APA’s NGO representatives and interns at the United Nations visit APA headquarters

The U.N. team met with APA staff to discuss APA’s policy priorities and opportunities for synergy between the two groups.

In mid-November, representatives and interns from APA’s NGO at the United Nations visited APA headquarters in Washington for an orientation with APA staff in International Affairs, Government Relations, Public Interest, Practice and Science.

Many of the issues that APA offices and programs focus on have parallel groups and committees at the United Nations, covering topics such as aging, children and families, disability, mental health, gender equality, HIV/AIDS, human rights, rural health, and multiculturalism. Providing an opportunity for APA staff from these offices to meet with the U.N. team enabled both groups to hear what the other is doing with regards to these issues, to capture opportunities for synergy between their work, and to align policy priorities.

APA’s NGO Representation at the United Nations (from left to right): Jarell Myers, Shuchang Kang, Susan Nolan, David Kerner, Ceren Sönmez, Sepideh Alavi, Farnaz Kaighobadi, Roseanne Flores, Janet Sigal, Neal Rubin. Not pictured: Emily Dow, Juneau Gary, Rashmi Jaipal  Ellen Garrison, APA’s Senior Policy Advisor, speaks with UN representatives and APA staff. (From left to right): Ellen Garrison, Diane Elmore (Public Interest Government Relations Office), Sepideh Alavi (APA UN intern), Cherie Mitchell (Office on AIDS), Shari Miles-Cohen (Women’s Programs Office), Ceren Sönmez (APA UN intern), Howard Kurtzman (Science Directorate), and Tammy Barnes (Rural Health)

The meetings began with an introduction to the U.N. team and the outreach, education and advocacy efforts conducted through APA’s consultative status at the U.N. Economic and Social Council and the U.N. Department of Public Information. Recent activities include APA’s leadership positions in multiple U.N.-NGO committees and participation in their educational meetings, as well as drafting and signing on to statements for U.N. commissions and other bodies regarding psychological contributions to social issues. The issues addressed have included the empowerment of rural women and girls as a strategy for eradicating poverty, the achievement of sustainable development, and building cultures of sustainable peace. APA’s U.N. representatives, along with representatives from other psychology organizations at the U.N., are currently planning the annual Psychology Day at the United Nations. The theme for 2013 is on psychology and the global prevention of violence against children, youth and families. The event will take place on April 25, 2013 in New York City.

Following this introduction, APA staff provided a broad overview of activities relevant to the United Nations, including initiatives in government relations, human rights, public policy, advocacy in science, and mental health. Both groups engaged in a lively discussion guided by four general questions: What policy issues at APA have international implications? How can APA’s expertise address the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals? What processes can APA use to have a stronger voice in the NGO world? How can APA be perceived by the U.N. community as a leader in human rights?

APA’s NGO team also had a chance to meet with each office individually and have targeted discussions about APA’s public interest programs and policy goals. This was the second orientation held at APA to increase the synergy between the central office and U.N. activities. The orientation provides a forum for APA staff and APA’s U.N. team to discuss current U.N. issues and challenges, and for alignment of U.N. educational and advocacy opportunities with APA’s policy goals.