March 30, 2011

Psychologists Celebrate the 4th Annual Psychology Day at the United Nations

Universal access to education to be addressed as major initiative

WASHINGTON—Psychologists who represent NGOs (non-governmental organizations) at the United Nations will hold the 4th Psychology Day at the United Nations on April 14.

The theme of this year's conference is “Reach Them, Teach Them: The Role of Psychology in Achieving Universal Access to Education.” Achieving universal education is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals that governments of the world agreed to reach by the year 2015.  

Psychology Day at the United Nations is an annual event sponsored by psychology organizations that have Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status with the UN Department of Public Information and the Economic and Social Council. The event offers UN staff, ambassadors and diplomats, NGO representatives and students, the opportunity to learn what psychologists contribute to the United Nations, to exchange ideas and to establish multi-stakeholder relationships on global issues.

“Providing universal education is fundamental to solving global problems,” said Deanna Chitayat, Co-Chair of the organizing committee for Psychology Day and Main Representative to the UN of the American Psychological Association, who will deliver opening remarks at the conference. “With 100 million children globally who are not attending primary school, psychologists must be in the forefront of finding out ‘Why?’ and answering ‘How?’” 

Chitayat adds that besides education, issues addressed by psychologists at the UN range from ageing and trauma to social development, peace, human rights, organizational effectiveness, and rights of women, children, families, refugees and the disabled. 

The keynote address on “The Pivotal Role of the Family in their Child’s Learning” will be delivered by noted family psychologist Florence Kaslow. The morning session, held at a UN venue (to be announced, check website), constitutes a briefing by the UN Department of Public Information (DPI).  Moderated by DPI Chief, NGO Relations, Maria-Luisa Chavez, panelists include Dr. Barbara G. Reynolds, Senior Advisor, Education, UNICEF, speaking on the role of psychology in achieving universal education; the President of the InterAmerican Society of Psychology Maria Regina Maluf from Brazil, addressing methods to teach children endangered by poverty; Columbia University Professor Henry Levin, discussing the education of rural migrants in urban China; and Liberian refugee Foday Sackor, sharing personal experiences about education in war-torn Liberia.

The afternoon session will begin with Opening Remarks by Dr. Carol Goodheart, Past President of the American Psychological Association.

  • Afternoon workshops at the Salvation Army building on East 52nd Street will address innovative ideas for education in Honduras, Madagascar, and Uganda; education in challenging settings, including Haiti and Africa; and applications of technology in education.

Admission is free. A reception after the sessions will be held at the nearby Alcala Restaurant for a small fee ($40, students $15). Registration is required but limited due to space and security issues. Visit the UN Psychology Day website for more information.

Psychological organizations supporting the event are: the American Psychological Association; the International Association of Applied Psychology; the International Council of Psychologists; the Association for Trauma, Outreach, and Prevention (; the International Union of Psychological Science; and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

For more information, contact Deanna Chitayat or Mary O'Neill Berry