estudios de Medicina Intercultural (CEMI) (Colombia), www.cemi.org , Grupo de Estudios en Sistemas Tradicionales de Salud, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad del Rosario www.urosario.edu.co
Dr. Françoise Freedman, anthropologist, University of Oxford (England)
Ghislaine Bourgogne, psychotherapist, Association “La Maison Qui Chante” (France)
ASHOKA Foundation  www.ashoka.org
Regional Government of San Martín, Tarapoto, Peru
Peruvian Association of Transpersonal Psychiatry – Lima – Peru
Interamerican Council on Indigenous Spirituality (CISEI) – Venezuela
Runa Wasi Association (Argentina) runa.wasi@yahoo.es
Internacional Assistance Foundation(FAI) (Switzerland-Italy)
Centro Regional para la Salvaguardia del Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial de América Latina-  CRESPIAL  www.crespial.org
 Faculty of Medicine – University del Rosario – Bogota – Colombia www.urosario.edu.co

The Organizing Committee proposes the following ways of sponsoring the event.  We also request a formal letter from your institution specifying the form of sponsorship you will be offering and authorizing the use of your name, and your logo if you use one.
1. Participatory Sponsorship
This consists in sending one, or several, duly accredited representatives from your institution to participate in the presentations and debates, with the aim of forming an American Regional Network to monitor Mental Health policies that value the contribution of TM.  Each representative will pay the inscription charge for the conference.

2. Academic Sponsorship
This consists of providing an incontrovertible expression of interest in this Conference on the part of your institution and, if possible, sending one or more representatives.  The name of your institution will appear on posters and documents in the “Academic Sponsor” category. If you would like, we can add the logo of your institution if we receive it before the end of 2008.  Each representative will pay the inscription charge for the conference.

3. Direct Financial Sponsorship
This consists of a financial contribution from your institution to the Conference, the budget of which appears in the annex to this document.  You may choose a specific item to sponsor (costs of producing the report, translation, travel and subsistence costs for the TM practitioners, for Indigenous representatives etc.).  Takiwasi Centre will provide you with a document acknowledging receipt of funds, and will produce a balance for the event 3 months after the Conference.
The name of your institution will appear on posters and documents in the “Financial Sponsor” category. If you would like, we can add the logo of your institution if we receive it before the end of 2008. Each representative will be exempt from paying the inscription charge for the Conference if the contribution is at least US$ 500.

4. Indirect financial sponsorship
This consists of a material contribution to the Conference, such as airline tickets, office materials, food, direct payment for hotels and food for indigenous representatives, loan or donation of equipment etc.
It may also consist of providing services free of charge, such as translation, editing the Conference report, providing audiovisual materials etc.

In this case, the name and logo of your institution will appear on Conference posters and documents and participants will be exempt from payment of the inscription fee if the contribution is estimated to be worth at least US$ 500.

Contacts and information: congreso@takiwasi.com
Coordinator of Organizing Committee: Dr. Jacques Mabit
Secretary: Gabriela Montenegro

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