Dr. Kawkab Alwadeai was the National Stress Counsellor for some 4,000 United Nations staff and their families in Yemen from 2013 to 2015.
Originally from Yemen, Dr. Kawkab Alwadeai, lost her great aunt’s family (4 children and 2 adults) by Saudi airstrikes missiles on the first day of Saudi airstrikes in Yemen. She escaped the death with her family three times. As a child, Dr. Kawkab Alwadeai suffered from rickets but was misdiagnosed in Yemen, causing her to spend 10 years indoors. After this ordeal, she was given the opportunity to receive the appropriate treatment in Jordan. However, she still experiences consequences from delayed treatment to this day. She also lost her father due to kidney failure that was left untreated. Such traumatic experiences have fueled her passion to help others in Yemen receive necessary, and often, life-saving treatment.
Even though she left Yemen in 2017, she continues to provide mental health support online for Yemenis. She works tirelessly to recruit mental health experts and organizations in Europe and North America to help BPS provide mental health support and training courses to war victims and mental health workers in Yemen.
In 2019 Dr. Kawkab gave a lecture at the University of Ottawa, hosted by the Department of International Development and Globalization. During the lecture, she referred to her initiative to help war victims, and facilitate peacebuilding strategies back home in Yemen. This sparked the interest of six graduate students, dedicated to providing assistance in establishing the Bridges to Peace and Solidarity initiative. In 2021, this initiative was registered as a Canadian non-profit organization.