Prof. Dr. Marten W. deVries is Professor of Social Psychiatry and Public Mental Health at the Maastricht University in The Netherlands. Previously President en Secretary General of the World Federation of Mental Health. Dr. deVries is an internationally known scholar and investigator. He was educated in medicine, psychiatry and anthropology, he has been particularly interested in the experience of mental illness and the interaction of individual and group behavior within the social cultural contexts and through the media. Dr. deVries has worked closely with media professionals and business leaders around the world on distance education projects, film production and the development of business round tables. The rapidly developing high profile mental health sector has now identified the power and social impact of the media to deliver significant benefits. This and the impact of today’s global mental health need has motivated Dr. de Vries to lead a concerted effort across the public and private sector in which media plays a crucial role.

Jaap Swart was born and raised in the Caribbean, which marked his intense interest in intercultural communication and the problems of communication for development and education in multi-cultural societies. Social Geographer and Cultural Anthropologist by training (University of Amsterdam, UVA) Swart worked for the UVA and ISS (Institute of Social Studies), returned to Curaçao in the Caribbean, joined the management of a secondary school and became active in the teacher union movement. Upon returning to The Netherlands he became General Manager of Radio Nederland Training Centre (RNTC), the Dutch institute for media-facilitated development, educational and intercultural communication (still active in development communication projects all over the world). Retired from RNTC in 2002, Swart devotes most of his time to the application and critical assessment of media for journalistic, developmental and educational objectives (MOS, Media on the Spot) and to the role of media in mental health and cultural confrontation situations with Mind Venture International.

Rianne J. M. Wesenbeek Interim Board member and Infra-care program: mso-ansi-language: EN-GB;”>social sciences and race and ethnic studies  University of Amsterdam. Field of expertise: mental health and social cultural change. Specializations: transcultural psychiatry and public mental health. Wide range of positions and activities: manager, adviser, policymaker, change agent and researcher. (Amsterdam 1986 – 2002) and (Maastricht 2002  – 2013). International experience in financial and social remittance: Somaliland, Doses of Hope, NGO1999). Publications: social inequality, racism, suicidal behavior and the cultural construction of illegality.


MVI staff and partners have years of experience in research, health care and the application of entertaining, engaging and interactive mixed media formats over a world sample of environments.

Irene ter Horst, MD was trained as a physician at Maastricht University, Medical School. Because of her interest in the holistic approach of health and well being, she specialized in the field of complementary medicine and others.  Training in Classical Homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture and Chinese herbs), electro-acupuncture techniques, Kabalistic Healing (United States), Shamanistic Healing (United States), nutritional classes, psychotherapy and management training followed.   She was involved in the foundation of “Homeopaths without borders” in Amsterdam. She was founder and held a managing position at the Medical Centre for Alternative Medicine (MCAG) in Maastricht. Currently she works in a private practice for holistic medicine in Maastricht. She is also a member of the Board of Supervision for the Dutch Register of Osteopaths. For MVI she holds the office and participates as assistant project manager.

Mark Timmer is a freelance theater director with various theater groups (including F-Act, Baal, De Zaak, Zuidelijk Toneel, RO theater, Het Vervolg, De Appel, Theater van het Oosten, Tryater, Holland Festival, Wederzijds, Bos Theaterproductions). He directed for television: three theater registrations, twelve single plays, a seven-part series and a four-part series (for VPRO, VARA and NPS). He is also a documentary filmmaker (for Unicef, Plan Nederland, St. Mundial in Suriname, Algeria, Philippines, South Africa, Ecuador, Colombia). Active as a screenwriter since 1995. Produced to date: a single play, a seven-part comedy series, three parts of a police series and two plays. He has further directed MVI’s Bianca in de Buurt TV series. Regular guest teacher at the theater academy Maastricht. (extensive CV with movie clips at:

Drs. Kees Schippers has been active as an educational professional for 20 years, working as a teacher as well as in executive positions. Other than his training as a first degree qualified teacher, he has studied Social Geography at the State University of Utrecht. During the period 1980 – 2001 he was managing director of the NOT (Dutch Educational TV) and later of the merged public broadcasting organization Teleac / NOT.  He held responsibility for all Youth Education TV projects with the public broadcasting org.  During many years he was a member of the Program Board of the European Broadcasting Union and Vice President of the EBU Education group. Kees Schippers held international positions within the network of public broadcasting organizations, such as President of the EU Schools Television Committee, President of the prestigious Japan Prize Festival, President and keynote speaker of many international broadcasting conferences.  He was the initiator and coordinator on an international level for co-productions with many broadcasting companies, among others BBC, Channel 4, ARD, Rai, Scandinavian broadcasting comp., Yorkshire Television, NHK-Japan and many others. During the past years he has been involved as an expert consultant in the development and implementation of educational broadcasting organizations in developing countries like South Africa, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Serbia-Montenegro, Maldives, Brazil.

Jose Perez Sanchez has extensive international experience in the field of educational communication as executive manager, professor/trainer, consultant, field worker and organizer of international events, media producer, writer and editor. In 1979 he became regional manager of Radio Nederland Training Centre, RNTC, in Latin America, building significant networks as the coordinator of several successful projects involving Communication, Education and Development in most Latin American countries, as well as Western and Central Africa. As a producer he has conceived, planned, developed and directed three major collections of audiovisual materials: “Facts for Life – A Family Health Encyclopedia”, for UNICEF; “Culture for Peace”, a collection of comics and audiovisual materials for children, with UNESCO and Plan International; and the Self-Learning Radio Encyclopedia, training materials, developed for RNTC. Since 2002 he has developed the Children Book-Diary “Culture for Peace”, now reproduced in several languages, together with multimedia series for children on Children Rights, rehabilitation and relief, social harmony and tolerance. Since 2006, he has been a consultant for the Fund for Relief and Development and MVI in South East Asia and Africa.

Nico van Oudenhoven is by training a child psychologist, but in the course of his long career, among others, with the University of Leiden, UNESCO, UNICEF, Bernard Van Leer Foundation, International Child Development Initiatives and International Centre for Child and Youth Studies, he made entries into adjacent social disciplines. He works at the intersection of action research, NGO capacity building, programme and policy development, advocacy and training. He has worked in all continents, but always on behalf of socially excluded children and youth and with a special focus on their psycho-social well being. Nico’s areas of expertise include: Early Child Development (ECD), formal and non-formal education (pre-school and basic education), out-of-family and foster care, capacity building and teacher training, policy development and programme design for children and youth, programme and project research and evaluation, and management of international NGO’s, Universities, UN organisations, and development organizations.

Prof. Dr. Charles Kaplan is an internationally acknowledged expert in social epidemiological theory, quantitative and qualitative methodology and behavioral health research design. Currently, the Assoctate Dean of Research and Research Professor at the the Graduate School of Social Work, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA. He maintains affiliations at the Department of Psychiatry at Maastricht University in The Netherlands, and at Fachbereich Gesellschaftswissenschaften, Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. His research focuses on behavioral health problems in vulnerable populations across the life course. He is a certified expert and consultant with the EU as well with the UN.  He worked for years on research in Africa on street children and health policy. He has served as the chair  of the International Board of the UNISOL-UNESCO Centre for Excellence of African Street Children Research located at Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya.  He has published widely on ethnographic and sociologic issues related to street children, drug abuse and treatment, mobile populations and the social capital of neighborhoods.

Dr. Amina Abubakar Ali is a Developmental Psychologist and is working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Tilburg University, the Netherlands. She trained in Psychology and Education in Kenya, and obtained her PhD from Tilburg University in 2008. Her doctoral research involved the growth and development of children experiencing multiple risk factors in rural and urban settings at the Kenyan Coast. She has taught at various levels in Kenya including secondary, diploma and undergraduate students. Amina’s main research interest focuses on identification and monitoring of at-risk children in sub-Saharan Africa with a view of identifying useful points for early intervention. Her current research interests include childrearing practices and their influences on childhood outcome, strategies for empowering caregivers of vulnerable children to reduce morbidity and mortality, and identification of ways to enhance the developmental outcomes of at-risk children with a special interest in the HIV population and children experiencing mild to  severe malnutrition.

Dr. Alfons Crijnen is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and scientist who lives and works in Amsterdam. As a clinician he workes for the Youth Mental Health Services and supervised many youth care teams. As a scientist he was trained at Maastricht, Johhns Hopkins and Rotterdam and specializes in the prevention of disruptive (aggressive, oppositional, hyperactive) behavior and substance use in young children.  Dr. Crijnen has extensive experience in working through school-based interventions, in the prevalence of emotional and behavioral problems and psychiatric disorder. Investigating risk-factors for these problems in multiple cultures and immigrant populations and in psychiatric disorders, child-rearing practices and parental psychopathology in infants and toddlers. He introduced the Good Behavior Game and the Nurse Family Partnership interventions in the Netherlands and studies the effectiveness of these interventions through randomized controlled trials with mothers differing in cultural and social economic background.

Haroun Kipkemboi Ngeny Arap Mengech is the Director, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and Professor of Psychological Medicine. Graduated at the University of Nairobi and University of Dundee, Scotland. M.B., Ch.B, University of Nairobi, D.P.M., The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. M.R.C. Psych., Royal College of Psychiatrists of the United Kingdom. 2001 MD (honoris causa), Linkoping University, Sweden. He has several National Honours for its contribution to Medicine in Kenya. Consultant Psychiatrist, South Shields General Hospital, South Tyneside, England, United Kingdom. Lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, Nairobi University Medical School. Professor of Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Moi University Eldoret. Founding Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Moi University, Eldoret. Established the Medical School and the Institute of Public Health. He has been Director, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. Director of a research programme on HIV/AIDS “Academic Model for the Prevention of HIV/AIDS” (AMPATH). Ample teaching experience in the United Kingdom and as a Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Nairobi and since 1987 Professor of Psychological Medicine at Moi University, Eldoret (on leave of absence). He has been a member of several scientific committees and medical associations. Member, of the Editorial Board, East African Medical  Journal. Since  2001 to date, Director and Chair of Board of AMPATH. He has over 25 Publications.

Klasien Horstman, Professor of Philosophy of Public Health, Maastricht University