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2008 CIRP Chair Steven Quintana Looks Ahead

This Q and A outlines Dr. Quintana’s plans and aspirations for the Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP) for the coming year.

By Amena Hassan

by Amena Hassan, APA Office of International Affairs

This Q and A outlines Dr. Quintana’s plans and aspirations for the Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP) for the coming year. Dr. Quintana is the incoming chair for APA’s Committee on International Relations in Psychology. His international projects have focused on developmental transformations in the context of intergroup conflict.  He has investigated in Guatemala the development of children’s racial identity and of their critical consciousness.  Another project involved Black South Africans experience of racial transgressions and racial forgiveness 10 years after he end of Apartheid. He was Associate Editor of Child Development (2001 – 2006) and Lead Editor for a special issue of Child Development on Race, Ethnicity, and Culture in Child Development (September/October issue 2006). Currently, he is Associate Editor of Journal of Counseling Psychology and lead editor for the book, Race, Racism and the Developing Child.

Dr. Quintana's other research involves developing and evaluating a model of children's understanding of social status, which includes ethnicity, race, gender, religion, and social class. His other multicultural research has focused on racial and ethnic identity, students’ adjustment to higher education, children's understanding of ethnic prejudice, and multicultural training in professional organizations. In addition, he has published research on termination and internalization of therapeutic relationships, time-limited psychotherapy, and late adolescent development. His publications have appeared in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, Child Development, The Counseling Psychologist, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Developmental Psychology, and Journal of Education Statistics.

He received his Ph.D. degree in Counseling Psychology in 1989 from the University Of Notre Dame. He taught at the University of Texas-Austin for seven years before joining the faculty at UW-Madison in January, 1996. He received a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in 1992-93 for research investigating Mexican-American children's understanding of ethnicity. He received a Gimbel Child and Family Scholar Award for promoting Racial, Ethnic, and Religious Understanding in America. He is a Fellow for the Society of Counseling Psychology of APA.


PI: Can you tell us a little about your international work and interests?

Quintana: The international work I’ve done has been mostly in countries with a history of significant ethnic conflict. For instance, in Guatemala where two groups were involved in a protracted civil war, and in South Africa and the changes that have occurred since the end of Apartheid. I’ve also worked with international sojourners – children who are here in the US, temporarily, from another country and their understanding of nationalities and sociolinguistic preferences.

PI: How did you become involved with international affairs within APA?

Quintana: I started off with the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) where I was CEMA’s monitor of CIRP and that’s how I became aware of CIRP’s activities. My involvement is also an outgrowth of my research on intergroup relations and children’s understanding of identity.

PI: What are your goals for CIRP in 2008?

Quintana: My interest is featuring international research and facilitating research collaboration between APA members and international members in countries outside of North America and in developing countries. I’ll be working on an exchange database that could facilitate introducing scholars with shared interest in international research collaboration. I’ll be working on the infrastructure of the exchange and hoping it will grow. I’d like to help export APA research into developing countries. I think there’s a lot we can learn within APA to understand differences across national contexts. Our understanding can be broadened and enhanced and deepened in these areas. There’s also a conference sponsored by Division 17 where we’ll be representing the committee’s work. I’m interested in fostering UN involvement to see how we can give away psychology internationally. With my interest in intragroup relations I would be looking for ways to apply my interests when countries experience internal conflict or conflict between countries.

PI: Are there ways that APA members who are interested in international issues can
become involved with CIRP’s work?

Quintana: CIRPs work is dependent on the expertise of the general APA membership. The membership’s role is critical to CIRP. Members can keep track of items on CIRP’s agenda and send in information and inform committee members when they have expertise to lend. Once the exchange infrastructure is established, members could respond to calls to describe their international interests and expertise.

Another one of CIRP’s goals is to work with APAGS so we can find students and match them with professionals with similar interests. Obviously CIRP would be interested in identifying students or even early career professionals with special interests in international research and practice and then to survey our membership for later stage psychologists with similar interests to serve as mentors. In this way, we could foster the next generation of international psychologists.

PI: What challenges do you think American psychologists who are interested in international work face?

Quintana: Two areas come to mind. Logistical challenges are omnipresent in international work.  There are challenges navigating international border crossings and applying research or practice across national borders. Ongoing challenges: translating psychological principles for different national and regional contexts. These translations need to go beyond linguistic translations and represent a more comprehensive cultural translation.

PI: What are CIRP's goals for collaboration across the association?

Quintana: In addition to the ones with APAGS and APA’s Membership Committee, we would love to increase the number of international psychologists in other countries who are members or affiliates of APA. Also, we would like to infuse an international perspective in all of APA’s work, trying to make APA more relevant to people across the globe. CIRP monitors a lot of items that move through APA governance, so we want an international perspective to be included as these action items move through governance.

PI: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Quintana: I’ll end with reiterating the excitement I have in the potential and timeliness of CIRP for having an important role in APA as well as reaching out to APA members and international scholars and professionals in other countries.  It is an exciting time for APA to be relevant to an increasingly global society.