Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health
Michael Wessells, PhD, is Professor at Columbia University in the Program on Forced Migration and Health, and
Professor Emeritus at Randolph-Macon College. He has served as President of the Division of Peace Psychology of the American Psychological Association and of Psychologists for Social Responsibility and as Co-Chair of the InterAction Protection Working Group. He is former Co-Chair of the IASC (UN-NGO) Task Force on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings which developed the first inter-agency, consensus guidelines for the field of mental health and psychosocial support in humanitarian crises.
Currently, he is lead investigator of inter-agency action research on strengthening community-based child protection mechanisms in Sierra Leone and Kenya. He has conducted extensive research on the holistic impacts of war and political violence on children, and he is author of Child soldiers: From violence to protection (Harvard University Press, 2006). He regularly advises UN agencies, governments, and donors on issues of psychosocial support. Throughout Africa and Asia he helps to develop community-based, culturally grounded programs that assist people affected by armed conflict.
Wessells M. (2003). Terrorism and the mental health and well-being of refugees and displaced people. In F. Moghaddam & A. Marsella (Eds.), Understanding terrorism: Psychosocial roots, consequences, and interventions (247 263). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Wessells M, Monteiro C. (2004). Healing the wounds following protracted conflict in Angola: A community-based approach to assisting war-affected children. In U. P. Gielen, J. Fish, & J. G. Draguns (Eds.), Handbook of culture, therapy, and healing ( 321-341). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Wessells, M. (2005). Child soldiers, peace education, and post-conflict reconstruction for peace. Theory Into Practice, 44(4), 363-367.
Kostelny, K., & Wessells, M. (2005). Psychosocial aid to children after the December 26 tsunami. The Lancet, 366, 2066-2067.
Wessells M, Monteiro C. (2006). Psychosocial assistance for youth: toward reconstruction for peace in Angola. Journal of Social Issues, 62(1), 121-139.
Wessells M. (2006). Negotiating the shrunken humanitarian space: Challenges and options. In G. Reyes & G. Jacobs (Eds.), Handbook of disaster psychology, vol. 1 (147-164) Westport, CT: Praeger.
Wessells M. (2006). Child soldiering: Entry, reintegration, and breaking cycles of violence. In M. Fitzduff & C. Stout (Eds.), The psychology of resolving global conflicts: From war to peace, vol. 3 (243-266). Westport, CT: Praeger Security International
Wessells M. (2006) Child soldiers: from violence to protection. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Wessells, M. (2008). Do No Harm: Challenges in organizing psychosocial support to displaced people in emergency settings. Refuge, 25(1), 6-14.
Kostelny, K. & Wessells, M. (2008). The protection and psychosocial well-being of young children following armed conflict: Outcome research on child centered spaces in northern Uganda. The Journal of Developmental Processe, 3(2), 13-25.
Wessells, M., & Edgerton, A. (2008). What is child protection? Concepts and practices to support war-affected children. The Journal of Developmental Processes, 3(2), 2-12.
Wessells, M. (2009). Supporting the mental health and psychosocial well-being of former child soldiers. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 48 (6), 587-590.
Roe, M., Wessells, M., & McKay, S. (2009). Pioneers in peace psychology: M. Brewster Smith. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 14, 345-363.