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WPA Elections 2023

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WPA Election Process 2023 & Candidates' Corner

Image by Arnaud Jaegers

This resource has been established to provide information on the 2023 WPA General Assembly and the election process for Executive Committee members and Zonal Representatives.

The General Assembly will take place on 30 September at the Congress venue in Vienna.  Each Member Society will be represented by their authorised delegate.  The voting for candidates for the Executive Committee and the Zonal Representatives takes place during the General Assembly and the results are announced at the end of the Assembly.

A Candidates’ Corner has  been established to give information about each candidate standing for election to the Executive Committee or election as a Zonal Representative.


Candidates Running for the 2023-2026 Triennium

You can use the below links to jump to the relevant candidate section (please note the order of candidates is completely random and does not reflect preference in any form):

Professor Thomas G. Schulze
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Summary of Prof. Thomas G. Schulze's Personal Statement

For the last six years I have had the pleasure of serving you as WPA’s Secretary for Scientific Sections. I have been enlightened by the diversity, thematic richness, and enthusiasm present in more than 250,000 members of this global family. Building on this treasure of interdisciplinary collaborative work - entwining it with fundraising and scientific mark ups - I pledge to 1) work towards mental health parity in all imaginable areas and at all levels; (2) develop human rights-based mental health care; and (3) strengthen public mental health by supporting communities…together with you!


Professor Vinay Lakra

Summary of Prof. Vinay Lakra's Personal Statement

My vision for WPA:

  • World Psychiatry for All

    • WPA will work for all member societies and further expand our membership. Everyone must have a voice.

    • WPA executive must have diversity and better geographic representation. A diverse executive will be able to address complex issues.

  • Financial sustainability

    • I will work towards enhancing our revenue streams to secure WPA’s financial sustainability.

  • An effective international voice for psychiatry and mental health.

    • To support and progress the universal as well as local issues.

  • Work towards parity in teaching and training in psychiatry across all countries.

  • Collaboration with relevant international stakeholders including UN agencies.

Professor Tarek Okasha
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Summary of Prof. Tarek Okasha's Personal Statement

The WPA is an organization of member societies. I will work to ensure that all WPA member and affiliated societies have an integral role and a sense of belonging to the WPA and that they have a voice in the functioning of the WPA. I am confident that I have the combined personal and professional skills, exposure and integrity at a global level to provide leadership to the WPA which will be consensus-building, inclusive with deliverable aims. My experience allows me to bring freshness of ideas and approaches building upon the achievements of WPA Past Presidents.

Professor Irina Pinchuk     
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Summary of Prof. Irina Pinchuk's Personal Statement

Global Mental Health Threats. Social and economic inequalities, violence and emergencies. Russia’s war in Ukraine that brought the global crisis. How has the global crisis affected mental health and mental health systems in different countries? What lessons can be learned? What is the role of the WPA? Future main activities: transformation of the mental health system taking into account the increasing impact of emergencies; sharing knowledge and experience; promotion of investments in the mental health of the population to increase the human resources and economic development of the country; technology transfer (reducing the gap between scientific achievements and practical activity).


Professor Mysore Renuka Prasad    
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Summary of Prof. Mysore Renuka Prasad's Personal Statement

The pandemic exposed the cracks in healthcare, particularly in mental health and addictions worldwide. We see how social determinants of healthcare are affecting mental health globally. It’s a reminder of why mental health is so important. As president-elect of the World Psychiatric Association, I will draw my professional experience spanning 30 years and three continents. I will ensure the WPA plays a pivotal role in delivering compassionate, timely care to those who are suffering. My critical eye for improvement, and confidence operating in a variety of contexts and cultures will give the WPA a firm footing on the international stage.

Professor Saul Levin  
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Summary of Prof. Saul Levin's Personal Statement

As a South African psychiatrist, it is a great honor to be nominated for WPA Secretary-General. Growing up in Johannesburg, I embraced the vision and inspiration of Nelson Mandela and witnessed, at long last, the end of apartheid. After completing medical school at the University of Witwatersrand, where I worked with and treated a diverse patient population, I went on to the United States to complete psychiatry residency training as an international medical graduate. Later, as the President and CEO of Medical Education for South African Blacks (MESAB), an anti-apartheid education trust, I forged partnerships between South Africans and Americans to provide scholarships to South African Black students to become physicians, nurses, substance abuse counselors, and other healthcare professionals. Read full statement here.

Professor Wendy Burn       
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Summary of Prof. Wendy Burn's Personal Statement

I am based in Yorkshire in England and work there as a Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist. I am also the National Mental Health Clinical Advisor for Education, Workforce and Training, NHS England. This body oversees the training of all healthcare staff in England.

I have been involved in the organisation and delivery of psychiatric training for my whole career. I set up the Yorkshire School of Psychiatry which oversees the training of all psychiatrists in the area and was the first Head of School. Read full statement here.

Professor Norbert Skokauskas      
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Summary of Prof. Norbert Skokauskas's Personal Statement

To address the impact of income inequality, wars, refugees, pandemics, and climate change, the WPA must advance its educational and publication agendas. With my extensive experience as a psychiatrist, professor, educator, editor, former WHO consultant, and having lived on four different continents, I bring a blend of expertise, and a global outlook that drives meaningful impact. My roles as Chair, Secretary of the WPA Child and Adolescent Psychiatry section, and member of WPA committees have enriched my understanding of the organization. The WPA has been very generous to me – from my first Fellowship to attend the WPA conference, to receiving Honorary Membership in the WPA. Now it is my turn to give back to the WPA.

Professor Debashish Basu 
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Summary of Prof. Debashish Basu's Personal Statement

I have a dream…

As the Director of the WPA Collaborating Centre with the mandate of working in the area of public mental health, I will have ample opportunities to cross-link the activities of the Centre with WPA educational and publications-related activities. My persistently active involvement with both psychiatric education as well as research and scientific publications makes me especially suitable for this important position. I have an excellent experience as the editor-in-chief of two journals, one national and another international – Indian journal of Social Psychiatry and World Social Psychiatry, and have served in the capacity of experts or advisors in many psychiatric educational activities at multiple levels.


Professor Vaishnav Mrugesh     
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Summary of Prof. Vaishnav Mrugesh's Personal Statement

In a rapidly changing world through digital revolution, we are entering the era where we face the threat of Artificial Intelligence gradually replacing a living human. However, the stigma and discrimination attached to mental illnesses and to all that touches it is highly prevailing not only in developing countries but also in the developed nations. Hence, anything related to education in psychiatry needs to address the fundamental human right of person with mental illnesses. Read full statement here.

Professor Gil Zalsman     
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Summary of Prof. Gil Zalsman's Personal Statement

I have been the chair of education at the ECNP for two terms, 6 years (after being a member for 3 years). This organization activity in the field of education is very extensive. As chair of education, I was in charge of 4-6 seminars a year in eastern European countries (3 days interactive seminar for young clinicians from low-income countries). The committee also supervised the annual workshop of ECNP in Nice (100 young researchers for a week of intense workshop and talks), three schools (a week of lectures by world experts to 50 young residents in psychiatry) including psychopharmacology school (Oxford), child psychiatry school (Venice) and research method school (Barcelona). Read full statement here.


Professor K Sonu Gaind     
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Summary of Prof. K Sonu Gaind's Personal Statement

I am honoured to have been nominated for WPA Secretary for Scientific Sections.


I am a Professor at the University of Toronto and Chief of Psychiatry at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, with clinical expertise in psycho-oncology.  I have a track record of success, collaboration, collegiality, and strategic thinking in varied national and international leadership roles.  I welcome your support, and ask for your vote, to help me fulfill the important role of Secretary for Sections, and would be happy to connect with you ( to hear your thoughts on how I could be most effective in this role.



Professor Neeraj Gill     
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Summary of Prof. Neeraj Gill's Personal Statement

  • I am a psychiatrist, originally trained in India (MD Psychiatry 2000); I have been practicing in Australia since 2002. I received my Fellowship of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (FRANZCP) in 2006.

  • I have excellent organisational skills and communication skills and an ability to communicate effectively at the international level and with large organizations as evidenced by the following experience and my WPA activities mentioned below.

  • I have excellent professional and scientific reputation demonstrated by my election/nomination/appointment to a variety of senior positions. Read full statement here.


Professor Armen Soghoyan     
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Summary of Prof. Armen Soghoyan's Personal Statement

Let’s make success together: Started since the time of Covid-19, followed with the war and sill ongoing emergencies I'm fully equipped and mobilized with resources how to manage the pressure of uncertainty I'm in a best position to fulfil the post of WPA Secretary for Scientific Sections, involving all efforts to become a driving force for the success of the WPA.


- Continuation and elaboration on all initiatives of WPA

- Intersectoral coordination

- Independent activities of the Sections

- Active involvement of young professionals

- Sections to become global scientific and research leaders in their field.

Professor Gary Chaimowitz     

Summary of Prof. Gary Chaimowitz's Personal Statement

I wish to represent Canada as a WPA Zonal Representative. I am President of the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) with a long history of contributing the CPA, occupying multiple positions on various committees and the Board.


I am an active member of the WPA Forensic Section and host a highly regarded weekly International Forensic Lecture Series supported by the WPA Forensic Psychiatry Section.


I am a Professor of Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry Academic Division Lead, McMaster University, and Head of Service of Forensic Psychiatry, St. Joseph's Healthcare, Canada.


I am committed to serve the WPA in its important work.

Professor Bernardo Ng           
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Professor Thelma Sanchez         
Professor Rodrigo Nel Cordoba Rojas     
Professor Flavio Milman Shansis    
Professor Miguel Angel Cuellar Hoppe
Professor Johannes Wancata

Summary of Prof. Johannes Wancata's Personal Statement

Psychiatry in Western Europe experience various challenges which require a close collaboration between National Psychiatric Associations (NPAs) such as decreasing numbers of psychiatrists in several countries, training in psychotherapy, treatment for refugees and for patients suffering from post-COVID syndromes. This requires an exchange of knowledge and experiences between NPAs as well as stimulating and supporting exchange between psychiatric trainees from different countries. As past president of the Austrian Association for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics I know the potentials and the needs of a NPA. I have comprehensive experience in committee work in WPA and other international organizations.

Professor Ramunė Mazaliauskienė
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Summary of Prof. Ramunė Mazaliauskienė's Personal Statement

I have been the zone 7 representative for the period 2020-2023, it was an exciting and interesting period of my life – both professional and organizational.

I have an education as a psychiatrist, systemic family therapist, and international degree of

Master of Business Administration.

I am in the board of Nordic Psychiatric associations since 2012, and I am a present chairman of this association. This position gives a possibility to communicate with psychiatrist in both Nordic, and Baltic countries. I know all the organizational, educational, and practical issues that are important to Nordic and Baltic countries for the last 11 years.

Professor Konstantinos Fountoulakis
Professor Igor Filipčić

Summary of Prof. Igor Filipčić's Personal Statement

As WPA zone 9 representative, I will promote the aims of the WPA according the Action Plan accepted by the member states and General Assembly. My priorities in Zone 9 will be again strong partnership with the member states to accelerate and strengthen regional collaboration and cooperation. I will support to the organization of all scientific events in the region, and joint programs and championing new initiatives and implementing new projects in Zone 9 region. I will support local organizations and with all of you I will fight to end discrimination against those living with mental illness.

Professor Nikolay Negay  
Professor Amine Larnaout  
Professor Mahdi Abu Madini
Professor Aida Sylla            
Professor Juliet Nakku          
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Professor Vinay Kumar         
Professor Golam Rabbani         
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Summary of Prof. Golam Rabbani's Personal Statement

I am a practicing psychiatrist in Bangladesh who retired from government service as professor of Psychiatry cum Director of NIMH, Bangladesh. Currently I am serving as Chairperson of NDDP Trustee Board. I worked as President of Bangladesh Association of Psychiatrists and SAARC Psychiatric Federation. I hosted the WPA regional congress in Dhaka.


I enjoy chairing different workshops, seminars and symposiums of national and international conferences. I want to make mental health care accessible and affordable for all in the zone 15 by incorporating innovative approaches in clinical and research settings.

Professor Chawanun Charnsil  
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Summary of Prof. Chawanun Charnsil's Personal Statement

Prof. Chawanun Charnsil, MD since 1988, is a board-certified psychiatrist and Professor of Psychiatry at Chiang Mai University. He was elected as President of the Psychiatric Association of Thailand for two consecutive terms (2018-2021, 2022-present). He organized international congresses including ASCAPAP 2019 and World Congress in Psychiatry 2020 and 2022. Committed to the WPA's mission, his goal is to promote collaboration among Zone 16 member societies. Prof. Charnsil's leadership, expertise, and dedication contribute to advancing psychiatry, research, and education.

Professor Yong Chon Park
Professor Eapen Valsamma

Summary of Prof. Eapen Valsamma's Personal Statement

I am a (child) psychiatrist with research, teaching and clinical credentials. Having worked in India, UK, UAE and now in Australia, I have a keen sense and awareness of the global challenges facing Psychiatry. My current work is focussed on neurodevelopmental disorders and addressing health/health care inequities in mental health service delivery including developing and testing innovative care models. I have also been involved in teaching medical graduates and psychiatrists and providing mental health training programs in Australia and internationally (e.g. India, UK, UAE, Iraq, Vietnam, Cambodia, Pacific countries). I look forward to expanding this work using the WPA platform.

Secretary General
President Elect
Zonal Reps
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