APA Reaches Out: Delegations to Australia, Hong Kong, China, Brazil and Beyond

Summer 2010 was active for APA representation at international meetings. APA leaders, Board members, governance leaders and senior staff joined APA members to present and learn.
Here is a summary of some of those activities:

International Mobility and Regulation

At the 4th International Conference on Licensing, Credentialing and Certification in Sydney, Australia, APA’s Ethics Director, Stephen Behnke, joined Susan Zlotlow, Associate Executive Director for Accreditation, Merry Bullock, Senior. Director of APA’s Office of International Affairs, and about 90 colleagues from Australia and the rest of the world to explore opportunities, challenges and barriers to international mobility and international professional standards. The conference ended with a broad look at avenues for collaboration and mechanisms for fostering discussion across regional boundaries. There was agreement that it is important to find ways to discuss mobility and credentialing issues at the international level, with broad representation from all regions of the world and all levels of psychology development.

Education Models and Resources

The 4th International Conference on Psychology Education (ICOPE), also in Sydney, brought together close to 100 colleagues focused on developing resources and sharing models for psychology education from undergraduate through post-graduate levels. Following a keynote talk by former APA President Diane Halpern that outlined a rich set of opportunities and models, conference participants shared strategies and resources for education. The conference ended with a panel discussion of mechanisms for increasing accessibility of web-based teaching resources.

Tor Levin Hofgaard and Carol Goodheart with the Norwegian Psychological Association (NPF)-American Psychological Association (APA) Memorandum of UnderstandingBroad Overview at an International Congress

APA President Carol Goodheart, past-president James Bray, Board members Jennifer Kelly, Armand Cerbone and Barry Anton, and senior staff from publications, practice, public interest, science, ethics and international areas of APA were among the more than 3000 delegates to the 27th International Congress of Applied Psychology in Melbourne. In addition to their many presentations, APA hosted a reception for around 300 invited speakers, APA members and affiliates, and other colleagues from around the world. At the reception, APA and the Norwegian Psychological Association (NPF) signed a memorandum of understanding. Presentation highlights included keynote talks by APA President Carol Goodheart on “Psychology Practice: Design for Tomorrow”, and by Past President James Bray on “Family Psychology and therapy,” symposia on the psychological needs of caregivers, psychology and communities, and international trends in education and training; and a symposium exploring the activities of international and national organizations in support of LGBT issues that was part of a dedicated LGBT programming stream (see LGBT Activities in this issue). As follow up to the meeting, APA staff will explore collaborations on health psychology, regulatory issues, and educational exchange.

Discussions in China

In parallel with attending the International Test Commission Conference in Hong Kong (see next section), APA Deputy Executive Director for Science, Howard Kurtzman traveled to Beijing and met with leaders of the Institute of Psychology (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and the Chinese Psychological Society. The CPS leaders affirmed their intention to visit APA as part of the APA visitors program, where officers of national psychology organizations meet to discuss issues of mutual concern. Among the topics discussed in the Beijing meeting were: research and practice in the areas of disaster response and workplace stress, encouragement of international research collaborations and exchanges, and models for graduate training for interdisciplinary research.

Testing and Assessment

APA Deputy Executive Director for Science, Howard Kurtzman and Ethics Office Director, Stephen Behnke attended the 7th Conference of the International Test Commission in Hong Kong on July 18-21, 2010. Meeting for the first time in Asia, it was the ITC’s largest conference, with over 425 attendees. This year’s conference theme was “Challenges and Opportunities in Testing and Assessment in a Globalized Economy.”

Following a biannual schedule, the next ITC conference will take place at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, on July 2-5, 2012. Three APA members, Fred Leong, Kurt Geisinger, and Barbara Byrne (treasurer) serve on the ITC Council, the organization’s governing body.


In September International Office Senior Director Merry Bullock represented APA at the 4th Congress of the Brazilian Forum of Psychological Organizations. The Forum is an umbrella coalition of 21 organizations of psychology that span a wide range of content areas and a wide number of functions from virtual libraries to graduate programs.

The meeting was attended by 10,000 Brazilian psychologists and students. In addition to speaking at a roundtable discussion about the various organizations of psychology, the conference yielded discussion about Brazil-APA collaboration and interest in exchange. Other organizations from outside Brazil represented at the meeting included the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP), the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS) and a number of Latin American psychology associations that are members of ULAPSI, the Union of Latin American Psychological Institutions.

Looking to the Future

In the remainder of 2010 APA will continue its international outreach.

  • Julia da Silva, Director of the APA Violence Prevention Office, is attending the annual meetings of the Brazilian Psychological Society in October to present workshops and presentations on ACT, Adults and Children Together Against Violence.

  • APA President Carol Goodheart will attend the annual meetings of the International Juvenile Justice Observatory. She is an honorary member of the council and will present remarks on APA’s activities in the service of juvenile justice.

  • APA Past President James Bray will attend the winter meetings of the Clinical Division of the British Psychological Society and present a keynote talk.

Plans for 2011

In 2011 APA plans on delegations in June to the InterAmerican Congress of Psychology (SIP) in Medellin, Colombia, and in July, to the European Congress of Psychology in Istanbul, Turkey. Closer to home, it will participate in the First Caribbean Regional Conference of Psychology - RCP2011, in November, in Nassau, Bahamas.