Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP): 2013 Annual Report

APA's Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP) is one of APA's oldest continuing committees. Founded in 1944, CIRP's first mandate was to advise APA on the rehabilitation of psychological laboratories and libraries in post-World War II Europe. Its present mission is foster an international perspective within APA and within the psychology community in the U.S. It does this by taking actions to facilitate exchange of all kinds between psychologists in the U.S. and colleagues abroad, to promote an international and culturally aware perspective within psychology, to facilitate the involvement of psychology in international program, policy and educational settings. CIRP's actions are guided by GOALS (Global Opportunities and Long-term Strategies), an international strategic plan aligned with APA's strategic plan. CIRP's regular activities include recommendations for APA's international award recipients, selection of international grant program recipients, advice to the Office of International Affairs and the APA Board of Directors on international policy and programmatic activities, development of materials to foster international collaboration, and oversight of APA's United Nations (U.N.) representation as a non-governmental organization (NGO) with special consultative status. The Office of International Affairs serves as staff liaison to the committee.

CIRP Meetings

CIRP met twice in 2013 during the spring and fall consolidated meetings. The 2013 members included Co-Chairs Tina Richardson, PhD, and Bonnie Nastasi, PhD; and members Silvia Canetto, PhD; Jean Chin, EdD; Chryse Hatzichristou, PhD; Virginia Kwan, PhD; Chandra Mehrotra, PhD; Susan Opotow, PhD, and Lori Foster Thompson, PhD.

CIRP welcomes liaisons from APA divisions and from external organizations such as the U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Psychological Science (USNC/IUPsyS), the International Association of Applied Psychology, the International Council of Psychologists, the World Federation for Mental Health and Psi Chi. These liaisons may attend the CIRP meetings as observers and provide written reports on their activities.

CIRP invited Elena Berger, director of programs and government relations for the World Federation for Mental health (WFMH), to attend its fall meeting. Berger briefed CIRP on the WFMH's mission and its advocacy work at the United Nations, the World Health Organization and around the world.

CIRP Activities

Prior to its fall meeting, CIRP held a one-day retreat at APA headquarters. The committee discussed key issues, reviewed its priorities and engaged in action and strategic planning.

CIRP's projects in 2013 included:

  • Development of a brochure on test use internationally (draft completed; out for comments and review).
  • Development of a brochure on collaborative international research (draft completed; out for comments and review).
  • Review of the APA Resolution on Cultural and Gender Awareness in International Psychology (adopted by council in 2004) (ongoing).
  • Development of an International Leadership Network with APA's MOU partners (ongoing).

CIRP members also served as liaisons, monitors and reviewers for other APA governance groups, working groups and task forces:

  • One member of CIRP served on the APA oversight group for the International LGBT Network (INET).
  • CIRP members served as observer/monitors to APAGS, BAPPI, BEA, BSA, CDIP, CEMA, CHR, CLGBT, CoA, CONA, CPTA, CSS, CWP, CWF, ECP and the Ethics Committee.

CIRP reviewed applications and selection criteria for international awards to foster international understanding and exchange and to support international scientific and professional collaboration. The awards programs addressed include:

1. International Scientific Meeting Awards
  • Interamerican Society of Psychology (SIP) to support the Interamerican Congress in Brasilia
  • International Neuropsychological Society (INS) to support student travel to the society's annual congress in Amsterdam.
2. APA International Awards
The board of directors endorsed CIRP's recommendation that Saths Cooper, PhD, receive the 2014 APA Distinguished Contributions to International Psychology, and that Malcolm MacLachlan, PhD, receive the 2014 APA International Humanitarian Award.
3. Registration Travel Awards
Attending an international conference is an important way of gaining first-hand international experience. In 2013, 18 awards were given for U.S. psychologists to attend conferences in Austria, Australia, the Czech Republic, Peru, Portugal, Singapore, Spain and Switzerland.
4. Convention Travel and Registration Awards for international attendees
In response to a request from CIRP to address attendance costs for international affiliates from low-income countries, the Board of Convention Affairs recommended that the Board of Directors allocate tax abatement funds to subsidize 2013 convention registration fees and travel for international attendees. There are 21 awardees from 17 countries for the 2013 convention; 12 students, four early career and five senior scholars.

CIRP Sponsored 2013 Convention Program

  • "Global Violence: Psychological Perspectives and the United Nations" (Janet Sigal, PhD, chair); Participants from APA's U.N. team. (Two hour symposium, co-sponsored with Policy and Planning Board.)
  • "Psychology without Borders — International Teaching, Research and Service" (Chandra Mehrotra, PhD; Bonnie Nastasi, PhD; and Laura Reid-Mark, MA, Co-Chairs). (One hour Roundtable Discussion co-listed with APAGS.)
  • The annual Reception for International Visitors, hosted by CIRP, with co-listing by Div. 52 and the International Council of Psychologists (ICP).
  • Division Liaison Breakfast. At this breakfast CIRP has an opportunity to hear updates from division liaisons and to facilitate the development of CIRP-Division collaborative activities.

APA provided hours for invited addresses by the APA international award winners.

CIRP Review and Oversight of the APA Representation at the United Nations

APA holds NGO special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the U.N. and is accredited as an NGO to the Department of Public Information (DPI) of the U.N. APA's NGO representation at the U.N. New York headquarters (seven representatives, special projects associates, student interns), is a sub-committee of CIRP. APA representatives served on a variety of U.N. committees including ageing, the family, human settlements, sustainable development, the status of women, mental health, children's rights, human rights, UNICEF, HIV/AIDS and the planning committee of DPI. In addition, in collaboration with other psychology NGOs at the U.N., the APA representatives plan and participate in the annual Psychology Day at the United Nations. The theme for 2013 was "Psychology and Violence in a Global Context: Antecedents, Consequences and Prevention." The 2013 Annual Report on the APA NGO representation at the United Nations is available as part of the 2014 February council agenda.