International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
ISTSS 31st Annual Meeting | November 5-7, 2015 | Pre-Meeting Institutes, Nov 4, 2015 | New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Plenary Session

The 29th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) will be begin on the evening of November 6th, 2013, with an opening plenary session by Amanda Lindhout at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The scientific program will continue from November 7-9, 2013.

Healing Through Resilience and Forgiveness

During this session, kidnap survivor Amanda Lindhout inspires audiences as she shares her experience as a hostage in Somalia. Lindhout doesn't dwell on the conditions of her 460 days in captivity but relates moments where personal transformation occurred and she had the opportunity to turn suffering into growth. She explains how her journey through regret, anger, and pain ultimately led her to discover that as long as she retained her ability to feel compassion, her humanity could never be taken from her.

During her weakest moments, she found the ability to experience her greatest power: the power to forgive. "The process of forgiveness is not easy," Lindhout says, "but the decision to engage in it is the single most liberating experience a person can have." 

Following her release in 2009, Lindhout has embarked on an incredible journey of healing and she shares her astonishing discoveries about post traumatic growth. A captivating, unforgettable speaker, Lindhout alights on the positive and leaves the audience with a fuller understanding of the freedom we can all experience when we choose to embrace compassion and puts into perspective the challenges that we all face. What emerges is a celebration of resilience - a powerful portrait of the strength of the human spirit.

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About Amanda Lindhout

Amanda Lindhout is an internationally recognized humanitarian, public speaker, writer and activist, as well as the Founder and Executive Director of The Global Enrichment Foundation (GEF).

Amanda’s experience as a hostage in war-torn Somalia, her courage and resolve in the face of adversity, and her achievements as an advocate for Somalia’s most vulnerable inspire audiences throughout Canada and around the world.

In 2012, former President Bill Clinton invited Amanda to share her message of forgiveness and compassion at the Clinton Global Initiative and the Women’s Executive Network nominated her as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Her memoir, A House in the Sky, will be published across North America by Simon and Schuster in 2013.

Amanda's Story

A former freelance journalist, Amanda’s concern for the crisis in Somalia brought her to the capital city, Mogadishu, in August 2008. Three days after her arrival she was kidnapped by teenage criminals and held hostage for 460 days. Following her release in 2009, Amanda became an unlikely and passionate advocate for the Somali people and in May 2010, established The Global Enrichment Foundation (GEF), a non-profit organization dedicated to igniting leadership through educational and community-based empowerment programs.

ImageAmanda returned to Somalia in 2011, propelling GEF onto the world stage after leading famine relief efforts and raising millions of dollars to aid and support over 200,000 people. She regularly speaks to students, teachers, policy-makers and business leaders about the interconnected issues of poverty and violence against women, and the role education can play in countering the radicalization of youth. Her steadfast commitment to positive and sustainable change has garnered partnerships with Google, the United Nations Association, The Nobel Women’s Initiative, Gloria Steinem’s Women Under Siege, Somali human rights activist Fartuun Adan and 2012 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr. Hawa Abdi.

Amanda has recently been featured in The Globe and Mail and has appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, The Today Show, CBC’s The National, Strombo and CTV Morning Live Calgary.