Keynote Addresses

AAMFT is proud to welcome our 2015 keynote speakers.

Thursday, September 3, 2015; 4:00 - 5:30 p.m: With Justice for All in a Changing America

Activist and civil rights speaker Morris Dees discusses how our commitment to justice for all will chart our nation's future as America becomes more diverse, and economic disparity widens. Dees shares his experiences and insights, explaining how and why he became an attorney and founded the Southern Poverty Law Center. Finally, Dees discusses hate crimes across the country and the need for the teaching of tolerance, love, and respect for one another.

Morris Dees is the co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit group specializing in lawsuits involving civil rights violations, domestic terrorism, and hate-motivated crimes. Dees and his associates have successfully battled and dismantled a series of hate groups, including the Aryan Nation and Ku Klux Klan, and have secured huge criminal, civil, and financial judgments against them.

Morris Dees is a strong proponent of education about civil rights and the civil rights movement, and was instrumental in the creation of the Civil Rights Memorial in Mobile, Alabama. For his efforts as an attorney and activist, Dees was named the Trial Lawyer of the Year in 1987 by the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice and received the National Education Association's Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award in 1990. Most recently in 2012, Dees received the highest award from the American Bar Association, the ABA Medal which recognizes exceptionally distinguished service by a lawyer to the cause of American jurisprudence.

Friday, September 4, 2015; 10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.: Between Two Worlds

Upon arriving to the States in 2001, John Bul Dau was quickly thrust into the complications of the American life. With keen insight, Dau will share the cultural and material differences he faced upon arrival to the U.S. He recounts the shock of his tribal culture colliding with life in America and the challenges of making a new life for himself while keeping one eye on Sudan. He will help us understand the struggles many first generation refugees face and how participants can help refugees adjust to life in a new country.

John Bul Dau was born in war-torn Sudan. Dau is one of 27,000 “Lost Boys of Sudan,” driven from their villages when the northern Arab government attacked the ethnic minority population of South Sudan in 1987. For the next five years, John Dau led groups of displaced boys across Sudan for hundreds of miles facing starvation, disease, and violence.

Dau attended school for the first time at the age of 17 and earned a prestigious Kenyan Certificate for Secondary Education. In 2001, Dau was selected to immigrate to the United States and settled in Syracuse, New York where he earned an earned an associates degree and Bachelor degree at Syracuse University.

Currently, John Dau is the President of both the John Dau Foundation (JDF) and the South Sudan Institute (SSI), he is an influential part of many efforts to bring hope and peace to the people of South Sudan. He has received awards, including National Geographic Emerging Explorers Award and was a Volvo for Life finalist in the Quality of Life category. John was also named alongside of DRC president Joseph Kabila, a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader for 2008 and together with Former Secretary of State, Gen. Collin Power; he received a Most Caring Award.

Register to view a livestream of this keynote. 

Friday, September 4, 2015; 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.: Expanding the Horizon of MFTs Globally

In this era of globalization, marriage and family therapists have become connected to their international colleagues more than ever. While members of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy have been instrumental in developing innovative strides in research, education, training and practice, they have much to benefit from a collegial exchange with professionals in other parts of the world who are equally contributing innovative work in these four domains.
This keynote address will highlight some of the worldwide contributions made by marriage and family therapists, but more specifically focus on how MFTs of various nations can assist each other with their continuing development. An emphasis will be placed on what we all have to benefit from an ongoing mutual exchange.
A lively presentation will include video clips of national and international colleagues discussing their collaboration in the areas of research, education, training and clinical practice.

Frank Dattilio, PhD, ABPP, is one of the leading couple and family therapists in the world and is specifically known for his development with the Cognitive-Behavior Therapy model of treatment.  He currently holds faculty positions with the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.  He has close to 300 professional publications and 20 books in the areas of couple and family therapy and psychological disorders.  To date, his works have been translated into 30 languages.  Dr. Dattilio has lectured on just about every continent in the world and his works are used in over 80 countries.  

He currently serves on the editorial boards of a number of professional refereed journals including The Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Contemporary Family Therapy, and Couple and Family Psychology:  Research and Practice.  Dr. Dattilio has been the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding achievement in the fields of psychology and psychotherapy.  He is also the 2010 winner of the Pennsylvania Association of Marriage and Family Therapist of the Year Award, as well as the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Contribution to Marriage and Family Therapy Award through the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Saturday, September 5, 2015; 4:45 - 6:15 p.m.: Love Wins: A Dialogue with Nelba Marquez-Greene

In what has become an all too frequent occurrence, December 14, 2012 was a day rocked by violence as 20 elementary school students and 6 adult staff members lost their lives in the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. One of those children lost was 6-year old Ana, daughter of AAMFT Clinical Fellow Nelba Márquez-Greene. In the ensuing two and a half years, her life re-shaped by the tragic events, Ms. Márquez-Greene has been driven by her family motto “love wins” and a desire to ensure her daughter’s life is remembered twice as loudly as her death. Her journey has led her to every level of government, media, and the public to increase understanding and awareness to prevent violence and promote healing. Join us as AAMFT Past President Michael Chafin speaks with Nelba about her journey and ways she believes all mental health professionals can work to help prevent future tragedies.

Nelba Marquez Greene, LMFT is a Clinical Fellow of AAMFT and has worked in private practice, community mental health and academic settings in the U.S. and Canada. Nelba holds a Bachelor of Music from the Hartt School and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from St. Joseph College.  Nelba was the founding member of the Connecticut Association for Marriage and Family Therapy’s (CTAMFT) Diversity Committee and has served on the CTAMFT Board of Directors.  For her efforts, she has received the 2004 Minority Fellowship Award by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), the 2004 Distinguished Professional Service Award and the 2013 Service to Families Award by the CTAMFT.   

Nelba served as the Coordinator for Klingberg Family Therapy Center’s outpatient child and adolescent psychiatric clinic and was an adjunct faculty member at Central Connecticut State University. After the shooting that took her beloved daughter’s life, she and her husband Jimmy founded “The Ana Grace Project” with a goal to promote love, community, and connection for every child and family. Through adopting classrooms that focus on social and emotional learning, and hosting mental health conferences and professional learning opportunities, the Ana Grace Project not only believes that “Love Wins” – but also saves lives. 

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