2007 Congress on Religion & Mental Health in Tehran

The Tehran Psychiatric Institute and Mental Health Research Center, in conjunction with Deputy for Research, Iran University of Medical Sciences, and the Office of the Leader's Representative in the University, will hold the 2nd International Congress on Religion and Mental Health, 21-23 April 2007, Tehran, Iran.

The purpose of the Congress is to explore the relationship between mental health and religion in all its wide scope and related aspects and to provide an opportunity for interreligious and interdisciplinary conversation. We also hope that the event will encourage the establishment of Centers and Courses of Interdisciplinary research in the field of Mental Health and Religion.

Submission deadlines for the 2007 Tehran International Congress are:
Abstract: December 15, 2006. Submit an abstract (700 words maximum) of original conceptual or empirical research.
Research-in-Progress Submissions (discussing new ideas or work at an early stage): December 15. Submit a summary of tentative results, 3000 - 3500 words, for inclusion in conference proceedings
Poster: February 20, 2007.
Panel, Workshop, Tutorial, and Symposium Submissions: December 15, 2006. Submit a 1500 - 2000 word proposal covering objectives, issues to be covered, names & addresses of panel/symposium members (4 max.).

For more details go to http://www.iums.ac.ir/index.php?slc_lang=fa&sid=57 .

I have spoken with two people who attended the previous Congress in Tehran, and both of them talked of the experience in glowing terms. If you have the opportunity, please consider attending!


SAM said...

And, Dr. Nielsen, is freedom of religion assured to those who attend the congress?

Can one freely show his ideas in a congress in a nation where people of one religion cannot even attend univeristy?

I am sorry to make such comments on your blog, but I am indeed concerned with the openess of such activities in Teheran.

Michael Nielsen said...

SAM, it is a perfectly legitimate question. Not knowing the future, I can't say whether there will be any limitations on the congress. My correspondence -- both with people who organized the 2007 congress and the previous one, as well as with people who attended the previous one -- make me optimistic that this will be a productive discussion of ideas regarding mental health and religion.

But I view such things in a relativisitic framework. Given the realities of present-day life in Iran, I doubt that the organizers would welcome Sam Harris or someone else whose "bottom line" is that religion is unhealthy in any form. Still, I do think that the organizers are respectful of a variety of positions, and if one's data indicated that some forms of religion were more healthy while others were less healthy, then it would still work.

At least, that is my impression of the people involved, and of the limitations imposed by their present-day circumstances.

Now, who knows what might be the reaction if one were to present research on, say, Baha'i. Given recent news from Human Rights Watch, I suspect that there might be problems. Such is the world in which we live.