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Department of Public Information Briefings at the United Nations

Workshops may include a combination of morning briefings followed by afternoon sessions for "hands on" training.

By Neal S. Rubin, PhD, ABPP, and Florence L. Denmark

Members of the American Psychological Association’s UN NGO Team and their Special Projects Associates frequently attend the DPI/NGO briefings in order to stay up to date with issues, to network with staff, government representatives, and members of NGOs and to plan for future activities. APA representatives also organize and participate in briefing panels. For example, the first briefing on the fall schedule (10/2/08) was part of a day-long celebration of the International Day of Older Persons. Organizational credit for the IDOP events prominently may be attributed to the APA’s main representative, Dr. Florence Denmark, along with Drs. Janet Sigal and Norma Simon.

Following the Annual DPI/NGO Conference in early September, the Department of Public Information holds weekly briefings and related workshops on a fall (October–December) and spring (January–June) schedule (see enclosed). Briefings are held on Thursday mornings from 10:00 am until 12:00 pm in the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Workshops may include a combination of morning briefings followed by afternoon sessions for "hands on" training. Briefing and workshop schedules, invitations, and briefing/workshop summaries are posted at the Department of Public Information: Non-Governmental Organizations (DPI-NGO) website. The briefings are open to all UN badge holders. Although the structure of the briefings may vary, they most often consist of an initial video screening relevant to the topic of the day (10:00–10:30 am). Following the screening, a panel of experts presents on the briefing topic. The panel typically consists of a UN representative, a government representative, and an NGO representative and is chaired by the Chief of the Department of Public Information/NGO Section. The presentation is followed by a question and answer period. The meeting concludes with an ad hoc briefing consisting of relevant announcements for the UN and NGO communities.

Webcasts of the briefings are often available via the above website. For additional questions regarding the briefings and workshops contact the DPI/NGO information line at +1-212-963-7232.Ψ