Mentally Unfit, Forced to Fight

Jimmie Briggs, formerly a reporter with LIFE magazine, has been a freelance writer and producer for the last thirteen years. The author of a book on child soldiers and war-affected children, "Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers Go To War," Briggs has written for a number of publications including Essence, VIBE, The New York Times Magazine, The Village Voice, The Washington Post, El Pais, among others. A National Magazine Award finalist, he is a recipient of the OSI Individual Project Fellowship, the Alicia Patterson Foundation fellowship, Congressional Black Caucus Media Award, Carter Center Mental Health Journalism Fellowship, Dart Society Fellowship and the NABJ Magazine Award. A past instructor at the New School of Social Research, Briggs has taught photography and writing through the Seeds of Peace program in New York City and Kabul, Afghanistan, as well as in the International Center of Photography's community outreach program. Presently, he is co-producing a feature film based on "Innocents Lost" and working as a freelance producer for ABC News.

Mark Kramer has written for The Boston Globe, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, The Atlantic Monthly, Outside and many other publications. His books include Three Farms: Making Milk, Meat and Money from the American Soil, Invasive Procedures: A Year in the World of Two Surgeons, and Travels with a Hungry Bear: A Journey to the Russian Heartland. He co-edited the anthologies Literary Journalism, and Telling True Stories: A Writer's Guide to Narrative Nonfiction from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, which Plume/Penguin published in February 2007.  From 2001 until a few months ago when he retired to write books again, Mark was the writer-in-residence and director of the Nieman Program on Narrative Journalism at Harvard University. He was writer-in-residence and professor of journalism at Boston University from 1991-2001, where he started this conference in '97, and was writer-in-residence at Smith College for a decade before that.  In addition, he has  started narrative journalism conferences in S. Africa, Denmark, and Germany and consults at newspapers in many nations.  He is married to Susan Eaton, director of research at Harvard Law School's Houston Foundation for Racial Justice and author of the newly published book The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial.  They have two sons.

Kate Lowenstein is Program Director for Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights.  She has spent her career working as an advocate for homicide victims' family members, as well as victims of domestic violence and child abuse and neglect.  She has a JD/MSW and is a member of the Maryland and United States Supreme Court Bar. 

Fred Ritchin is the director of Pixel Press, the former picture editor of The New York Times Magazine, the executive editor of Camera Arts magazine and the founding director of the Photojournalism and Documentary Photography educational program at the International Center of Photography. His book, In Our Own Image: The Coming Revolution in Photography, was the first to deal with the digital revolution's impact on photography. A Website that he created with photographer Gilles Peress, Bosnia: Uncertain Paths to Peace, was nominated by the New York Times for a Pulitzer Prize in public service. American Photo magazine recently named him one of the 100 Most Important People in Photography. His new book, After Photography, will be published next year by WW Norton. Ritchin is also associate chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at New York University.

Dr. Stuart Turner  is a pioneer in the field of trauma research, helping to develop evidence based services for survivors of adversity in the UK and internationally. He was recently elected as President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), the leading society in this field, for 2008.  Turner is one of the four clinicians who established the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS), having been Chair of the European Trauma Foundation from 1991 to 1993, the precursor organization. In 1995, he became second President of ESTSS. In 1996, he established the UK Trauma Group, a managed clinical network of practitioners and researchers in the UK, which he chaired  for 8 years. He is Chair of Trustees of the Refugee Therapy Centre, a London-based service specializing in offering same language counseling for young refugees and asylum seekers. Currently, he is a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Capio Nightingale Hospital. He is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the  Royal Free and University College Medical School in London. He is Emeritus Consultant to the Camden and Islington Mental Health and Social Care NHS Trust. He has been a Member of the Dart Centre for Europe Advisory Group since 2005.