Running Commentary

APA is both a national and an international organization. The association's membership of 155,000 includes nearly 7,000 members and affiliates who live outside of the United States, including 2,053 Canadian members, 1,189 members in other countries and 3,700 international affiliates in 120 countries. Hundreds of psychologists from all over the world attend our annual conventions, and hundreds of U.S. psychologists attend international congresses and other overseas meetings each year.

APA has a long-standing commitment to international work. Our Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP) is one of the association's oldest governance groups. CIRP was formed in 1944 with the initial mission of advising on the rehabilitation of European laboratories and libraries that had been destroyed during World War II. A full-time Office of International Affairs (OIA) has been operative since 1974. And in 1997, the APA Council of Representatives established Div. 52, (International Psychology).

The association's international work is multifaceted. CIRP and OIA run book and journal donation programs that support nearly 100 institutions in the developing world and places with transitioning economies. With support from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Science Foundation, the association offers travel grant programs that help young U.S. scholars participate in selected international meetings. And we have a small fund that annually provides seed money to international and other groups organizing international meetings.

The Office of International Affairs publishes the quarterly newsletter Psychology International, in addition to directories of international and national psychological organizations, and a recently published Directory of International Affiliates. With CIRP, OIA oversees the development of proposals for the American Psychologist's occasional special sections on international issues. OIA also monitors international human rights cases and generally serves as an information clearinghouse for international psychologists and for U.S. psychologists interested in working with colleagues abroad.

Our newest, and perhaps most exciting, international venture is our affiliation with the United Nations (UN). In 2000, APA achieved consultation status as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) affiliated with both the UN Department of Public Information and the Economic and Social Counsel. In early 2001, we appointed a six-member team, headed by Rowan University professor Dr. Corann Okorodudu, to represent APA at United Nations headquarters in New York. Dr. Okorodudu is a veteran UN operative, having served as one of the UN representatives for the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues for many years. A highlight of our first year at the UN was the delegation to the World Congress against Racism in Durban, South Africa (see Apartheid article).

I hope that you enjoy articles on international psychologists in this issue of the Monitor and that it will whet your interest in working with colleagues around the world. Now, more than ever, psychology is an international discipline, and it is critically important that we work across nations to foster greater understanding of our increasingly complex world.