Friend and Colleague is Honoured with Major Award
At the close of the EMDR Europe Conference in Valencia in June, The Trauma Aid Europe (TAE) Humanitarian Award 2022 was presented for outstanding contributions to Humanitarian Activity and Global Trauma Capacity Building. It feels right to reproduce the citation in full below in honour of our friend and colleague Sian Morgan.
Tessa Prattos (Chair of the TAE Humanitarian Award) takes up the story with contributions from John Henry, Shiraz Farrand and Ginny Dobson.
The board of Trauma Aid Europe had unanimously voted for this year’s recipient before the sudden, shocking news of her passing on April 25th, 2022. Due to the gravity of her illness, we made every effort that she was told she was the recipient of this year’s Trauma Aid Europe Humanitarian Award.
A truly inspirational member of our EMDR therapy international community, she was an accredited psychotherapist with BACP and BABCP, having practiced in Brighton and Hove for more than 25 years and having integrated EMDR into her clinical work since 1999.
She was an inspiring EMDR Europe accredited trainer and consultant. She was described as an extraordinary and gentle teacher who inspired people of so many cultures and nationalities living in the most challenging circumstances to do their best. She respected all and this showed n how she spoke to others, with genuine respect and understanding of differences.
Following the atrocities of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sian became a woman with a mission and the driving force behind the establishment of HAP UK-now Trauma Aid UK- an independent charitable organisation. The war in Bosnia had left many of its citizens traumatised and in need of psychological healing. Prof Mevludin Hasanovic had contacted her asking for help and she responded. Always holding in mind Lao Tzu’s quote: “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach him how to fish, and he can feed himself for the rest of his life.” This was her philosophy to train people in the country where the trauma had taken place so that an enduring resource remained.
As the founder and President of Trauma Aid UK since 2009, she led and promoted its work in a firm and egalitarian way. Under her presidency, the original committee went on to support several cohorts of mental health workers in Bosnia to train in EMDR and support their growth so that in 2016 they had their first national EMDR Association conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
Meanwhile, trainings began across the Middle East, starting in 2015 in Istanbul followed by further trainings (working with Mona Zaghrout, the Palestinian EMDR trainer) in response to the Syrian crisis. By September 2017, Sian had gathered a group of Arabic-speaking facilitators around her who were able to support her as a trainer as she offered training in Gaziantep for people from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries. These endeavors have continued until the present, with various trainers supporting the training of more people affected by political and violent conflict in their home countries. She also expanded EMDR trainings in North Africa and Iraq, the latter being a divided society in recent times. Naturally, her colleagues wondered how they could train under these conditions, but, always the diplomat, she built a network of therapists from different communities. As a friend and colleague of hers wrote: “if only the politicians would learn from her example, a reassuring reminder that when the actions of the minority take humanity a few steps backward, many good people step forward.”
After the spate of national terror attacks and disasters in Manchester and London in 2017, her vision to set up a Trauma Response Network in the UK – a national association that could immediately respond to mass trauma, was achieved under her guidance. Once this organisation became independent from Trauma Aid UK, she quietly stepped back without ever being in the spotlight.
The core mission of the organisations she founded embodies her unwavering commitment to selfless, compassionate service.
A friend and colleague wrote about her, recalling the end of Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ poem ‘You were made for this’ ….
“So I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in the harbour and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for”. And the friend went on to write: “You are one of those great ships in the EDMR community, and today we write on your wall that you were indeed made for this”.
John Henry received the award to pass it on to her partner Neil and her family. The auditorium fell silent for a minute to honour Sian’s life and immense contribution.