A report on 2013 summer regional conferences: ECP and SIP

In July 2013, APA governance and staff participated in the 13th European Congress of Psychology and the 34th Interamerican Congress of Psychology.

Held half a world away, two major regional conferences of psychology presented strong scientific programs and addressed how psychology can engage in a world of application and relevance.

European Congress of Psychology (ECP)

From left to right: Tor Levin Hofgaard, Norwegian Psychological Association president; Saths Cooper, IUPsyS president; Donald Bersoff, APA president; Robert Roe, EFPA president; and José Maria Pieró, IAAP president.The Stockholm Congress Centre was home to the 13th European Congress of Psychology, where participants from across Europe and the world met. APA President Donald Bersoff was joined at the conference by APA staff from ethics, education, international affairs and publications, as well as many other U.S. colleagues. During the three days there were over 150 sessions of lectures, symposia, round table discussions, panel debates and close to 100 poster sessions.

During the opening ceremony, participants enjoyed culture, inspiration and celebration. Young musicians opened the session, with music for cello and piano, and closed it with the addition of a young tenor vocalist. Robert Roe, president of the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (EFPA), gave the opening speech, calling psychologists to recognize and address world-level challenges.

Three prizes were awarded celebrating excellence in psychology. First, the Aristotle Prize for distinguished contributions from a European psychologist was awarded to Niels Birbaumer, a psychologist at the University of Tübingen who is developing brain-computer interfaces to allow patients who are unable to control muscle movements to interact with their worlds. The Wilhelm Wundt-William James Award, which recognizes both distinguished contributions and the promotion of cooperation between Europe and North America, was awarded to Jean Pettifor, a Canadian psychologist, for her long standing and seminal work in ethics. Lastly, the Comenius Early Career Award was given to Wilhelm Hofmann, a German psychologist at the University of Chicago who studies self-regulation and consumer, health and moral decision-making.

Interamerican Congress of Psychology (SIP)

Brazilian graduate students arranging books at the APA booth.The theme of the 34th Interamerican Congress of Psychology, held at the University Center of Brasilia, in Brazil’s capital city, was "Integration, Diversity, Knowledge." The meeting, attended by about 1,800 colleagues from countries throughout the Americas, as well as international guests, spanned three days of talks, plenaries, round tables, symposia, posters and debates. APA President Donald Bersoff gave a plenary talk on psychologists’ ethical responsibilities to protect victims from potential violence. APA also participated in a round table meeting with ANPEPP, the Brazilian organization that joins graduate departments of psychology and also supports research work groups.

The university setting was conducive to conversation and exchange. There was an outdoor exhibit and lounge area where congress-goers could meet, talk and learn about national and international organizations. They could also, on the last day of the conference, visit APA’s books booth, enthusiastically set up and staffed by several of the more than 60 student volunteers.

In addition to the strong scientific program that spanned all areas of psychology, the organizers made a concerted public outreach with films of question and answer with congress attendees and engagement by local agencies and clinics.