Keynote Speaker 

Dr. Delia Pop

Born and educated in Romania, Delia is a medical doctor who has committed the last 17 years to working with children in the institutional care system and families at risk of separation.  She has transformed child protection and care systems at national and regional levels through developing a model of change and training materials to support global reform and providing technical assistance and training to government agencies, NGOs and other professionals in Europe and Africa. Dr. Delia Pop is currently the Director of Programmes and Global Advocacy at Hope and Homes for Children in the United Kingdom.

Confirmed Speakers for 3rd BICON

Dr. Kiran Modi, Ph.D., Founder and Managing Trustee, Udayan Care, India

Dr. Kiran Modiis the Founder Managing Trustee of Udayan Care, which ensures Child Rights by providing nurturing family homes to orphaned and abandoned children; higher education to underprivileged girls; and the dignity of self reliance by livelihood trainings and employment opportunities to youth, and inculcates in them the desire to give back to society.

A doctorate in American Literature from IIT Delhi, Dr. Modi is a person of varied experience in several fields, including the media and has also been a founding member of several other trusts, working for the disadvantaged, including children’s theatre and health; as well the academic journal “Instituionalised Children: Explorations and Beyond”, a journal focused on alternative care of children out of home care. Advocating Child Rights, she has been responsible for organizing many trainings, consultations, national and international conferences on alternative care. She has also presented papers in international conferences.

Recipient of many prestigious awards, Dr. Kiran Modi continues to strive towards ensuring the rights of the underprivileged with the same zeal and passion as she started out decades back.

Dr. Tuhinul I. Khalil, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Management & Development Research, Northern University, Bangladesh

Tuhinul Islam was awarded a Ph.D. for his thesis entitled ‘Residential Child Care: The Experiences of Young People in Bangladesh’ from the University of Edinburgh, UK. He also has an MA in International Child Welfare from the University of East Anglia, UK and an MBA in Human Resource Management. He has 20 years of teaching, research and practical experience in the fields of child care, protection, and welfare. He has published widely internationally and developed over 50 policy papers and guidelines on broader child protection and development issues.

Currently, he is a Senior Research Fellow at Northern University Bangladesh, leading its Children and Families Team, a Director of Education and Child Development Programmes for a national NGO in Bangladesh and a senior advisor for a children’s home catering for over 1200 indigenous children in Bangladesh. He is also a Member of the Board of Governors for the International Child and Youth Care Network

Dr. Monisha Nayar Akhtar, Ph.D., Psychotherapist & Psychoanalyst, USA

Monisha Nayar Akhtar obtained her Masters and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Later, she trained at the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute in adult and child/adolescent analysis. After practicing for over twenty years in Southfield, Michigan, she relocated to suburban Philadelphia and has a practice in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Currently, she is affiliated with the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia where she teaches courses on trauma, object relations and psychoanalytic process. In 2012, she established the Indian Institute of Psychotherapy, New Delhi to offer in-depth workshops on topics related to working therapeutically with children, adolescents and adults. Dr. Akhtar is on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, and supervises psychiatric residents and psychology interns. She is also an adjunct professor at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania and Immaculata University in Malvern, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Deepak Gupta, M.D., Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, India

Deepak Gupta is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist associated with Sir Ganga Ram Hospitals, New Delhi. He holds the privilege of being one of the few qualified Child and Adolescent psychiatrists in India. He is the founder of Centre for Child and Adolescent Wellbeing (CCAW), in New Delhi, which is an exclusive multi-specialty child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) centre for children, young people parents and families. Dr. Gupta is also associated with Udayan care since 2004 and heading the mental health programme, since 2008 he started ‘EHSAAS’, a group for psychologist and school counselors which has been creating mental health awareness among mental health professionals associated with schools in Delhi and NCR. He received ‘Distinguished Services Award’ on Doctors’ Day by Delhi Medical association in 2009, ‘President Appreciation Award’ by Delhi Medical association in 2010 and ‘Eminent Medical Person Award’ by Delhi Medical association in 2011. He is also one of the editors of the academic journal ‘Institutionalised Children : Explorations and Beyond’.

Dr. Alexandra M Harrison, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, USA

Alexandra Murray Harrison, M.D. is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute in Adult and Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis, an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Part Time, Harvard Medical School, at the Cambridge Health Alliance, and on the Core Faculty of the Infant-Parent Mental Health Post Graduate Certificate Program at University of Massachusetts Boston. Dr. Harrison has maintained an active adult and child psychoanalytic and psychiatric private practice and is board certified in both adult and child psychiatry. She has a particular clinical interest in treating preschool children and consulting with their families, and treating children with autistic spectrum disorders. She has developed a parent consultation model and applied the model with numerous families. In the context of consultations with directors of orphanages in Central America and India and a nursing school in India, Dr. Harrison has developed a model for mental health care professionals to volunteer their services to child caregivers in developing countries that involves periodic visits and frequent skype consults in the context of a long-term relationship. She also offers consultation in her blog, supportingchildcaregivers.com. In addition to her clinical work, she has participated in research in various topics, primarily the process of change in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Dr. Harrison has collaborated with colleagues in infant research to develop a clinical model that integrates developmental theory and psychoanalytic theory and to apply the model to various clinical situations. She has co-authored a book on autism and published articles on numerous topics, including body image, play therapy, therapeutic change, and volunteer consultation in developing countries. Dr. Harrison has lectured extensively in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and South America.

Dr. Hiranthi Wijemanne, Fellow of the Sri Lanka College of Physicians, Advisor/Consultant on Children's Issues, Sri Lanka

Dr. Wijemanne, elected as a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. She Developed, planned and organized programmes for the UNICEF Office in Colombo, in collaboration with the Ministries of Health, Education, Child Development and Women’s Affairs, Justice, Labour, Provincial Administration, Planning and Finance. These included Maternal and Child Health, Primary Education, Early Childhood Development, Probation and Child Care, Child Labour, Children in Conflict with the law, and Children affected by the Armed Conflict. Undertook Consultancies for UNICEF in regional Offices in South Asia/Kathmandu, South East Asia/Bangkok, the middle East/Jordan and UNICEF New York. She has been a member of various national and international committees on child rights and protection. Recently she has functioned as Vice Chairperson of the CRC Committee from 2011 to 2015.

Dr. Shantha Sinha, Ph.D, Founder and Secretary Trustee of MV Foundation and former chairperson, National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, India

Dr. Shantha Sinha has a Ph. D. in Political Science from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. She is the Founder Secretary Truste of MV Foundation, Andhra Pradesh and has also served as the chairperson of the National Commission for protection of child rights (NCPCR) for two successive terms. She is also the recipient of Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership as well as the Padmashri from the Government of India for meritorious contribution to social work in 1998. Dr. Sinha also serves on the Board and Executive Committee of several institutions and NGO’S and is involved in evaluation of programs and policies, fact finding committees on violation of children’s rights and on the jury of public hearings on children.


Ms. Helen Lenga, MAPS CCOUNP, Founder and Director of the Gong Shi Project

Helen Lenga is an Australian psychologist with over 30 years’ experience working in the field of trauma as a Psychotherapist, Trainer, Consultant and Supervisor. She is a clinical consultant with the Lighthouse Institute in Melbourne, Australia and spent 2013 and 2014 involved in trauma training of support services for the Royal Commission into Institutionalised Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Helen is a lecturer and supervisor at Latrobe University Master of Counseling and Master of Art Therapy courses. She has a particular interest in the interaction of culture, trauma and attachment and regularly presents her work at Australian and International conferences. In September 2014 she presented in New Delhi, India at the Multi Stakeholders’ Consultation on Aftercare Services. She is the Founder and Director of the Gong Shi Project, an international training program for the mental health and wellbeing of adults, young people and children. She frequently travels to China and more recently India, to deliver training, conference presentations and consultations.

Ms. Janie Cravens, LCSW, Child Welfare & Social Work Global Advisor, The Miracle Foundation; Founder of Adoption Development Resources

Janie Cravens, MSW LCSW, has over 30 years of experience working with children in the field of alternative care. Since the Miracle Foundation was founded in 2000, she has provided guidance to the organization in the areas of child development, attachment, caregiver training, mental health, and best practices in the care of the children.of adults, young people and children. She frequently travels to China and more recently India, to deliver training, conference presentations and consultations.

Ms. Laila Khondkar, Director- Child Rights Governance & Child Protection with Save the Children, Bangladesh
Laila Khondkar is presently working as Director-Child Rights Governance & Child Protection with Save the Children in Bangladesh.She has also worked with the organization in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Liberia. Her areas of interest include addressing violence against children, alternative care, child marriage, child rights monitoring etc. She has conducted research at Centre for International Development (Harvard University), Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies (South Africa), and Institute of Population and Social Research (Mahidol University, Thailand) on HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and access to medicines.She writes regularly on child rights issues.
Mr. Hilal Bhat, Technical Advisor to Government of J&K - Child Protection
Hilal Bhat is Technical Advisor to Government of J&K - Child Protection. Bhat is an MSW from University of Kashmir and a Srinagar based Child Protection Practitioner with fifteen years of experience as part of various organisations including UNICEF. 

With community based child protection as one of his strong areas of interest, Bhat has been a passionate advocate for protection services to children in J&K where children’s well-being often becomes the casualty of unrest. Shutdowns in Kashmir and its impact on children has been a concern for Bhat. In his opinion, the unrest incapacitates parents and cripples the system to deliver wellbeing for children. He has been leading a breakthrough program aiming to help children normalise their lives both in normal and challenging times. The program has been  piloted  and is in the process of scale-up across all Districts of Kashmir
Ms. Charika Marasinghe, Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court, Sri Lanka
Charika Marasinghe is an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and a Solicitor of the United Kingdom. In a career spanning 33 years, she served as a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo for 17 years, as Deputy Chairperson and member of the National Child Protection Authority and a trainer and a resource person in the field of human rights, child rights and women’s rights at diverse conferences and institutions, both local and international. She was also responsible for drafting the five-year strategic plan of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights of the University of Colombo. She has authored inter alia the ‘Manual on Child Abuse’ published by the Sri Lanka Police Department, ‘Sri Lanka Law Directory on Protection of Women and Girl Children’ published by the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs, the ‘Child Protection Policy’ of Caritas, Sri Lanka, and ‘A Study on Child Rights Governance Situation in Bangladesh’ published by Save the Children, Bangladesh. She has just finalised the ‘National Guideline on Prevention of Child Abuse and Exploitation against Children of Sri Lanka’ for the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs of Sri Lanka. Dr. Marasinghe has been a volunteer of Sarvodaya for more than four decades and co-founded the Sarvodaya Children’s Groups in 1969, Sarvodaya Legal Services Movement in 1985 and Sarvodaya ‘Ma Sevana’ in 1999, the first home in Sri Lanka for child/teenage mothers who have been victims of rape. As a trustee of the Vishva Niketan International Peace Centre in Sri Lanka, she co-founded the psychospiritual healing programme for Sri Lankan prison inmates, in 1999. She is responsible for the overall management of the Vishva Niketan International Peace Centre and developing and implementing programmes, workshops and dialogues on inner peace and outer peace. She was the co-recipient of the ‘Women and Engaged Buddhism Award’ (2008) of the Buddhist Council of Midwest, USA, for conceiving a counselling programme for Tsunami survivors, and the recipient of ‘An Outstanding Woman in Buddhism Award’ (2009) from Thailand, for exceptional development of wisdom and compassion in the protection of child rights. At the invitation of the Sri Lanka-India Friendship Society, Dr Marasinghe delivered the 2014 Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Oration entitled ‘Reknitting the torn social fabric of the war-affected communities: Whose responsibility? A Gandhian Perspective’ based on her personal experiences as a human rights and child rights lawyer who travelled extensively in the formerly war affected communities of Sri Lanka and met with hundreds of Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala communities directly affected by the war.
Mr. Arun Dohle, Director of the Brussels based NGO Against Child Trafficking

Mr. Arun Dohle is Director of the Brussels based NGO Against Child Trafficking which advocates for the correct and original implementation of the UNCRC. Further, he has uncovered numerous adoption scandals and litigated on the rights of children in Malawi, Ethiopia and India. He left his job as financial consultant in 2001 in search of his own mother, which brought him into the field of child rights and inter-country adoptions.

Dr. Nilima Mehta, Ph.D. in Child Adoption, serves on the Adoption Advisory Committee of CARA, Government of India

Dr. Nilima Mehta has done extensive work in the area of Child Rights, Child Protection, Family Based Alternative Care like Adoption, Foster Care, and Family Counselling. Dr. Nilima has a Doctorate in Child Adoption in India, and has worked in the field of Child Protection for over forty years. Dr. Nilima is associated with the State and Central Government for Policy Development, Training, Research and Review of National Legislations. Dr. Mehta has been the first Chairperson of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Mumbai. She has been an Advisor and a Consultant with several organizations like UNICEF, CRY, CHILDLINE, ICSW, ICCW, IAPA, FSC. Dr. Nilima Mehta has been the Chair Professor at the TISS and currently is a Visiting Professor at the SNDT, NN, Mumbai University, and TISS. Dr. Mehta is also currently on the Adoption Advisory Committee of CARA, GOI.

Ms. Chathuri Jayasooriya, Independent Psychosocial Practitioner and Consultant with a Special Focus on Children

Ms. Chathuri Jayasooriya is an independent psychosocial practitioner and consultant with a specialfocus on children. She has been working in the field of child rights and protection for 10 years, especially on child rights governance and psychosocial wellbeing. Her work primarily involves advocacy, networking, research, training and the provision of psychosocial support especially for children in residential care and towards strengthening families for the de-institutionalization of children. She currently works on assignment with both government and non-government organizations such as the National Child Protection Authority, Save the Children and SOSChildren’s Villages Sri Lanka.

Mr. Ian Anand Forber Pratt, Director of Advocacy for Children’s Emergency Relief International

Mr. Ian Anand Forber Pratt works in the field of child protection and child care system reform in India, Sri Lanka and globally.

Ian Anand did his Masters in Social Work from Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social work and is currently the Director of Advocacy for Children’s Emergency Relief International. He is passionate about bridging gaps between policy and practice in the field of child care and protection at global and state levels.

He was a drafting committee member for the first national legislation on foster care in the history of India and is instrumental in sponsorship, family strengthening, aftercare and foster care legislation at state, union territory and national levels in India.

He has worked in countries as part of child protection system reform in Eastern Europe, Africa and throughout South Asia.  He consults for international organisations on strategic planning and
theory-of-change development in the field of family-based alternative care.

 His training specializations include

•          Alternative care practice and theories at global, national and state levels
•          Theories of social change in child welfare care reform,
•          Foster Care in the Indian context,
•          Institutional care transition to non-institutional care.
•          Harms of institutional care,
•          De-institutionalisation,
•          Alternative care approaches for children who have been sexually exploited or trafficked, government engagement approaches for NGOs in alternative care interventions.

Personally, Ian Anand is an international adoptee and specialises in therapy with adoptive families both international and domestic in identity, root search and cultural competence.

He deeply believes in every child’s right to family and helps governments, organizations and individuals be part of social change in demanding rigorous standards for children needing care and protection throughout the world.

Ian Anand, his wife and their son Zane are based in New Delhi.

Ms. Nina P Nayak,MSW, Child Rights Advocate, India

Ms. Nina P Nayak is a passionate child rights advocate who has worn several hats during her over three decade long career in the child protection sector. Commencing her career with stints in the non-governmental sector, she has served in the government, statutory bodies and an international working group. She continues to contribute to the child rights movement as a member on committees of several government and non-government bodies. An able administrator, law and policy analyst, practitioner and trainer she remains immersed in accelerating the child rights movement in the country.

Presently, Ms Nayak devotes most her time in building capacities of stakeholders in the child protection area who serve in Children’s Commissions, statutory bodies or with NGOs. She has served at the National Commission for Children as a Member and as the Chair of the Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. She was also a member of the Sub-Committee on Children for the 11th Plan, National Planning Commission of India and the Sexual Harassment Committee of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and on the Governing Council of the Indian Law Institute.

Ms. Nayak has also served as President,  Karnataka State Council for Child Welfare;  Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee, a judicial body under the Juvenile Justice        (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 and Amendment Act 2006;  Secretary, Society for Indian Children’s Welfare, Kolkata; consultant to national and international development agencies and as Secretary of an International Working Group which drafted Guidelines for National and International Adoption and Foster Family Care.

Ms. Nayak is the co-author of a Handbook JUSTICE FOR CHILDREN, which is used nationally as a resource manual on juvenile justice. She has written extensively on child protection issues particularly on monitoring child protection mechanisms and services. Several Children’s Commissions and State governments continue to utilise her services.Widely travelled, she has also had the opportunity to participate and present papers on child protection issues at national and international conferences.

Ms. Mallika Rukminie Samaranayake, Technical Lead - Child Protection in Crisis (CPC) Learning Network, Sri Lanka

Ms. Mallika Rukminie Samaranayake is the Technical Lead for the Child Protection in Crisis Learning Network in Sri Lanka since its establishment in June 2009. It is affiliated to the CPC Learning Network of the Program on Forced Migration and Health (PFMH), Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, USA. In Sri Lanka it is hosted by the Institute for Participatory Interaction in Development (IPID).


Through the functioning of CPC Learning Network close collaboration was established with the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, National Child Protection Authority, Children’s Secretariat and Department of Probation and Child Care services in activities of common interest.


She is the Founder Director / Chairperson of the Institute for Participatory Interaction in Development (IPID) Sri Lanka promoting participatory methodologies in development through training and consultancy services for National, International, Bilateral & UN Agencies with emphasis on Results Based  Monitoring and Evaluation. She has functioned as Team Leader of a large number of research assignments including child focused studies, evaluations and social assessments with consultancy experience over 30 years.


Mallika is a member of the Audit and Evaluation Advisory Committee (AEAC) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  


She is also a Founder member and First President of the Community of Evaluators – South Asia (CoE SA) and represented CoE SA as nominated member of Board Directors of the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE) and EvalPartner Management Group. She was founder member and Past President of the Sri Lanka Evaluation Association (SLEvA) 2006 - 2009. She was a member of the Core Evaluation Team for Phase 2 of the Paris Declaration Evaluation (PDE) and served as Regional Coordinator - Asia / Pacific and PDE Phase 2 Evaluation Team won the “AEA 2012 Outstanding Evaluation Award”. She served as a member of the International Steering Committee of the Joint MFS II Evaluation Program of NWO, Netherlands (2013 – 2015).  

Ms. Shubha Murthi, Deputy COO for SOS Children’s Villages International

Ms. Shubha Murthi is presently the Deputy COO for SOS Children’s Villages International and is based at its Asia office in India. She has around 25 years of experience in managing and leading child care programmes across Asia. She has been actively involved in shaping SOS Children’s Villages policies on Alternative Care, Care Guarantee and Child Safeguarding. Shubha is an alumna of Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University and Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad.

Apart from many honours and awards, she has been bestowed with highest civilian honour, Queens medal ‘Monisaraphoan level of Mohasereyvaddh’, from the Royal Government of Cambodia for her contribution to the field of child care.

Ms. Jeannette Wöllenstein, LL.M. in Comparative Law, Advanced Master in Children’s Rights

Jeannette Wöllenstein holds an LL.M. in Comparative Law and is currently undertaking an Advanced Master in Children’s rights studies. She has worked for the Costa Rican Embassy in Paris and volunteered for UNICEF, Geneva’s Red Cross and a children’s home in Ecuador. She joined ISS three years ago, where she is now working as a Children’s Rights Officer

Dr. Archina Dhar

Dr. Archina Dhar  has more than 25 yrs. Experience working in the Development Sector and over 16 yrs working with the SOS Children’s Villages of India.  Ph.D. Anthropology (Punjab University, Chandigarh) ; Thesis - “Physical growth and nutritional status of rural children in Kashmir”. M.Sc Physical Anthropology (Panjab University, Chandigarh) ; Dissertation – “Nutritional anthropometric profile of tribal school children in the state of Madhya Pradesh”

Currently she heads the advocacy work of the  SOS Children’s Villages of India and is also the National Focal Person for Child Protection which  involves addressing child safeguarding  concerns, building capacities of stakeholders in keeping children safe. She has been actively engaged in advocating for ‘children without parental care’  and was a member of  following   

Working groups set –up by the WCD Ministry   for policy formulation on children:

  • WCD Ministry   and the planning commission for the 11th five year plan recommendation  of the country. She has been a member of the following working Groups: Member, Working Group on ‘Child Development’ – XIth Five Year Plan Recommendations, Planning Commission Govt. of India, 2006.
  • Member, Sub–group on ‘Child Protection’, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, 2006.
  • Member, Working Group on ‘ Foster Care ’ set-up by  WCD Ministry Government of India 2015

For more details, write to bicon@udayancare.org