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APA Representatives Participate in First Annual Psychology Day at the United Nations

The objective of Psychology Day at the United Nations includes providing an opportunity for UN Ambassadors, staff, and other NGO representatives to be aware of the presence of psychologists at the UN as well as to know what psychology has to offer to the United Nations.

By Florence L. Denmark

Psychologists at the United Nations are planning an event to celebrate the first Psychology Day at the United Nations. The “day” will begin on the afternoon of Wednesday October 10, 2007 and extend into Thursday October 11, 2007.  Psychologists from the American Psychological Association (APA), the International Association for Applied Psychology (IAAP), the International Council of Psychologists (ICP), the International Union of Psychological Sciences (IUPsyS), the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA), and the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) will all be represented. 

The objective of Psychology Day at the United Nations includes providing an opportunity for UN Ambassadors, staff, and other NGO representatives to be aware of the presence of psychologists at the UN as well as to know what psychology has to offer to the United Nations. Additionally, this will be a chance for other psychologists and students outside of the United Nations to learn about psychology’s role at the United Nations. Illustrating the relevance of psychology as a discipline to addressing issues of global concern will be emphasized. 

On Wednesday afternoon 10/10/07, the conference will be introduced by Dr. Florence Denmark, main representative of the APA’s UN/NGO Team. Norman Anderson, CEO of the American Psychological Association, will then present opening remarks. Three panels will follow. The first panel will be composed of representatives from the psychological organizations noted above who will describe their work at the U.N. in order to bring psychological issues/perspectives to the forefront. Each speaker representing each group will talk about their organization, when it was first affiliated with the UN, and some of the activities of their members at the United Nations. 

The second panel will focus on “Peace and Conflict Resolution” and will be chaired by Dr. Peter Walker from SPSSI. One presenter will be Dr. Morton Deutsch, who is well-known for his work in social psychology and specifically, in conflict resolution.

The third panel will address “Human Rights and the World of Work.” The panel will be chaired by Dr. Walter Reichman, an industrial/ organizational psychologist, from the International Association for Applied Psychology. The afternoon will conclude with a reception.

On Thursday morning 10/11/07, the United Nations’ Department of Public Information (DPI) weekly briefing will be devoted to Psychology Day. It will begin with a video on disaster relief which will be followed by an expert panel on “Psychological Responses to Disasters.” Dr. Gerard Jacobs, winner of the APA’s Humanitarian Award, will be the featured speaker. October 11th is also the Celebration of World Mental Health Day. This year, the theme for the day is “Mental Health in a Changing World: The Impact of Culture and Diversity.”

Goals
This conference should provide a valuable exchange of ideas between psychologists, diplomats and students. We also hope to establish relationships that will continue following the conference. Above all we want to illustrate the emerging role of psychology in international affairs. Ψ