Nine years ago Ian Stewart was an up-and-coming journalist, having risen from the reporting ranks of UPI and The Associated Press to head up the AP’s West Africa bureau at just 32 years of age; it was a time when wars wracked the African continent from Uganda and the Congos to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea-Bissau. Tracing his career trajectory as a war correspondent, Ste
wart examines the conflicts he covered from pre-Taliban Afghanistan to post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia and onward to Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Kashmir; in a whirlwind seven-year stint overseas Stewart travelled to 46 countries to cover eight major coups, insurgencies and other regional conflicts. All the while, he skirted bullets, RPGs and landmines in a series of experiences that would change him forever. On Jan. 10, 1999 his reporting career came to a sudden end when a single bullet from an AK-47 fired by a boy soldier in Sierra Leone punched through Stewart’s skull and lodged at the back of his brain. That wound left him partially paralyzed and clinging to a 20 percent chance of survival. In his book, Ambushed (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2002) Stewart tells of his recovery both from the bullet and from crippling emotional scars that afflicted him after years of witnessing humanity’s carnage and destruction. Nearly a decade later, Stewart continues to cope with the aftereffects of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), his physical injuries and survivor guilt. Now a doctoral student at the University of Michigan, Stewart is focusing his energies on studying the effects of trauma on former child soldiers, their families and communities in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Dr. Feinstein received his medical degree in South Africa. Thereafter he completed his training in Psychiatry at the Royal Free Hospital in London, England, before training as a neuropsychiatrist at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square in London. His Master of Philosophy and Ph.D. Degree were obtained through the University of London, England. He is currently aProfessor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.
His Neuropsychiatry research focuses on the search for cerebral correlates of behavioral disorders associated with multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, and hysteria (Conversion Disorders). In patients with MS, detailed Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) studies have shed light on the pathogenesis of depressive disorders and current work is exploring brain changes associated with pathological laughing and crying. His work in the field of Conversion Disorder has involved developing functional MRI paradigms that complement psychoanalytic interpretations of why patients develop disabling, quasi-neurological symptoms. Finally, Dr. Feinstein is involved in a series of studies unrelated to Neuropsychiatry but nevertheless of relevance to current issues within our society. The questions being addressed are: How are journalists affected emotionally by their work in war zones and what motivates them to pursue such dangerous occupations?
In 2000-2001 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study mental health issues in post-apartheid Namibia. This led to the development of that country’s first rating scale for mental illness. He is currently engaged on a similar project in Botswana.
Dr. Feinstein is the author of Dangerous Lives: War and the Men and Women Who Report It (Thomas Allen, Toronto 2003); The Clinical Neuropsychiatry of Multiple Sclerosis (Cambridge University Press 1999, with a second edition due out in 2007); In Conflict (New Namibia Books, 1998), an autobiographical account of his time as a medical officer in the Angolan and Namibian wars; and Michael Rabin, America’s Virtuoso Violinist (Amadeus Press, 2005). His new book, Journalists Under Fire: the Psychological Hazards of Covering War (Johns Hopkins University Press) was published in the fall of 2007. He has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and has authored many book chapters.