Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP): 2012 Annual Report

APA's Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP) is one of APA's oldest continuing committees. Founded in 1944, CIRP's first mandate was to advise APA on the rehabilitation of psychological laboratories and libraries in post-World War II Europe. Its present mission is to foster interactions of all kinds between psychologists in the U.S. and colleagues abroad, to promote an international perspective within psychology, to promote the role of psychology within international program, policy and educational settings, and to monitor the rights of psychologists and the use of psychological knowledge internationally. CIRP accomplishes this mission through a variety of programs and activities, guided by GOALS (Global Opportunities and Long-term Strategies), an international strategic plan aligned with APA's strategic plan. CIRP's regular activities include recommendations for APA's international award recipients, selection of international and division grant program recipients, advice to the Office of International Affairs and the APA Board of Directors on international policy and programmatic activities, development of materials to foster international collaboration, and oversight of APA's United Nations (U.N.) representation as a non-governmental organization (NGO) with special consultative status. The Office of International Affairs serves as staff liaison to the Committee.

CIRP Meetings

CIRP met twice in 2012 during the spring and fall consolidated meetings. The 2012 members included Co-Chairs Tina Richardson, PhD and Puncky Heppner, PhD; and members Barbara Byrne, PhD; Jean Chin, EdD, Virginia Kwan, PhD; Chandra Mehrotra, PhD; Bonnie Nastasi, PhD; Susan Opotow, PhD and Chris Stout, PsyD.

CIRP welcomes liaisons from APA Divisions and from external organizations such as the International Union for Psychological Science (IUPsyS), the U.S. National Committee for Psychological Science (USNC), the International Association of Applied Psychology, the International Council of Psychologists and Psi Chi. These liaisons are welcomed to attend the CIRP meetings or to submit written reports on their activities.

As part of its ongoing program to invite world psychology leaders to inform CIRP and APA about current issues in psychology, Ava Thompson, PhD, Associate Professor at the College of the Bahamas, was invited by CIRP to attend the meeting and to speak formally about psychology in the Caribbean. Dr. Thompson's rich presentation on developing psychology that is sensitive to local needs and realities was attended by members of CIRP members, the Board of Directors and members of other governance groups.

CIRP Activities

In keeping with its mission and with the association's aspiration to be a principal leader and global partner in promoting psychological knowledge, CIRP's activities in 2012 included:

  1. A brochure on test use internationally (draft in 2012, completion anticipated in 2013).
  2. A brochure on collaborative international research (draft in 2012, completion anticipated in 2013).
  3. Compilation of articles on ethical issues on international research.
  4. Review of the APA Statement by Joint Committee on Human Rights (from 1984) and of the APA Resolution on Cultural and Gender Awareness in International Psychology (adopted by Council in 2004) (ongoing).

CIRP members also serve as liaisons, monitors and reviewers for other APA governance groups, working groups and task forces:

  • One member of CIRP serves on the APA oversight group for the International LGBT Network (INET).
  • CIRP members serve as monitors to APAGS, BAPPI, BEA, BSA, CDIP, CEMA, CHR, CLGBT, CoA, CONA, CPTA, CSS, CWP, CWF and ECP and the Ethics Committee.
  • CIRP members served as reviewers for the APA/USNC International Travel Mentor Awards and the APF Frances Culbertson Travel Awards.
  • A CIRP member served as a reviewer of the draft report of the Task Force on the Trafficking of Women and Girls.

In addition, CIRP reviewed applications and selection criteria for a number of international awards. The purpose of these awards is to foster international understanding and exchange and to support international scientific and professional collaboration. These awards programs include:

1. Division International Activities Program (DIAG)

Following its spring 2012 meeting, CIRP announced a new division grant program, the Division International Activities Program (DIAG). The purpose of the program is to provide seed money for divisions to promote international activities that are innovative and sustainable.

CIRP gave awards for two proposals; one to Division 5 for a recognition program for international scholars, and a joint proposal from Division 2 and Division 52 to internationalize the Project Syllabus — a web resource for peer-reviewed syllabi. The awardee Divisions will be invited to attend the CIRP-Division breakfast at convention in Hawai'i to present a report on their work.

2. Capacity Building Grants to National Associations

In 2010, CIRP initiated a program to promote capacity building and contribute to the development of psychology around the globe by providing resources to support the development of national psychology associations, primarily in developing countries. Grants have been awarded to the psychology associations in China, Ethiopia, Lebanon, the Philippines, Romania, Sri Lanka and Trinidad and Tobago. In 2012, the Brazilian Association of Social Psychology (BASP) received a grant to publish an annual English language issue of their journal.

3. International Scientific Meeting Awards

Awards were provided to:

  • Interamerican Society of Psychology (SIP) to support the 4th Regional Congress of Psychology in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
  • International Neuropsychological Society (INS) to support student travel to the society's annual congress in Oslo.
  • International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development (ISSBD): for support of graduate student participation.
  • Third School Bullying Symposium in Medellin, Colombia: to support organizational expenses.
4. CIRP Awards

The Board of Directors endorsed CIRP's recommendation that Maria Cristina Richaud, PhD and Fons van de Vijver, PhD receive the 2013 APA Distinguished Contributions to International Psychology, and that M. Brinton Lykes, PhD, receive the 2013 APA International Humanitarian Award.

5. Registration Travel Awards

Attending an international conference is an important way of gaining first-hand international experience. In 2012, 28 awards were given for U.S. psychologists to attend conferences in the Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain and Turkey. The majority of the applicants attended the International Congress of Psychology in South Africa.

6. Convention Travel and Registration Awards for International Attendees

International attendance at the APA convention enriches the content and context of programming, is an excellent vehicle for fostering international understanding and exchange, and fosters the development of international scientific and professional collaboration. In response to a request from CIRP to address attendance costs for international affiliates from low-income countries, the Board of Convention Affairs recommended that the Board of Directors allocate tax abatement funds to subsidize 2012 convention registration fees and travel for international attendees. Twenty-two awards were given to convention attendees from Argentina, Azerbaijan, Brazil, China, Egypt, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Israel, Nigeria, the North Marianas Islands, Palestine, Spain, Taiwan and the United Kingdom, including 14 students, six early career and two senior career psychologists.

CIRP Sponsored 2012 Convention Program

Presidents Initiative

At the 2012 convention, APA invited the presidents of national psychology associations from around the world. The presidents or senior officials from 19 organizations in 18 countries attended convention. Working with the Office of International Affairs, CIRP planned the presidents' convention program and facilitated their activities.

CIRP was allotted three hours of convention programming and sponsored the following sessions in Orlando:

  • Symposium (1 hour contributed by the Board of Directors): Panel Discussion with International Psychology Association Presidents on Health, Education and Global Partnerships (Suzanne Bennett Johnson, PhD, Chair).
  • Symposium (2 hours, 1 hour co-sponsored with Policy and Planning Board): Vulnerable Peoples Worldwide — Psychology and the UN Agenda (Janet Sigal, PhD, Chair); Participants from APA's UN team.
  • Roundtable Discussion (1 hour, co-listed with APAGS): Psychology Without Borders — International Teaching, Research and Service (Chandra Mehrotra, PhD, and Eleanor McMahon, MEd, Co-Chairs).

CIRP hosted two social hours:

  • The annual Reception for International Visitors, hosted by CIRP, with co-listing by Division 52 and the International Council of Psychologists (ICP).
  • Division Liaison Breakfast. At this breakfast CIRP has an opportunity to hear updates from Division liaisons and to facilitate the development of CIRP-Division collaborative activities.

APA provides hours for invited addresses by the APA international award winners.

Other Activities

APA at the United Nations

APA holds NGO special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the U.N. and is accredited as an NGO to the Department of Public Information (DPI) of the U.N. APA's NGO team at the U.N. New York headquarters (seven representatives, special projects associates, student interns), is a sub-committee of CIRP.

In collaboration with other psychology NGOs at the U.N., the APA representatives plan and participate in the annual Psychology Day at the United Nations. The theme for 2012 was Human Rights for Vulnerable People.

APA Representatives serve on a variety of U.N. Committees including ageing, the family, human settlements, sustainable development, the status of women, mental health, children's rights, human rights, UNICEF, HIV/AIDS and the planning committee of DPI (Department of Public Information). The 2012 Annual Report on the APA NGO Representation at the United Nations is available as part of the 2013 February Council agenda.

Memoranda of Understanding with National Psychology Associations

APA signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with Japan and with Spain during the 2012 convention in Orlando. To date, APA has an MOU with ten countries.

MOUs are signed in English and the local MOU partner's language.

APA International Learning Partner Program

In 2012 APA hosted a delegation of psychologists for a trip to Cuba, held in collaboration with Professionals Abroad. Reports from this first trip were very positive and APA began planning for a second trip for 2013. The second trip will include modifications suggested by feedback from the first one, such as an additional day for a "mini-conference" of academic and applied psychology exchange, and additional time for informal discussion with Cuban colleagues.

The choice of future program host countries will be made by the APA Central office, with the advice and input from CIRP.