APA’s divisions represent the diversity and breadth of the many substantive areas represented across APA.
The Office of International Affairs (OIA) and the Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP) support division activities that involve international members and affiliates and that address international initiatives.
The purpose of this brochure is to provide information to division leaders, on:
Activities of the Office of International Affairs;
Activities of the Committee on International Relations in Psychology;
CIRP’s liaison activities with divisions;
Activities of APA’s International Division (52);
International activities at convention;
Division hosting of international visitors at convention;
Opportunities for collaboration and cooperative activity in furthering an international agenda.
About the Office of International Affairs
APA’s Office of International Affairs (OIA) coordinates the association’s international activities, including:
Representation at major international meetings and congresses;
Exchange with global and regional organizations focused on application and policy;
Communication and exchange with national and regional psychological associations outside the United States;
Staff support to the Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP);
Support for APA’s non-governmental organization (NGO) representation at the United Nations;
Collaboration with other U.S.-based organizations on international issues.
The Office of International Affairs publishes a newsletter, Psychology International, compiles directories of national and international psychological organizations around the world, develops FAQ pages for students and international colleagues and maintains web resource pages.
See the Office of International Affairs for descriptions of other projects and activities designed to promote an international perspective and international interaction.
About the Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP)
Founded in 1944, the Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP) has a broad mission to:
Encourage and support the free circulation of psychologists, ideas and information;
Promote and assist attendance at international meetings, exposure to world psychological literature and international exchange at all levels of training;
Promote an international perspective in the teaching of psychology;
Increase sensitivity to cultural and linguistic variance;
Encourage the advancement of psychological knowledge that is relevant to international affairs and the application to policy;
Monitor the rights of psychologists, abuse of psychological knowledge and abuses of human rights in the international context;
Initiate and maintain communication with international and regional organizations of psychologists in other countries and with other national and international associations of psychologists.
The committee consists of nine elected members and liaisons representing the USNC/International Union of Psychological Science, other international psychology organizations and APA Divisions.
CIRP and APA Divisions
CIRP maintains a network of liaisons designated by each division president or executive committee to work with CIRP and the Office of International Affairs.
Interaction with division liaisons takes many forms:
Division liaisons receive the minutes of CIRP’s semi-annual meetings;
Division liaisons are invited to participate in CIRP’s agenda by submitting written reports on their division’s current international activities and proposals for possible division/CIRP collaborations;
Division liaisons are encouraged to attend CIRP meetings (at division expense);
CIRP convenes a breakfast meeting for division presidents and liaisons at the annual APA convention; and
CIRP contacts division liaisons about special international opportunities for division feedback and interaction.
Selecting Division Liaisons
Each year in January, division presidents receive a request to review and confirm or appoint their division’s designated liaison. In making this selection, divisions are encouraged to choose a liaison who will be an active conduit between the Division Executive Committee, division members and CIRP. Download the Division Liaison appointment form (PDF, 63KB)
At every APA convention, division presidents and liaisons are invited to a special breakfast meeting for discussion of international opportunities, and to brainstorm ways for divisions to collaborate on international projects and to collaborate with CIRP. You can review the minutes from these meetings online.
Other CIRP-Division Activities
CIRP works with divisions to attract international members and to publicize division international activities.
An APA-division international membership drive (2010)
CIRP-sponsored division poster session on international outreach (2011)
Convention travel grant program for international division speakers (with division match)
International Activities Across Divisions
CIRP provides information and outreach to encourage divisions to partner with other APA groups, including:
Many of APA’s 56 divisions have international sections, committees or special interest groups.
APA’s Division 52 (International) welcomes collaboration.
The APA graduate student association —APAGS— has an active international email list. APAGS can partner to develop resources and information for international students in the U.S. and for U.S. students wishing to study abroad.
Other International Resources within APA
About Division 52 (International Psychology)
The Division of International Psychology (Division 52) seeks to develop a psychological science and practice that is contextually informed, culturally inclusive, serves the public interest and promotes global perspectives within and outside of APA. The division represents the interest of all psychologists who foster international connections, engage in multicultural research or practice or are otherwise concerned with individual and group consequences of global events.
To encourage the development of a more international perspective in psychology, Division 52:
Sponsors programming at the annual convention to stimulate interest in and share information about international psychology;
Provides networking opportunities for psychologists from around the world;
Promotes the development of international consulting, training, and research opportunities for psychologists with U.S. based international agencies and exchange programs with international agencies based elsewhere;
Encourages the internationalization of the psychology curriculum through educational initiatives and resources;
Provides a welcoming “home base” for APA’s international affiliates during conventions.
Division activity is the lifeblood of the APA convention —with programming, division hospitality activities and social events galore. Convention is also a time to invite and host international colleagues —all of APA’s 7000 international members and affiliates are encouraged to come to convention, and a sizeable number of other international colleagues are invited to participate in convention programs. Typically, around 300 international psychologists are invited speakers or have their programs accepted for presentation, and around 600 international colleagues register for convention.
Hosting International Colleagues
As divisions prepare for the next APA convention, it is important to make special hospitality plans for your international colleagues. In many parts of the world it is expected that invited speakers and presenters will be treated as honored guests, and it is important to extend that courtesy to visitors to the convention. This is particularly true for colleagues who may not have previously attended an APA convention, who are unfamiliar with the convention city or who do not speak English as a first language.
We encourage you to be sure that the division identifies those international colleagues who are part of division programming and makes special arrangements for their convention experience.
The following tips may help anticipate some of the expectations and needs that an international presenter may have when preparing for and attending the APA convention, and may assist you and your speakers in preparing for a successful and memorable convention experience.
Preparing for Convention
- Notify your international presenters as early as possible that their presentations have been accepted. Travelers to the convention are advised to apply for a visa at least four months before they plan to travel to the U.S., and many may need to seek funding.
- Presenters may need documentation for obtaining a visa, leave from work or financial support. APA provides a generic letter of invitation, and will provide a personalized letter on request. Please inform presenters of these resources when you accept their submissions. In addition, it is typical for presenters to request a letter from the program chair concerning their presentation.
- Divisions are advised to decline sending letters to governmental institutions (please contact the Office of International Affairs for these requests); APA does not send letters of invitation directly to consulates or other governmental agencies.
- APA registers its annual convention with the International Visitors Office (IVO) of the National Academies of Science Board on International Science Organizations. The IVO shares this information with the U.S. Department of State and it is disseminated to consular offices worldwide. The IVO also offers assistance to those experiencing visa delays.
- Be prepared to field questions from international presenters about grants or other resources to cover the costs of attending convention.
- The Office of International Affairs administers competitive travel grants that can cover the cost of convention registration and provide a modest travel supplement for APA International Affiliates, students and psychologists outside the U.S. and Canada. Divisions are encouraged to provide a funding match!
- When possible, the OIA makes available information about low-cost housing on the International Office convention website.
Preparing for Convention — Follow-up
- Follow up with international presenters to see that they receive their schedule card from the Convention Office, and if needed, have ordered equipment for their presentation.
- Make sure your presenters are familiar with the basic convention structure and organization. Be prepared to answer general questions about convention —about registration and housing– and to contact the Convention Office and Office of International Affairs on their behalf.
Just Before Convention
- Communicate with your invited speakers and international colleagues to confirm their arrival dates and that they have secured convention housing, and ask whether they have any questions.
- Encourage your international attendees to look at online convention information —from the Office of International Affairs to APA’s directorates and APAGS to your division programming to the online APA program.
- Once in the convention city, call at the hotel to be sure that the visitor has arrived, is comfortably established in the hotel and knows how to get to and from the convention center.
- Encourage all international attendees to visit the APA International booth located near the registration area —the booth will provide them with a wealth of information about APA’s international programs as well as a list of international attendees, a special badge ribbon for international guests and sign-up forms for newsletters and membership.
- Encourage all international attendees to attend the annual Reception for International Visitors. This hour-long event is a terrific place for making contacts and finding likeminded colleagues. It is listed in the program.
- Especially for Invited Speakers: Arrange to meet invited speakers for coffee or a meal on the day of their presentation. If you are not planning to take them to the session, be sure that they understand where the meeting room is located.
- Personally invite all international visitors to your division social hour and other events where they will be able to meet colleagues with shared professional interests.
- Encourage international colleagues to visit the Division 52 (International) hospitality suite for programming and socializing.
- Be sure that the person responsible for introductions can correctly pronounce the international speaker’s name, university affiliation and other data.
Information from Divisions about Programming
Once your division programming is entered into the data base, please send a list of all your programming with international presenters or on an international theme to the Office of International Affairs. Each year, the OIA publishes an international program booklet with all programming on international topics and with a directory of all international presenters organized by country. This booklet is available on the web and at the APA International Booth at convention. Your participation in sending information about your division programming (including suite programs) will help make this resource as comprehensive as possible and will generate publicity for your programs.
There are frequent opportunities for the direct involvement of divisions and division members in ongoing international activities. The OIA and CIRP welcome ideas for division collaboration and initiatives. Here are some current opportunities:
The Office of International Affairs serves as a central point of contact for most of APA’s 7,000 or so international members and international affiliates. Many divisions have instituted an international affiliate section for international colleagues with substantive division interests. The Office of International Affairs is prepared to work with divisions on joint membership programs (APA and division affiliate status). Please contact the international office to plan joint international membership outreach.
ROMEO: International Expertise Database
APA's Committee on International Relations is seeking nominations for a roster of psychologists with international expertise outside the U.S. Information in the roster (Roster of Members with Expertise Outside the US —ROMEO) will be used to nominate colleagues as speakers, reviewers and contacts for substantive issues from an international perspective. The roster will also cross-reference psychologists by area of expertise and geographical area.
U.N. Speakers’ Bureau
The CIRP-U.N. Speakers Bureau is a list of experts who are willing to be nominated to speak at U.N. events organized by APA’s NGO representatives to the U.N. The U.N. Speakers Bureau includes APA members living in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut area who are willing to speak without charge at the U.N. and who are both experts in their field and effective communicators.
Divisions are asked to send endorsed names, contact information and substantive areas of expertise of division members who could speak on topics central to the U.N. goals. Categories of expertise relevant to U.N. opportunities include but are not limited to: children’s mental health, women’s mental health, disarmament, indigenous people, racism and related intolerances, physical health (especially HIV/AIDS), aging, disaster relief, human rights, sustainable development, refugees, peace and security, humanitarian affairs, poverty and family.
Nominations for the Speakers Bureau may be sent to the OIA.
As part of its information dissemination at the United Nations, the Office of International Affairs coordinates the development of brochures outlining psychological research on issues relevant to the U.N. mandate. These brochures are made available to U.N. NGOs and diplomatic missions. The goal in the brochures is to provide a short, easy-to- read summary of psychological research and application. The OIA welcomes collaboration with divisions on the development of brochures on topics represented by the U.N. millennium development goals such as healthy ageing, gender equality, education, eradicating violence and poverty, combating HIV/AIDS, global climate change, migration, early child development. Please contact the Office of International Affairs for further information.