Bio

Dr. Bree Akesson is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada. She is also a faculty affiliate with the CPC Learning Network, the Centre for Research on Children and Families at McGill University, and the International Migration Research Centre at Balsillie School of International Affairs. She serves as the co-chair of the International Social Work and Global Issues Research Cluster for the Society for Social Work Research (SSWR).

Her program of research focuses broadly on international child protection issues, ranging from micro-level understandings of the experiences of war-affected children and families to macro-level initiatives to strengthen the global social systems. Past research projects include a program evaluation of a psychosocial program for children and pregnant women in Chechnya (2005), a program evaluation of psychosocial structured activities for school-aged children in Uganda (2007), a review of international safe space programs for young children in emergencies (2009), and global mapping exercises on child protection training in West Africa (2014) and southeast Europe (2016). Her research with Palestinian children and families living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem received several awards including the 2015 Distinguished Dissertation Award from Proquest and the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies and the Prix d’Excellence (Award of Excellence) from L’Association des Doyens des Études Supérieures au Québec (Association of Deans of Graduate Studies in Quebec).

Dr. Akesson has worked in a variety of international settings including Kenya (2001-2002), Chechnya (2005), northern Uganda (2007-2008), Palestine (2010-2012), and Nigeria (2014), and is currently engaged in projects in Ghana, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and India. She is the co-editor of the book, "Realities of children affected by armed conflict", published in 2017 by Columbia University Press. For the past seven years, she has focused much of her research on the meaning of home and the impact of intentional destruction of home (i.e. domicide) on war-affected and displaced populations, and she is currently writing a book on the subject.

In addition to her research, Dr. Akesson continues to practice as a clinical treatment facilitator with the Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group (GPEG), based at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) and operated by the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene (RFMH) at Columbia University. In this position, Dr. Akesson provides mental health assessments and clinical referrals to children and families affected by diverse forms of adversity.

Sub-specialties

Africa: 
- child protection and social work in Ghana and Nigeria
- war-affected children in Northern Uganda
Human Rights:
- human rights in war-affected settings and among war-affected populations
- the right to home
- domicide, or the intentional destruction of home
Humanitarian:
- child welfare in humanitarian emergencies
- the psychosocial impact of humanitarian emergencies
International Development:
- social service workforce development in West Africa and Eastern Europe 
Middle East and North Africa: 
- Syrian refugees displaced in Lebanon
- Palestine refugees living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem
Parenthood:
- how parents raise their children in the context of war and displacement
- parenting in adversity
War:
-the impact of war on children and families

Articles, Publications, Appearances