Adam Knowles, PgDip

Adam Knowles, PgDip

Adam Knowles is a London-based existential psychotherapist with a past career leading technology teams. Current interests are crypto/blockchain and psychedelics, particularly ayahuasca, and their intersection with psychotherapy.
Adam Knowles, PgDip

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Dr. Leonardo Pérez, an experienced Colombian researcher, working with Maloca Internationale, recently announced plans for a new pilot study into the therapeutic benefits of ayahuasca for those affected by genocide. Dr. Pérez hopes the Kurdish authorities will approve and support the research.

in 2016 an unknown number of Yazidi people, particularly women and children, suffered psychological harm and trauma due to the genocide

The study would draw on participants from the Yazidi religious minority who have been deeply affected in recent years by oppression, war, and human rights abuses. According to the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, in 2016 an unknown number of Yazidi people, particularly women and children, suffered psychological harm and trauma due to the genocide of the Yazidi religious minority in Syria and Iraq by Islamic State, and had no access to therapeutic services. The study would initially work with a group of ten Yazidi women.

The Maloca Internationale tipi outside in United Nations in the Place des Nations,  Geneva, Switzerland, with the support of Mos-Espa and Iceers. Credit photo: Joshua Bloom.

Dr. Pérez now seeks to explore the scientific, cultural and legal barriers to the use of ayahuasca in a scientific study in the Middle East.

Dr. Pérez was invited to speak at a conference held in Erbil, the capital of the Autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq, on August 15, 2018. The conference was organized to mark the 4th anniversary of the Yazidi genocide. He introduced the possibility of an ayahuasca-based study, given the historical and contemporary use of ayahuasca for healing among indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in South America. His experience in Colombia was that the use of ayahuasca indicated encouraging results toward healing in communities affected by war, including physical and sexual violence. Dr. Pérez now seeks to explore the scientific, cultural and legal barriers to the use of ayahuasca in a scientific study in the Middle East.

The announcement followed interest and contacts made at an event organized by Maloca Internationale during the annual session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples from July 9–13, in 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Pérez took part in a roundtable discussion there with a delegation of Kurdish people to address the merits of plant medicine and the human rights situation in the Middle East. The delegation signaled broad support for his proposal, though there are barriers to consider, including the legality of ayahuasca in the region and the shipment of ayahuasca across borders.

“If the Kurdish authorities remain interested in the subject, Maloca Internationale will request cooperation to carry out the pilot project, for which I can prepare a proposal on costs and timings.”

The Maloca Internationale panel meets during the 2018 annual session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, hosted by the UN in Geneva, Switzerland. From left to right: Dr. Leonardo R. Perez, Dr. Constanza Sanchez (Iceers), H.E. Olmer Torrejón (Plurinational State of Bolivia), Dr. José Carlos Bouso (Iceers), Sonia Murcia (Maloca Internationale), Henry Deletra (artist). Credit photo: Joshua Bloom.

Speaking to Chacruna.net, Dr. Pérez said, “If the Kurdish authorities remain interested in the subject, Maloca Internationale will request cooperation to carry out the pilot project, for which I can prepare a proposal on costs and timings.” 

If you’d like to know more about or support the proposed research from Dr. Pérez, please contact us.