Day 1 Keynote Speakers and Panelists

Olukayode Ayooluwa Afolabi, PhD
Keynote Speaker

Dr. Olukayode A. Afolabi is a Professor of Applied/Social Psychology & Director, General Studies Unit, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State in Nigeria. He is also a Fellow & the current President of the Nigerian Psychological Association. He has served in many leadership roles, including as Acting Head of the Department, Head of Department, Dean of Faculty of Social & Management Sciences, Director of the Center for Basic and Part-Time Studies, Director of Leadership Institute and Director of the General Studies Unit.

Dr. Afolabi currently serves as Director of Academic Planning Unit. He also has served as Chairman and Member of several university committees. Besides these, he has been on the Nigerian Universities Commission Accreditation team at various times at many universities

A resourceful academic, Dr. Afolabi has attended and presented papers at several local and international conferences across the globe (e.g. Ghana, Kenya, Sierra-Leone, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States of America). He has to his credit over 74 publications in both local and foreign journals. He has also authored, co-authored, and edited many books. Afolabi at various times, also had working stints with several tertiary institutions. He was at a time with the University of Jos. Between 2018 and 2019, he was at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna for his one-year sabbatical leave.

Dr. Afolabi delivered the 15th Inaugural Lecture of Adekunle Ajasin University titled: “Burying Nuts: A Psychosocial Activity of the Squirrel in an Individualized World” on Tuesday, November 19, 2019.

Arthur C. Evans, Jr., PhD
Keynote Speaker

Arthur C. Evans, Jr., PhD is a Clinical and community psychologist, policymaker and health care innovator Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, is CEO of the American Psychological Association, the leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. With over 146,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students as APA members, a top priority of Evans’ current work is applying psychological science and knowledge to a wide range of complex societal issues.

Previously, for over two decades, Evans served in public policy positions in the city of Philadelphia and state of Connecticut, where he led the transformation of their behavioral health systems and their approaches to serving a wide range of individuals with complex needs. An unconventional leader, Evans has employed science, research, community activism, spirituality, traditional clinical care, policy, and cross-system collaborations to change the status quo around behavioral health.

Throughout his career, Evans has authored or co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed research articles, chapters, reviews and editorials, held faculty appointments at several high-ranking institutions, and received national and international recognition for his work, including prestigious awards in government, healthcare service, visionary leadership, actionable advocacy, equity and social justice.

Andrea Hussong, PhD

Dr. Andrea Hussong is a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a licensed clinical psychologist, and a developmental scientist in the United States. She previously served as the director of the Center for Developmental Science and of an NICHD-funded graduate and postdoctoral training program in Developmental Science and now facilitates the international ICDSS COVID Scholars Network.

Her research has long focused on developmental pathways to substance use and disorder, particularly for children of drug-involved parents, and on collaborations advancing innovative methods for longitudinal data analysis and integrative data analysis.

Her current research encompasses positive youth development and recovery and resilience, particularly the socializing gratitude and the impact of COVID on youth, as well as on creating empirically-based intervention tools and programs. She has received multiple NIH and foundation grants and authored over 100 publications in the field of child development and addictions.

Anderson J. Franklin, PhD

Dr. Anderson J. Franklin is the Honorable David S. Nelson Professor Emeritus of Counseling, Developmental and Educational Psychology at Boston College Lynch School of Education and Past Director of the Nelson Chair Roundtable on Networking Community Based Programs. He is also Professor Emeritus of Clinical and Social Personality Psychology at The City College and Graduate School of The City University of New York.

Dr. Franklin is Honorary Professor at the Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth in South Africa. His interest in the people of African descent experience, particularly for men, has led to varied and thorough research into the psychological wellbeing, resilience, and health of the black community, the impact of stereotypes, and more.

Michael Ezenwa, PhD

Dr. Michael Ezenwa is a Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychology at Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) Awka in Nigeria, where he simultaneously serves as a member of UNIZIK Directorate of Psychological and Counselling Services, the Research Ethics Committee and the Programme Coordinator, Master of Science Degree (M. Sc.) and Professional Master of Science Degree in Employee Assistance Programme (M.E.A.P). For four years (2017 - 8th November, 2021), he served as the National President of Nigerian Psychological Association.  

Professor Ezenwa is the immediate past Associate Dean, College of Postgraduate Studies of UNIZIK (April, 2017 -July 3rd, 2021). He also initiated and coordinates the Master of Science Degree in Addiction Intervention (MAI) in the Department of Psychology of UNIZIK. As a lecturer, approved doctoral supervisor and researcher in the university system since 2000, he has completely supervised a large number of undergraduate and postgraduate students and published a number of papers in high impact journals. He has also received some research, training and other grants.His professional background shows he has a Bachelor's Degree in General Psychology, a Master of Science Degree in Clinical Psychology and a Doctorate Degree in Clinical Psychology. In addition, he has specialised training in Gestalt Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Harmony Restoration Therapy and Transactional Analysis. Professor Ezenwa is also trained in Employee Assistance Programme and is an internationally certified substance use prevention and treatment professional. He has worked in diverse clinical settings providing psychosocial support, psychological assessment and treatment, employee assistance services, mental health advocacy and psycho-prophylactic services to individuals, groups and organisations.  As a psychologist and mental health professional, he has published in local and international high ranking platforms and has conducted supported research activities for many organisations including United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and women for Women International (WAWA).He currently leads some professional associations including Green Organisation International. He is also a member of the National Executive Council of International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP) Nigeria chapter and the South East Zonal Coordinator of the organisation. In October, 2021, he won the Best ISSUP Zonal Coordinator in Nigeria Award. Professor Ezenwa is a Fellow of Nigerian Psychological Association, Nigerian Association of Clinical Psychologists and a host of others and belongs to many other international organisations. He was the quest lecturer to Deggendorf Institute of Technology (DIT), Deggendorf, Bavaria, Germany in April, 2022.

Dr. Thema S. Bryant, PhD

Dr. Thema S. Bryant, PhD, is a tenured professor of psychology in the Graduate School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University in the United States, where she directs the Culture and Trauma Research Laboratory. Her clinical and research interests center on interpersonal trauma and the societal trauma of oppression. She has raised public awareness regarding mental health by extending the reach of psychology beyond the academy and private therapy office through community programming, organizational consultation, popular books, and media engagement. Dr. Thema is current president of the American Psychological Association and author of the clinical psychology bestseller Homecoming: Overcome Trauma and Reclaim Your Authentic Self.

Mirian E. Ofonedu, PhD

Dr. Ofonedu is the Director of Training at the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities at Kennedy Krieger Institute. She is an Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Mental Health and at the University of Maryland Baltimore Graduate School.She is also a Faculty Affiliate of the Johns Hopkins Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities and Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work in the United States.

Dr. Ofonedu is a psychologist, licensed clinical social worker and a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA). She served as APA Division 37 Program Chair and Task Force on Diversity Initiatives Coordinator and currently serves as Chair for the Diverse, Racial, Ethnic, and Multicultural Special Interest Group and liaison to the Committee on International Relations in Psychology. She is a master trainer for the APA's ACT Raising Safe Kids program and contributes to the field through her clinical, research, and training expertise at local, state, national, and international levels. Dr. Ofonedu's work, which spans over two decades, is inspired by the core values of recognizing and building on the strengths and competencies that exist in a person, family, and community; being culturally and linguistically responsive to each person's unique needs for the purpose of creating a more just, inclusive, and equitable society for all.

Day 2 Keynote Speakers and Panelists

Erica Danfrekua Dickson, MBChB, PhD
Keynote Speaker

Erica Danfrekua Dickson, MBChB, PhD is a Physician Clinical Psychologist and head of the Therapy and Wellness Department, Medical Division of the 37 Military Hospital in Accra, Ghana. Dr. Dickson is the past President of Ghana Psychological Association.She has 29 years of clinical experience and has consulted for various projects/organizations both national and international providing direct psychosocial care, curriculum development, training, facilitation of workshops, and assessment of psychosocial care provision of care providers.

She has supported some corporate organizations with the development of their mental health policy. Currently, she provides direct psychosocial services for some organizations including telecommunication, insurance, and financial organizations, CARE International Ghana, International Justice Mission, and UN Organizations in Ghana under UNDSS. She serves as an adjunct lecturer in some tertiary institutions. She is a clinical supervisor for undergraduates and postgraduate psychology students as well as clinical psychology interns. She reviews manuscripts for the Military Hospital Institutional Review Board. Dr. Dickson was instrumental in the conceptualization of the Military Hospital's Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programs and has served on the CPD Committee for the Hospital. Her research interest is in Neurodevelopmental disorders, non-communicable diseases, Suicide, and other health-related psychological issues. She is disciplined, a transformational leader, committed to duty, and conscientious about all her operations. She has excellent interpersonal and adult teaching skills. Dr. Dickson embraces diversity and teamwork, and she is client-centered, gender-sensitive, and trauma-focused in her client care. She is driven towards the psychosocial care of vulnerable groups in society, multidisciplinary health care provision and holistic (biological and psychosocial) care at the individual and community levels.

Gboyega E. Abikoye, PhD
Keynote Speaker

Dr. Gboyega Emmanuel Abikoye is a University of Ibadan-trained clinical psychologist and Professor of Clinical Psychology at University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria. He is also a Visiting Professor of Clinical Psychology at Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria. With over two decades of academic and professional experience across several national and international institutions, Professor Abikoye is highly reputed as a seasoned academic and administrator.

He is widely published, with over one hundred scientific publications in national and international outlets to his credit. He has taught and has successfully supervised projects and theses at various levels in the university system. He has served as External Examiner to several universities within and outside Nigeria, and he has served as Head of academic departments at various times. Professor Abikoye has won several grants, awards and recognition nationally and internationally.

Professor Abikoye is a member of several learned societies: foundation member, National General Secretary and member of the Board of Trustees of the International Society of Substance Abuse Professionals, Nigeria Chapter (ISSUP); committed member and Fellow of both the Nigerian Psychological Association (NPA) and Nigerian Association of Clinical Psychologists (NACP). He is the current President of Nigerian Association of Clinical Psychologists.

Marnie Shanbhag, PhD

Dr. Marnie Shanbhag is the American Psychological Association (APA)’s inaugural Senior Director for the Office of Independent Practice. In this role, she leads APA’s efforts to promote independent practice and private practitioners as part of APA’s goals to advance the profession. Dr. Shanbhag is a Florida licensed psychologist with seventeen years’ experience in independent private practice in the United States.

Her expertise spans both mental health practice and applied practice, with a special interest in immigrant communities. Prior to private practice, Dr. Shanbhag served as the Executive Director of a nonprofit agency, coordinating maternal and child health systems. Dr. Shanbhag graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and earned her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Florida.

Her clinical psychology internship was at the South Texas Veteran’s Health Care System in San Antonio, Texas, and she completed post-doctoral work at the University of Florida. Dr. Shanbhag is a member of the APA, APA Divisions 42 (Psychologists in Independent Practice) and 13 (Society of Consulting Psychology), as well as the Florida Psychological Association. Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Dr. Shanbhag moved to Houston, Texas with her family during her middle school years. She is an avid foodie, longstanding book club participant, and reluctant exerciser.

Martha S. Zlokovich, PhD

Dr. Zlokovich has served on the International Psychology Division 52 of the American Psychological Association board as Treasurer for two terms and will become President Elect on January 1, 2024. She earned her BA in psychology with a concentration in German from UCLA, and her MS and PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of Florida. She taught at Southeast Missouri State University the first half of her career and served as chapter Psi Chi Faculty Advisor, Department Chair, Faculty Senate Chair, and Interim Director of the Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning.

The second half of her career she served as Executive Director of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, retiring July 2023, overseeing Psi Chi’s international chapter growth.

Mulat Asnake, PhD

Dr. Mulat Asnake is an assistant professor of developmental psychology working in the School of Psychology at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. He obtained his PhD degree in applied developmental psychology, MA degree in developmental psychology and BA degree in educational psychology. Dr. Mulat teaches and supervises graduate and undergraduate students in the University.

In addition, he is involved in conducting researches and provision of community services. Dr. Mulat has co-authored Child Development and Child Rights Textbook and journal articles on migration, COVID-19, and mental health related areas. Dr. Mulat has received research grants from various institutions including International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), American Psychological Association (Peace Psychology or Division 48), and Society on Adolescence Research (SRA).

He is the member of Ethiopian Psychologists’ Association; American Psychological Association American Psychologists’ Association, Division 48: Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence – Peace Psychology; Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science (SIPS); and International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development (ISSBD).

Jenelle R. Shanley, PhD

Dr. Jenelle Shanley is a licensed Psychologist and an Associate Professor in the School of Graduate Psychology at Pacific University in Oregon, United States. Dr. Shanley’s research focuses on improving the dissemination and implementation of parenting programs for families with young children to reduce barriers to access and engagement and enhance child development. She has over 20 years of experience conducting behavioural and implementation research to prevent and address child mental health and child maltreatment. Dr. Shanley also has 15 years of experience disseminating parenting programs in community organizations across the United States and internationally, including in Kenya.

She is well experienced at training, consulting, and offering technical assistance with community-based providers, and collaborating with agency administration and government personnel to plan, initiate and sustain these programs. Dr. Shanley also has significant experience in developing, revising and adapting parent program curricula both for US and international implementations. Dr Shanley was recently awarded as lead multiple Principal Investigator a National Institutes of Health R01 grant to assess a newly adapted parenting program with Community Health Volunteers in Kenya, continuing a project initiated in 2016. Dr. Shanley has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and presented at various national and international conferences on parenting and child maltreatment.

Harry Obi-Nwosu, PhD

Dr Harry Obi-Nwosu is a Professor of Clinical-Forensic Psychology, and a lecturer in the Department of Psychology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka in Nigeria. He is currently the Director of the University Center for Counselling and Career Development and a member of the University Governing Council. Dr. Obi-Nwosu He is also the President of the Nigerian Association of Forensic Psychologists.

He is Chairman of the Ethics and Complaints Committee of the Nigerian Psychological Association and Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Association of Clinical Psychologists. Dr. Obi-Nwosu is experienced in consultation, mentoring, research, and editorship of academic publications.