Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP): 2011 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 to foster interactions of all kinds between psychologists in the US and colleagues abroad, to promote an international perspective within psychology, to promote the role of psychology within international program, policy and educational settings, and to monitor the rights of psychologists and the use of psychological knowledge internationally. CIRP accomplishes this mission through a variety of programs and activities, guided by GOALS (Global Opportunities and Long-term Strategies), an international strategic plan aligned with APA’s strategic plan. CIRP’s mandated activities include recommendations for APA’s international award recipients, selection of international grant program recipients, advisor to the APA Board of Directors on international policy and programmatic activities, and oversight of APA’s United Nations (UN) 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 2011 during the spring and fall consolidated meetings.  The 2011 members included Co-Chairs Florence Kaslow, PhD and Chris Stout, PsyD; and members Maureen Black, PhD; Barbara Byrne, PhD; Deanna Chitayat, PhD, Puncky Heppner, PhD; Chandra Mehrotra, PhD; Susan Opotow, PhD, and Tina Richardson, PhD.

CIRP welcomes liaisons from APA Divisions and from external organizations such as the International Union for Psychological Science (IUPsyS), the U.S. National Committee for Psychological Science (USNC), the International Association of Applied Psychology, Psi Chi, and the World Federation for Mental Health. These liaisons are welcomed to attend the CIRP meetings or to submit written reports on their activities.  In 2011 liaisons who attended meetings included:

As part of its ongoing program to invite world psychology leaders to inform CIRP and APA about current issues in psychology, the president of the European Federation of Psychologists’ Federations (EFPA), Robert Roe, PhD, also attended the fall meeting. Members of the APA Board of Directors and Executive Management Group attended Dr. Roe’s presentation where he discussed the history and context of Europe, the growth of psychology within a European context,  the development of and current issues in EFPA, psychology in the current European sphere, and recent developments, including the EuroPsy certificate.

CIRP Activities

In keeping with its mission and with the Association’s aspiration to be a principal leader and global partner in promoting psychological knowledge, CIRP’s 2011 initiatives and activities focused on outreach to APA’s international affiliate membership, fostering international understanding and exchange, and on supporting international scientific and professional collaboration.

International Policy, Procedures and Guidance
  1. Memoranda of Understanding with National Psychology Associaitions
    CIRP was tasked by the APA Executive Management Group to develop procedures for how APA will develop concrete initiatives with national associations in an MOU relation, including forming a bi-lateral planning committee. In addition CIRP was asked to discuss further development of the MOU program for consideration by other APA offices. CIRP developed a model document that emphasizes learning partnerships, peer relations, and reciprocity, and that allows for specific activities to develop between associations. To date, APA has signed Memoranda of Understanding with a number of national psychology organizations. Currently there are general MOUs with 8 countries: Australia (2009), China (2011), Colombia (2011), Jordan (2007), Norway (2010), Mexico (2011), South Africa (1998), and the United Kingdom (2008). APA also has more specific MOU’s with national associations (e.g., Canada, re accreditation; Greece re, the ACT Against Violence program) and other international organizations (for specific work projects). MOUs are signed in English and the local MOU partner’s language. For more information about APA’s MOU partners is available online .

  2. Guidance for International Activities
    CIRP completed and published a booklet in 2011, Academics Going Abroad , the first in a planned series titled Going International: A Practical Guide for Psychologists . The goal of the series is to provide guidance for U.S. psychologists on how to be a respectful, culturally appropriate international colleague and cultural ambassador for psychology academic, research, and service contexts. The first booket in the series, Academics Going Abroad focuses on preparing for international academic exchange. It is published online .

Promoting International Exchange and Awareness

CIRP reviewed selection criteria for a number of international awards including several to promote international exchange:

  1. Registration Travel Awards.   Attending an international conference is an important way of gaining first-hand international experience. In 2011 18 awards were given  for US psychologists to attend conferences in the Bahamas, Colombia, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

  2. Convention Travel and Registration Awards for international attendees.   International attendance at the APA convention enriches the content and context of programming, is an excellent vehicle for fostering international understanding and exchange, and fosters the development of international scientific and professional collaboration. In response to a CIRP request to address attendance costs for international affiliates from low-income countries, the Board of Convention Affairs endorsed allocating tax abatement funds to subsidize 2011 convention registration fees and travel for international attendees. In consultation with CIRP, the Office of International Affairs developed a competitive awards program. Twenty-five awards were given to convention attendees from China, Greece, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom, including 14 students, 7 early career, and 5 senior career psychologists.

  3. Capacity Building Grants to National Associations.  In 2010, CIRP initiated a program to promote capacity building and contribute to the development of psychology around the globe by providing resources to support the development of national psychology associations, primarily in developing countries. The grant program. Following 2010 grants to the national psychology associations of China, Lebanon, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad and Tobago, 2011  grants were given to the Barbados Association of Psychologists, the Ethiopia Psychological Association, the Middle East Psychological Association, and the National Association of School Psychologists of Romania.

  4. International Scientific Meeting Awards were provided to the Interamerican society of psychology (SIP) for costs associated with the 2011 Interamerican Congress; and to the New York Academy of Sciences for a 2011 international conference on Critical Contributions of the Orbitofrontal Cortex to Behavior.

  5. CIRP selected Fanny Cheung, PhD, and Dan Landis, PhD as co-recipients of the 2012 APA Distinguished Contributions to International Psychology, and endorsed  John Thoburn, PhD for the 2012 APA International Humanitarian Award to John Thoburn, PhD.

CIRP Sponsored 2011 Convention Program

CIRP was allotted three hours of convention programming and sponsored the following sessions in Washington, DC:

  • Poster Session: (1 hour): Psychology Around the World – APA Divisions Reach Out. Twenty-eight divisions participated in the session highlighting divisions’ international activities;

  • Symposium (2 hours, 1 hour co-sponsored with Policy and Planning Board):  Does Educating Girls Matter? Barriers and Promise from a United Nations Perspective (Deanna Chitayat, Chair); Participants from APA’s UN team.

  • Roundtable Discussion (1 hour): Internationalizing Your Psychology Life (Chris Stout, Chair);

  • Symposium (1 hour contributed by the Board of Directors; co-listed with Committee on Human Research): International Research: Being a Learning Partner (Merry Bullock, Chair).

CIRP hosted two social hours:

  • The annual International Reception, hosted by CIRP, with co-listing by Division 52 and the International Council of Psychologists (ICP). Attendees invited to this event (it is open to all) include international colleagues registered at convention (all those who register are sent separate invitations), the APA President, Division 52 officers, APAGS officers, and Division international liaisons.

  • 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 provides hours for invited addresses by the APA international award winners. The 2011 recipient of the Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology was Dan Olweus, PhD.

Committee Member Liaison Activities

  • One member of CIRP serves on the APA oversight group for the International LGBT Network.

  • CIRP members serve as monitors to APAGS, BAPPI, BEA, BSA, CEMA, CHR, CPTA, CSS, CWP, Ethics Committee, ECP, and CLGBT.

Other Activities

APA at the United Nations

APA holds NGO special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN and is accredited as an NGO to the Department of Public Information (DPI) of the UN.  APA’s NGO team at the UN New York headquarters (7 representatives, special projects associates, student interns), is a sub-committee of CIRP. In 2011, CIRP Co-Chair Florence Kaslow was a keynote speaker and CIRP past co-chair Pamela Flattau gave a talk to a Department of Public Affairs morning briefing as part of the 2011 Psychology Day at the United Nations,.

APA Representatives serve on a variety of UN 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 (Department of Public Information). 

Awards and Nominations

CIRP members submitted nominations for a number of national and international awards including: the Ray Fowler Award; the Mattei Dogan Award; the IUPsyS “Against the Odds” Award, and the IUPsyS Lifetime Achievement award.

CIRP members also served as reviewers for APF international awards.