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Dr Hani Henry

Professor Hani Henry is a full professor of psychology and the current Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HUSS) at the American University in Cairo. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Miami University of Ohio, USA in 2006. His research has focused on the central role of culture (broadly defined), and its impact on a wide array of psychological processes experienced by members of marginalized and underprivileged populations. For example, his research has examined cultural issues related to the psychological experiences of immigrants, refugees, Egyptian women, and gay men.

Professor Henry is the former chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology and Egyptology at the American University in Cairo. He also founded the MA program in counseling and community psychology. He is a current member of the American Psychological Association (APA), DIV45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race), and DIV52 (International Psychology).

Construing Resilience as a Relational and Transactional Process: A Cultural Perspective

Resilience has often been conceptualized as a measure of personal hardiness, invulnerability and self-sufficiency. However, Froma Walsh has argued that resilience is a process that involves positive adaptation within the context of significant adversity. She also noted that resilience is an ongoing interaction between nature and nurture that is encouraged by supportive relationships. Guided by this relational and transactional understanding of resilience, this session examines a variety of sociocultural factors that would strengthen the resilience of Egyptian women and members of certain marginalized groups in Egypt. It also examines how resilience can be fostered through a healthy adaptation to numerous adverse conditions that these populations often face in Egypt.

Case studies of Egyptian women have suggested that their resilience is manifested in their ability to change the conditions that oppress them by having both a psychological sense of personal control as well as a concern for having social influence, political power and legal rights. This resilience is also fostered by their ability to develop locally developed strategies such as careful negotiation with men, educating their children about the negative effects of gender inequalities, and inspiring the new generation to change the status quo.

On the other hand, case studies of other marginalized groups in Egypt have suggested that their resilience is strengthened by their ability to identify the conditions that marginalize and demean them as well as their efforts to change these conditions. They also use strategies that allow them to integrate their different identities within the demands and expectations of the host or dominant culture.

Dr Hani Henry
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