Chapter 15

Renewing historic strengths, initiating new ventures (1996–2000)

The Union began the final quadrennium of its first half-century at the Montréal congress. By all accounts, the 26th International Congress of Psychology was a resounding success. It was characterized by the scope and vigor of its scientific program, offered in an ambience that blended old-world charm with new-world features. It was in this context that the 1996 Assembly undertook its deliberations and in which the outgoing and incoming Executive Committees met. This chapter reviews the issues which the Union addressed in the period from the Montréal congress to the Executive Committee meetings in Durban, 1999. The final events of this quadrennium will coincide with publication of this volume.

The dramatic growth in Union membership was sustained. Including actions taken at the 1996 Assembly, there were now 61 national members; 8 new members were approved in 1996: Albania, Austria, Bangladesh, Czech Republic, Ireland, Morocco, Russia, and Uganda. The membership of Brazil was terminated resulting from the defunct status of the adhering organization. On petition from the respective countries, South Africa was re-admitted with a new adhering body, and the adhering body for Spain was also changed.

The 26th International Congress of Psychology, Montréal, Canada, 1996

The 26th International Congress of Psychology was held in Montréal, Canada, August 18–23, 1996, under the auspices of the IUPsyS and the joint sponsorship of the National Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Psychological Association. Montréal is the second largest French-speaking city in the world and one of North America’s most cosmopolitan venues. This was the first time that the congress was entirely under Canadian responsibility, since the 1954 congress had been under the joint responsibility of the Canadian and American Psychological Associations.

While David Bélanger, a past Treasurer of the Union (from 1977 to 1992), assumed the presidency of the congress, the two essential Scientific Program and Organizing Committees were chaired respectively by John Adair and Michel Sabourin. Terrence P. Hogan acted as Chair of the Finance Committee and Pierre Ritchie as Secretary-Treasurer to complete the main core of the Congress Council. Table 15.1 presents the complete picture of the congress organizational structure and committee resources.

TABLE 15.1

Organizational structure and composition of the committees: 26th International Congress of Psychology

Congress Council
David Bélanger, Université de Montréal, President
John G. Adair, University of Manitoba, Chair, Scientific Program Committee
Michel Sabourin, Université de Montréal, Chair, Organizing Committee
Laurier Forget, National Research Council Canada, Director of Congress Services
Terrence P. Hogan, University of Manitoba, Chair, Finance Committee
Pierre L.-J. Ritchie, University of Ottawa, Secretary-Treasurer
Mark R. Rosenzweig, University of California, IUPsyS Liaison
John Service, CPA Liaison
Scientific Program Committee
John G. Adair, University of Manitoba, Chair
John W. Berry, Queen’s University
Fergus I.M. Craik, University of Toronto
Kenneth L. Dion, University of Toronto
Michèle Robert, Université de Montréal
Gordon Winocur, Rotman Research Institute, Toronto
Organizing Committee
Michel Sabourin, Université de Montréal, Chair
Hélène Cauffopé, Université Laval
Marcelle Cossette-Ricard, Université de Montréal
François Doré, Université Laval
Jacques Forget, UQAM
Andrée Fortin, Université de Montréal
Robert Haccoun, Université de Montréal
Jacques Lajoie, UQAM
Luc Lamarche, Université de Montréal
Jean-Roch Laurence, Concordia University
Jean-Claude Lauzon, SOBECO Inc, Montréal
Paul Maurice, UQAM
Stéphane Sabourin, Université Laval
Donald Taylor, McGill University

A total of 5018 participants (including 4200 delegates and students) from over 80 countries attended this meeting. Participants came from all regions of the world including some that had seldom been represented at the congress (Sabourin, Craik, & Robert, 1998 ). A special financial assistance program, designed for colleagues from developing countries with limited financial support, allowed 114 participants to be awarded travel bursaries and complimentary registration to the congress. Many foreign colleagues were also given either complimentary rooms in certain hotels or in the private homes of Montréal area psychologists.

Delegates at Montréal Congress, 1996.

A colorful opening ceremony, combining artistic expression (a display of circus arts in a musical context in the tradition of the Quebec-based and world-renowned “Cirque du Soleil”) and official welcoming addresses, was held on the evening of August 16 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal. The Canadian Minister of International Cooperation, the Hon Pierre Pettigrew, and the Quebec Minister of State for the Métropole de Montréal, the Hon Serge Ménard, represented respectively the federal and provincial governments. Other speeches were given by the representative of the Mayor of Montréal, by David Bélanger as President of the Congress, by Kurt Pawlik as President of IUPsyS, and by Francine Fournier, Deputy Director for Human and Social Sciences, UNESCO.

The scientific program, composed of more than 400 items in 24 concurrent sessions during the 5 days of the congress, “provided participants with the latest research developments in psychology from around the world” (Sabourin et al., 1998 ). The highlights of the program (see Table 15.2 ) were the 15 keynote addresses, the 45 state-of-the-art lectures, and the IUPsyS presidential address. Covering a wide range of topics representing the whole discipline, 140 invited symposia and 49 submitted, integrated paper sessions constituted the core of the scientific program. To these can be added the 116 thematic oral sessions and the 1700 interactive posters.

TABLE 15.2

Highlights of the scientific program: 26th International Congress of Psychology (Montréal, Canada)

IUPsyS presidential address
Kurt Pawlik (Germany): The psychology of individual differences: The personality puzzle
Keynote addresses
Paul Bertelson (Belgium): Starting from the ventriloquist: The perception of multimodal events
Vincent Bloch (France): Mémoire et vigilance
John T. Cacioppo (USA): Somatic responses to psychological stress
Pierre R. Dasen (Switzerland): Cadres théoriques en psychologie (inter-) culturelle
Alice H. Eagly (USA): Attitudes and the processing of attitude-relevant information
Martha Farah (USA): The neural basis of face, object and visual world recognition
Giyoo Hatano (Japan): Comprehension activity in individuals and groups
Susan D. Iversen (UK): Schizophrenia: The dark side of the mind
Marc Jeannerod (France): Représentations motrices
David Magnusson (Sweden): The person in developmental research
Ronald Melzack (Canada): Pain and stress: Toward a theory of chronic pain
Odmar Neumann (Germany): Conscious perception and the sensory control of motor responses
Robert Rescorla (USA): Nature and persistence of associative structures
Evgeny N. Sokolov (Russia): Geometrical model of cognitive processes
Endel Tulving (Canada): Brain/mind correlates of human memory
State-of-the-art lectures
Renée Baillargeon (USA): Infant’s understanding of the physical world
Paul B. Baltes (Germany): The psychology of aging: Facts and frontiers
Albert Bandura (USA): Personal and collective efficacy in human adaptation and change
Peter M. Bentler (USA): Causal modeling
Michael H. Bond (Hong Kong): Social psychology across cultures
Rupert Brown (UK): Intergroup relations
Patrick Cavanagh (USA): Research in visual perception: The 25th millennium
Michael Corballis (New Zealand): Evolution of the human mind
Paul T. Costa Jr (USA): Personality theory in the wake of the five-factor model of personality
Pieter J.D. Drenth (The Netherlands): The psychology of work: Scientific inquiry and professional care
Rocio Fernandez-Ballesteros (Spain): Quality of life: Concept and assessment
Bennett G. Galef (Canada): Animal social learning: A decade of progress in interdisciplinary behavioral research
Rochel Gelman (USA): Cognitive development, domain specificity, and cultural variation
Patricia Goldman-Rakic (USA): Working memory and pre-frontal cortex
Claes von Hofsten (Sweden): Early development of perception, action, and cognition
Qicheng Jing (China): China’s reform and challenges for psychology
Cigdem Kagitcibasi (Turkey): Human development in cross-cultural perspective
Nancy Kanwisher (USA): The brain basis of visual object recognition
Bryan Kolb (Canada): Neural plasticity and behavioral development
Asher Koriat (Israel): Metamemory: The feeling of knowing and its vagaries
John R. Krebs and Nicky Clayton (UK): Adaptative specialisation in memory and the brain
Anna B. Leonova (Russia): Occupational stress, health, and personal adpatation
N.J. Mackintosh (UK): Perceptual learning in people and animals
Neil M. Malamuth (USA): The confluence model of sexual aggression
Jacques Mehler (France): Langage et cognition
Susan Mineka (USA): Experimental approaches to understanding the anxiety and mood disorders
Risto Näätänen (Finland): Memory trace of a sound in the human brain as reflected by event-related potentials
J. Bruce Overmier (USA): Learned helplessness for studying the effects of stress: State or stasis of the art ?
Susan Pick (Mexico): Sexual and reproductive health: What next ?
Kim Plunkett (UK): Connectionism and development
Ype H. Poortinga (The Netherlands): Methodological and theoretical dilemmas of cross-cultural psychology
Anik de Ribaupierre (Switzerland): Développement cognitif et différences individuelles
Giacomo Rizzolatti (Italy): Spatial attention: Mechanisms and theories
Robert Rosenthal (USA): Meta-analysis: Concepts, corollaries, and controversies
Mark R. Rosenzweig (USA): The growing role of neuroscience in psychology
Pierre L. Roubertoux (France): Behavior-genetic analysis
José Miguel Salazar (Venezuela): Permanence and modification in national identities
Peter W. Sheehan (Australia): Contemporary trends in hypnosis research
Shepard Siegel (Canada): Learning and homeostasis
Jai B.P. Sinha (India): Work culture in a developing country: The case of India
John E.R. Staddon (USA): Animal models of memory
Jan Strelau (Poland): Individual differences in temperament: An international perspective
Carolyn Zahn-Waxler (USA): Social-emotional development in children and adolescents
Mark Zanna (Canada): The effect of intoxication on behavioral intentions

Activities were also planned for young psychologists and students, including discussion sessions with prominent psychologists, with journal editors, and on the topic of alternative employment opportunities. A scientific exchange program was also offered to facilitate the creation of personal links and networks between local psychologists from universities or private research centers, and international colleagues attending the congress.

An international commercial exhibition with more than 50 exhibitors (mainly book and psychological test publishers, manufacturers of research instrumentation and computer software, new psychopharmacological products, etc.) was available to congress participants in an area adjacent to the interactive poster sessions.

Over 15 satellite meetings of psychological associations affiliated or in relation with the IUPsyS were organized independently and presented before or after the congress. Even the American Psychological Association had decided to hold its Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada, during the week that preceded the congress, to facilitate the participation of American psychologists and exhibitors to the Montréal congress.

Following the tradition initiated at the 1992 Brussels congress, in order to give an archival value to the presentations made, the Congress Abstracts were published as a Special Issue of the International Journal of Psychology (Vol. 31, Issues 3 and 4). The congress proceedings presented the contributions of the invited speakers arranged in two equal-size volumes. Volume 1 (Adair, Bélanger, & Dion, 1998 ) covered the contributions to the social, personal and cultural aspects of psychological science; it also featured the address of Kurt Pawlik, President of the IUPsyS. Volume 2 (Sabourin et al., 1998 ) covered the biological and cognitive aspects of the discipline.

To enhance the Canadian participation to this event, both the Canadian Psychological Association and the Quebec College of Psychologists had decided not to hold their usual annual meeting in 1996, but to host instead a certain number of their activities and business meetings during the 26th congress. The official languages of the congress were English and French; in keeping with the tradition of previous international congresses to recognize regional linguistic characteristics, Spanish-language poster presentations were also accepted, provided they were accompanied by English- or French-language abstracts.

Besides the very special opening ceremony and the opening reception that immediately followed on August 16, other social and cultural activities were offered to congress participants during the week of the congress. These activities included a private concert by the internationally renowned “I Musici” chamber orchestra, “Le Festin du Gouverneur” (a unique interactive dinner-theatre experience), and a middle of the congress “Soirée Dansante” at Montréal’s fashionable Queen Elizabeth Hotel.

The closing ceremony was held on August 21, the last day of the congress, and as in the Olympic tradition (!), most of the attention was oriented toward the next International Congress of Psychology, to be held in Stockholm, Sweden, in July 2000; following the closing addresses, the Swedish Organizing Committee hosted a typical Swedish reception for the congress participants.

Executive Committee and Assembly meetings, Montréal 1996

The outgoing Executive Committee meeting completed its business, reviewing reports and other materials as well as formulating recommendations in preparation for the Assembly. In particular, attention was given to needed Statute amendments, especially the establishment of official biennial Assembly meetings. Heretofore, only the Assembly held in conjunction with International Congresses of Psychology was formally recognized. The Assembly’s “mid-term” meeting at the time of the IAAP congress was consultative but it did not have decisional authority. In addition, in submitting his report to the Executive Committee, the Treasurer, Sabourin, accurately forecast the emerging uncertainty about allocation procedures and amounts of grants received from UNESCO through ICSU and ISSC.

The Assembly was attended by 82 delegates from 44 countries; 8 affiliated organizations were represented by 11 persons. Observers from the American Psychological Association, the European Federation of Professional Psychologists Associations, and the International Test Commission were also present, foreshadowing important new collaborations in the coming biennium with each of them.

After reviewing the previous 4 years, President Pawlik offered recommendations for the future. These focused on the increasing demand from other sciences for psychological knowledge in solving problems facing the world, enhanced cooperation with both governmental and non-governmental organizations (e.g., World Health Organization), expanded regional collaboration (e.g., on capacity building for research), the internationalization of publications, and the challenge for psychology of the emerging importance of database archiving for all sciences. Viewed from the perspective of the subsequent 4 years, the outgoing President’s vision can be regarded as pertinent as well as prescient.

Statutes and Rules

The Assembly amended the Statutes to establish biennial meetings of the Union’s ultimate decisional body. Anew procedure for admitting affiliated organizations was also adopted. During the 1996 elections, the Assembly noted certain ambiguities and charged the incoming Executive Committee to review the procedures and propose revisions to facilitate the election process.

Resources and capacity-building

Resources, internal and external, occupied much of the Assembly’s attention, a concern that was to be sustained by the Executive Committee in the coming 4 years. To enhance the Union’s capacity to better achieve its mission, it overwhelmingly approved (only four abstentions) an increase in dues to US$125 per unit. The intent was to enable greater support of several IUPsyS initiatives. These included collaborative projects in the developing world (e.g., Child rearing practices among low socioeconomic-status women in Turkey; Social integration in southern Africa), as well as extending the projects on Psychological Dimensions of Global Change and on Psychology and Cognitive Science.

In this context, the Assembly endorsed the Executive Committee’s work on implementing changes in UNESCO’s funding of projects through collaboration with ICSU and ISSC. There was clear recognition that external funding would continue to be essential to the Union’s objective of contributing to increasing the capacity of psychological science in all parts of the world.


The contribution of the Advanced Research Training Seminars (ARTS) was underscored at the Montréal congress. Two ARTS were offered in 1996 under the coordination of executive member Kagitcibasi. They addressed “Qualitative Research Methods” and “Early Intervention in Families and Other Settings.” Both ARTS were very well received and participants benefited from the large financial allocation made by the congress organizers to support attendees from low-income countries. Given their growing importance, a comprehensive review of ARTS was established as a priority for the incoming Executive Committee.


The International Journal of Psychology continued to be the Union’s major publication vehicle. The editor, Doré, received 80 manuscripts in the previous year, of which 26 were accepted for publication. A special issue was devoted to “National development of psychology: Factors facilitating and impeding progress in developing countries.” The abstracts of papers presented at the Montréal congress constituted a double special issue.

Scientific meetings

The 26th International Congress of Psychology again demonstrated the Union’s capacity to mount a strong and varied program reflecting all the recognized fields and subfields of psychology as a scientific discipline and scientifically based profession. It was attended by over 5000 persons from more than 80 countries. Of these, 4200 were regular delegates with the balance being distinguished guests, accompanying persons, exhibitors, and the media. The growing presence of journalists from the written and electronic popular press signaled a growing perception of the relevance of psychological knowledge and its applications to the general public as well as to society’s decision-makers.

The Executive Committee and Assembly both favorably received progress reports on development of the 27th International Congress of Psychology planned for Stockholm (Sweden) in 2000. The continuity of the Union’s premier event was assured with the selection of the venue of the 28th congress in 2004. After receiving proposals from three national members, China, Columbia, and Egypt, Beijing (China) was chosen by the Assembly. This selection underscored the breadth of the Union’s international scope; three successive congresses would be held on three different continents with a rich diversity of cultures and history.

Following on the success of the initial regional congress sponsored by IUPsyS in Guangzhou (China), the Union agreed to collaborate with IAAP in supporting a second regional congress to be held in Mexico in 1997. Recognizing that such congresses optimally require several years of planning, it was decided to sponsor a Pan-Arab Regional Congress scheduled for 1999 in Cairo (Egypt).

International collaboration

The historic commitment to promoting and strengthening the global relevance and international character of psychology has long been a strength of IUPsyS. The Union’s ability to exercise this responsibility, however, was being tested by emergent changes in the United Nations system as civil society took on a greater share of a wide range of international activities intended to reduce human distress and enhance the wellbeing of all persons. This called for a review of current arrangements leading to renewal of old relationships and the establishment of new partnerships. The coming quadrennium would see considerable progress that was still being envisioned at the time of the Montréal meetings.

An important component focused on the Union’s collaboration with the largest individual member-based international organization in psychology, the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP). The relationship between IAAP and IUPsyS was addressed at each of the deliberative meetings in Montréal. Both the outgoing and incoming Executive Committees accorded it an important place in their agendas. The Assembly initiated a process to regularize the process of cooperation between the two bodies. The intent was to ensure that certain forms of collaboration would become a matter of common practice and be less dependent on the immediate goodwill of the respective leadership of the respective organizations.


The Assembly elected Géry d’Ydewalle (Belgium) as President, Cigdem Kagitcibasi (Turkey) and Jan Strelau (Poland) as Vice-Presidents, while Pawlik assumed the position of Past-President. Re-elected members of the Executive Committee were Rubén Ardila (Columbia), Derek Blackman (United Kingdom), Michel Denis (France), Hiroshi Imada (Japan), Lars-Göran Nilsson (Sweden), and Bruce Overmier (USA). Newly elected Members of the Executive Committee for an initial term were John Adair (Canada), Juan José Sanchez-Sosa (Mexico), Houcan Zhang (China), and Ype Poortinga (The Netherlands). Joining the President as officers upon their election by the incoming Executive Committee were a new Secretary-General, Pierre Ritchie (Canada) and, continuing as Treasurer, Michel Sabourin (Canada). Ritchie had been a delegate to the Assembly since 1988 and served as Secretary-Treasurer of the 26th congress. It was decided to leave the position of Deputy Secretary-General temporarily vacant to allow for broader recruitment.

In a transition year in which the results of much effort were brought to fruition, the Union had put in place leadership that represented a clear blend of continuity and renewal. While broadly diverse, it was keenly aware of gaps that would compel sensitive attention to non-represented regions, especially Africa. There was clearly more to be done to increase the Union’s strength on a number of matters beyond geography. The broader climate was also characterized by increased ferment across the whole range of international entities with which the Union had or might collaborate. The newly elected Officers and Executive Committee had no shortage of challenges to maintain and enhance the Union’s viability in this quadrennium.

Executive Committee meeting, Stockholm 1997

The 1997 meeting of the Executive Committee was held in Stockholm, Sweden, at the invitation of the 27th congress Organizing Committee, who provided an environment conducive to the business conducted and to an appreciation of the venue of the next congress. A primary activity was a detailed review of plans for the scientific program, including invited keynote speakers, state-of-the art and symposia chairs. As well as the congress President, Lars-Göran Nilsson, International Congress Committee members present for discussion of congress planning were: Arne Öhman (Chair of Scientific Program Committee), Birgit Hansson (Chair of the Organizing Committee), Gunn Johansson (Deputy Chair of the Scientific Program Committee), Britta Sjoblom (Project Coordinator, Stockholm Convention Bureau), and Örjan Salling (Secretary-General of the congress).

Executive Committee, Stockholm, July 23–28, 2000—Back row (left to right): Lars Göran Nilsson (President), Örjan Salling (Secretary-General), Arne Öhman (Vice-President, Chair Scientific Committee). Front row (left to right): Birgit Hansson (Vice-President, Chair Organizing Committee), Gunn Johansson (Member, Deputy-Chair Scientific Committee). Not present on picture: Ingvar Lundberg (Member, Deputy-Chair Organizing Committee), Kurt Pawlik (IUPsyS Liaison).

International congresses

A site visit to the congress setting as well as the review and accompanying discussion of the various reports led the Executive Committee to the conclusion that the prospects for the 27th congress were excellent. Among prominent features planned for the congress were a health theme as well as a series of seminars focused on diplomacy and psychology. The Organizing and Scientific Program Committees were commended for their excellence.

A report on preliminary planning for the 28th congress in Beijing was also received. The Executive Committee also endorsed the appointment of Professor Qicheng Jing as President of the Congress.

Regional congresses

Concerns about the feasibility of holding the proposed 1999 Pan-Arab Regional Congress grew in 1997. The Executive Committee recognized that its future had become uncertain and charged the President to undertake a further review of the situation.

The International Network of Psychology and the Developing World, with Ardila as Chair, continued to play a role in facilitating the Union’s commitment to sponsoring regional congresses, first initiated with China in 1995, followed by Mexico in 1997. Notwithstanding the difficulties encountered in planning a 1999 regional congress, the Union remained committed to the schedule of a major regional congress every 2 years in collaboration with IAAP. Other venues were under consideration for the next several regional congresses.

Organizational matters

Professor Merry Bullock (Estonia/USA) was appointed Deputy Secretary-General. She brought extensive experience as a scientist and expertise in public policy gathered in Canada, Estonia, Germany, and the USA.

One new national member, Georgia and one new affiliate, the International Neuro-psychological Society, were approved in 1997, bringing total membership to 62 countries and 11 affiliates.

The Executive Committee approved a revision to the Rules of Procedure for the creation of an Election Committee, composed of the Past-President as Chair, and two members to be chosen by the Assembly from different countries. The proposal provided for disseminating brief CVs of all candidates for the Executive Committee, including the President and Vice-Presidents. The President asked Pawlik to draft an amendment to the Rules of Procedure for consideration at the Assembly’s 1998 meeting.

Pierre L.-J. Ritchie: Secretary-General of IUPsyS (1996–); and Mary Bullock: Deputy Secretary-General (1998–).

The Treasurer’s report indicated that the financial base of the Union had been enhanced by the new dues and the important surplus generated by the success of the Montréal congress. Under the plan agreed upon earlier, the Canadian National Research Council received US$84,292 as its share of the surplus, and the Union got US$146,848, of which US$73,424 reverted to the Canadian Psychological Association for support of its participation in Union affairs, including the financing of young Canadian psychologists to attend future congresses.

The Executive Committee approved Sabourin’s recommendation that the Union’s share of the Montréal congress surplus be allocated equally among the 4 years of the current quadrennium. A preliminary budget for fiscal year 1998 was introduced by Sabourin as the first step in developing a multi-year financial planning cycle.

A request for the formation of a Women’s Committee (generated by a petition circulated at the Montréal congress) was reviewed. After welcoming the suggestion, there was much discussion but little consensus about the range and scope of the proposed committee’s purview. The initial letter requesting a Women’s Committee was focused on women in psychology, but the several members of the Executive Committee believed its scope might be broader. They appointed a sub- committee (chaired by Bullock) of the Standing Committee of Psychology as a Science and Profession to seek advice and input from the authors of the letter requesting the Women’s Committee and to make a recommendation to the 1998 Executive Committee defining name, scope, range, and topics.


A comprehensive review of Advanced Research Training Seminars also was completed and its recommendations were discussed and endorsed. The general thrust of the recommendations was to streamline certain procedures and ensure consistent application of basic principles guiding ARTS as a central component of the Union’s capacity-building contribution to psychological science in developing countries.

Under the coordination of IUPsyS Executive Committee member John Adair, two ARTS were conducted in 1997, for the first time in conjunction with a Regional Congress of Psychology. One focused on “Multivariate Methods in Psychology: Factor Analysis Structural Models,” while the second was on “Research Methods Applied to the Study of Health.”

The Standing Committee on the Development of Psychology as a Science and as a Profession, chaired by Vice-President Kagitcibasi, had initiated a review of the role of the Union with respect to its national members, in particular with respect to the Union’s objective to promote the science of psychology. The President proposed and the Executive Committee approved a work group, chaired by Kagitcibasi, to develop a draft questionnaire to national members. Information from this questionnaire would be reviewed at the 1998 Assembly and Executive Committee meetings as the basis for further queries and interviews to the national members.


The editor (Doré) of the International Journal of Psychology, in collaboration with the Chair of the Standing Committee on Communication and Publications (Pawlik), initiated a comprehensive review of the Journal. This process would continue in two stages for the remainder of the biennium. Ritchie and Bullock now served as associate editors with special responsibility for the International Platform section.

The Proceedings of the 26th International Congress of Psychology were published in two volumes. Volume 1 (Adair, Bélanger, & Dion, 1998 ) covered cognitive and biological aspects of psychology; Volume 2 (Sabourin, Craik, & Robert, 1998 ) addressed personality, developmental and social aspects of psychology. Work continued on the preparation of the International Handbook of Psychological Science (now called the International Handbook of Psychology), due for publication in 2000 under the editorship of Pawlik and Rosenzweig. In anticipation of the imminent 50th anniversary of the IUPsyS, former officers Bélanger, Holtzman, and Rosenzweig were asked to prepare a history of the Union. As this project got underway, Sabourin agreed to join them as a fourth author. The Executive Committee also commissioned a new edition of the IUPsyS Directory under the editorship of Overmier.

Special projects

The Standing Committee on the Development of Psychology as a Science and as a Profession completed the project to compile a Bibliography on Psychology Around the World. Authored by Imada (1996) , the bibliography was published as an article in the International Journal of Psychology. A total of 2497 books, chapters and articles were reported, classified into 3 categories: International: Worldwide, International: Regional, and National, with 157, 203, and 2137 items respectively. An appendix table on “Where and how often can you find country-by-country descriptions of psychology around the world” adds to the bibliography’s utility.

Supported by UNESCO through ICSU, the project on Psychology and Cognitive Science completed its initial work. Executive Committee member Denis, as Project Director, authored a comprehensive report providing a detailed analysis of the extensive survey on psychology and cognitive science conducted among the national members of the Union. Responses were received from 31 countries. Given the findings and the potential for interdisciplinary activities, the project was continued with a revised objective. The second stage was to focus on Psychology in a Multi- disciplinary Environment. This dimension was anchored in the unequivocal recognition of the increasing pertinence of a multi-disciplinary environment to psychology and of psychology to other disciplines working in cognitive science. The second stage would prepare the groundwork for a large-scale multi-disciplinary initiative.

Under the auspices of the Union’s Ad Hoc Committee for the Psychological Study of Peace, chaired by Michael Wessells, a new venture was launched to address a significant issue of social transformation in sub-Saharan Africa. A far-reaching workshop, “Youth, Political Violence and Conflict Resolution in Southern Africa” was completed in late 1997.

UNESCO grants provided through ISSC in 1997 were allocated to the projects on “Psychological Dimensions of Global Change,” “Dealing with Poverty and Social Integration Through Studying Child Rearing Practices of Low Socioeconomic-status Women,” and “Youth, Political Violence and Conflict Resolution in Southern Africa.” Those provided through ICSU were the projects on “Compiling a Bibliography on Psychology Around the World,” “Psychology and Cognitive Science,” and “Psychological Dimensions of Global Change”.

International collaboration

The evolving relationship with IAAP was again the object of extensive deliberation. A joint IAAP- IUPsyS Officers Committee, formed to explore possible cooperation and collaborative work, met several times to consider areas where the organizations could work together. In his remarks to the Executive Committee, President d’Ydewalle noted that relations with IAAP had improved considerably, with the door open for future initiatives. Nonetheless, there was no expectation of short-term restructuring of the two organizations. The general sense of the Executive Committee’s discussion was that any movement toward structural change should be preceded by a long period of developing a successful working relationship. There were questions about what various levels of cooperation might entail. Although there was broad agreement that collaboration and better cooperation are beneficial, there were differences of opinion about how to go about achieving them. Greater proposed integration, particularly suggestions of merger, raised greater conflict.

The Union determined to accord increased attention to the United Nations system in this quadrennium. While wishing to maintain its links to UNESCO, typically in association with ICSU and ISSC, it recognized the pertinence of psychology to a wide range of issues addressed in the UN system. Under the direction of Sabourin, consultative status with the United Nations Department of Public Information was established in 1997. An application for similar standing with the United Nations Economic and Social Council was still pending in 1999. Coordinated by Ritchie, a work plan for co-operation between the World Health Organization and IUPsyS was approved by both organizations in 1997.

Concerns began to be voiced about UNESCO’s World Science Conference planned for 1999. This focused on the apparent absence of social science presence in the organization of the conference. This issue would be addressed in collaboration with ISSC.

Assembly and Executive Committee meetings, San Francisco 1998

The wisdom of the decision to hold biennial Assembly meetings was immediately evident in 1998. In addition to enabling the Assembly to affirm the direction being taken by the Executive Committee and securing the contribution of Assembly delegates to current issues, items of official business were also transacted.

A total of 51 delegates representing 38 countries attended the San Francisco Assembly; representatives of 4 affiliates as well as a large number of observers from national members and other organizations were also present.

Organizational matters

Two new national members, Slovakia and Ukraine, were approved in 1998, bringing total membership to 64 countries and 11 affiliates. A growing concern addressed in San Francisco was the increased number of Category 0 countries, that is those who had not paid their dues for at least 3 years; while remaining national members, they no longer had a vote at the Assembly. The matter was referred to the Executive Committee for further consideration.

Among other business, amendments to the Rules of Procedure were approved, creating an Elections Committee as well as revised nominations and elections procedures. The Assembly also approved that the Executive Committee continue exploring research activities and other initiatives to further psychology internationally.

International congresses

The San Francisco meetings expressed their full satisfaction with reports of the planning for the 27th congress. Similarly, the preliminary planning for the 28th congress was proceeding well.

Regional congresses

The doubts previously expressed about the feasibility of holding the proposed 1999 Pan-Arab Regional Congress were unfortunately confirmed. In early 1998, with much regret, the Executive Committee supported the officers’ recommendation that IUPsyS withdraw its auspices.

To the good fortune of the international community, the recently constituted Psychological Society of South Africa offered to organize the First African Congress of Psychology. Following an intense period of consultation and negotiation, an agreement was achieved to hold this landmark event under the auspices of the Union with the collaboration of IAAP and the International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology. The Executive Committee met with the Africa Congress Organizing Committee in San Francisco, yielding a high level of confidence that the event could be mounted notwithstanding the short time-frame.


Three ARTS were conducted in 1998, again under the coordination of Adair. Two received support from UNESCO via ISSC: “Developing Effective Health Behavior Interventions and Qualitative Approaches in Cross-Cultural Psychology”. In addition, “Advances in Cognitive Psychology” was offered. In addition to the funding support of UNESCO/ISSC and the Union itself, ARTS secured financial support from nine national organizations and five other institutions. This underscored the viability and credibility of this activity as a capacity-building vehicle.


As anticipated, the review of the International Journal of Psychology led to revised “Aims and Scope” for the Journal. The Proceedings of the 26th International Congress of Psychology attracted positive attention and strong dissemination results. Work continued on preparation of the International Handbook of Psychology and a book on the History of the Union, both due for publication in 2000. ISSC confirmed that five short articles (boxes) prepared under the auspices of the IUPsyS will be published in the World Social Science Report for release in conjunction with UNESCO’s 1999 World Science Conference.

An important new initiative, the Psychology Resource Files, was approved by the 1998 Executive Committee. Under this aegis, materials and texts presenting useful information about psychology and psychologists internationally would be published periodically. It is anticipated that the revised IUPsyS Directory will be the initial offering, possibly with other materials to be determined.

The IUPsyS website ( ), now under the able direction of Deputy Secretary-General Bullock, was considerably enhanced in 1998.

Special projects

The Standing Committee on Research and Special Projects, chaired by Vice-President Strelau, assisted the Assembly and Executive Committee in providing general oversight and policy framework. In 1998, it undertook a preliminary consultation with national members on ideas for future projects, especially those with a goal of promoting capacity-building.

The several international collaborative networks coordinated by IUPsyS continued apace in 1998. Work of the International Network Project on Psychological Dimensions of Global Change continued with Pawlik as Project Director. The International Network on the Young Child and the Family, coordinated by Vice-President Kagitcibasi, continued its work on several activities including the promotion of psychology as a science and as a profession with national members. In 1998, initial deliberations were held on developing comprehensive data and information on the education and training of psychologists throughout the world. The IUPsyS HealthNet, co-ordinated by Executive Committee member Sanchez-Sosa, embarked on a period of renewal and expansion.

The initiative on Psychology and Cognitive Science completed its current project and concurrently continued planning the new stage of multi-disciplinary work in 1998 with Denis remaining as Project Director. Dissemination of the results of the first stage was facilitated through publication of a Special Issue of the International Journal of Psychology edited by Denis (1998) . The second stage, which focuses on Psychology in a Multi-disciplinary Environment, was launched to provide a framework for engaging contacts with international bodies representing other disciplines related to psychology. The objective was to explore the possibilities for IUPsyS and other organizations whose objectives partly overlap those of psychology to join their efforts in activities that promote an interdisciplinary view of science. During the 1988 ICSU Extraordinary General Assembly, contacts were made with officers of several Unions, in particular the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO), the International Geographical Union (IGU), and the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science (IUHPS).

UNESCO grants provided through ISSC in 1997 were allocated to the projects on “Psychological Dimensions of Global Change” and on “Dealing with Poverty and Social Integration Through Studying Child Rearing Practices of Low Socioeconomic-status Women,” as well as the ARTS noted earlier. Those provided through ICSU in collaboration with the US National Academy of Sciences were the projects on “Perception and Assessment of Global Environmental Change” and on “Psychology in a Multi-disciplinary Environment.”

International collaboration

As a result of a HealthNet initiative, a special IUPsyS liaison, Professor Robert Martin (Canada), had been appointed to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1997. The initial outcome of this activity was the establishment of a Work Plan approved by both IUPsyS and WHO as a next step toward establishing permanent formal relationship with WHO. The Work Plan emphasized the development of specific outcomes, initially concentrated on producing Behavioral Science Learning Modules as well as communication and information-sharing activities. Collaborative work was expected to focus on a broad range of health psychology activities including the participation of health psychologists in health education, and health promotion as well as traditional areas of mental health. HealthNet and Martin also continued to provide collaboration and assistance to Ritchie as IUPsyS representative to WHO, in implementing the IUPsyS-WHO Work Plan. At the outset, there was evidence of clear support within WHO to develop closer ties with psychology, particularly within a health psychology and behavioral science framework. The renewal of HealthNet was also of considerable interest to WHO.

A major achievement in 1998 was the attainment of Special Consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This was the fruition of considerable effort by Sabourin, the Union’s primary representative to UN headquarters, with assistance from current and former Officers. The Union would now be in a position to participate more actively not only in operational tasks, but to contribute to the policy and deliberative process of the UN’s senior body on social matters as well.

The President and Secretary-General, together with Denis, represented the Union at ICSU’s Extraordinary General Assembly, which adopted changes to ICSU’s organization and structure. With the expansion of the Executive Board, the Union hoped to have greater opportunity to participate in the senior level of ICSU’s decision-making. The President and Secretary-General also served as delegates to ISSC’s biennial General Assembly, at which Pawlik was elected President.

Relations with IAAP remained an important topic. Assembly delegates responded favorably to the President’s summary of progress at the San Francisco meeting. The joint IAAP-IUPsyS Committee was now meeting at least once a year and more typically twice. The IAAP Secretary-General, in attendance at the Assembly, endorsed the President’s remarks. The Assembly requested a full report at the 2000 Assembly on the steps taken by IAAP and IUPsyS to enhance co-operation between the two organizations.

Executive Committee meeting, Durban 1999

Given the objectives set at the outset of this quadrennium, it was especially fitting that the last Executive Committee meeting prior to the Stockholm congress be held in southern Africa. It was held in conjunction with the First African Congress of Psychology in Durban, South Africa. The congress itself will likely be regarded as one of the more significant events in the history of psychology in sub-Saharan Africa. More than closing the Union’s first half-century, it bore testimony to directions for the future.

Regional congresses

Holding the Executive Committee meeting in conjunction with the 1999 regional congress provided concrete affirmation of the Union’s capacity and willingness to support psychological science and the application of psychological knowledge to social progress in all areas of the world. Each member of the Executive Committee was invited to contribute to the congress program. Most participated in two or more events. One of the lasting results of the Union’s presence will be the relationships developed between attendees and persons associated with IUPsyS. The work of committees and international networks will be enriched by greater involvement of colleagues from several African countries. The Union secured supplemental grants from both ICSU and ISSC to support its contribution to the African Regional Congress.

Executive Committee (1996–2000) pictured at the 1st African Congress of Psychology, Durban, South Africa, July 1999—Back row (from left to right): Bruce Overmier, John Adair, Rubén Ardila, Houcan Zhang, Lars-Göran Nilsson, Juan José Sanchez-Sosa, Ype Poortinga, and Michel Denis. Front row (left to right): Hiroshi Imada, Michel Sabourin, Jan Strelau, Géry d’Ydewalle, Kurt Pawlik, Cigdem Kagitcibasi, Pierre Ritchie, and Merry Bullock.

Notwithstanding the success of the Durban Regional Congress, it was increasingly clear that the planning and organization of regional congresses is fraught with potential difficulty. Even the African event presented challenges that could not be overcome; for example, it was ultimately not possible to organize an ARTS for the African congress. This issue was the dominant item of discussion at both joint IAAP–IUPsyS officers meetings held in 1999. This led to new common procedures for sponsoring regional congresses.

International congresses

The San Francisco meetings expressed their full satisfaction with reports of the planning for the 27th congress. The organizational framework to support planning for the 28th congress was now in place. A draft contract between the Union and the Chinese organizers was under review, with signing to take place in 2000.

President d’Ydewalle prepared and the Executive Committee ratified guidelines for making an application to hold the Union’s international congress. With the increasing number of countries expressing interest in doing so for 2008, this document met an immediate need.

Capacity-building and special projects

Recognizing the importance of preserving the quality of ARTS while being equally cognizant of the large effort required by numerous persons to achieve them, the Executive Committee approved a new policy whereby ARTS will henceforth be offered only every 2 years in conjunction with the two major international congresses. As an alternative, workshops will be encouraged at regional congresses.

The Executive Committee again devoted considerable attention to consideration of various means to support capacity building. While the desire to do so as much as possible in direct collaboration with National Members remained strong, the reality is more often that the Union’s limited resources typically preclude such ventures except on an occasional basis. The thrust remains, therefore, on activities that have reasonable prospect of generalization and facilitating collaboration through and within networks. The projects coordinated by Pawlik on psychological dimensions of social change, Kagitcibasi on child rearing practices and literacy, and by Denis in psychology and cognitive science, demonstrate in their diversity and their results the Union’s ability to make an important contribution to capacity-building. The issue is expected to remain an important challenge in the next quadrennium and be the object of further deliberation at the 2000 Assembly and Executive Committee meetings.

The Union was informed that it would receive in 2000 the largest grant it has ever been accorded by ICSU for the project “Psychology in a Multi-Disciplinary Environment.” In particular, an IUPsyS-IBRO joint symposium and a multi-day training workshop on “Neuroimaging of Cognitive Functions,” intended especially for psychologists in developing and Eastern Europe countries, will be held in conjunction with the Stockholm congress. An IUPsyS-IGU joint symposium on “Spatial Cognition and Geographical Knowledge” will also be delivered at the congress.

As a result of networking activities of recent years coordinated by Vice-President Kagitcibasi, a Directory of Centers Involved in Research and Applied Work on the Young Child and the Family in Developing Countries and Eastern Europe was completed and published in the International Journal of Psychology. It promised to be a valuable resource for those interested in communicating and collaborating with research centers across the world focusing on the young child and the family.

A highly successful workshop, “Youth and Violence in Southern Africa: Building Cultures of Peace” was offered in conjunction with the First African Congress. It was again organized under the auspices of the Union’s Committee on the Psychological Study of Peace with support from UNESCO via ISSC.

Organizational matters

Two new national members, Mongolia and Peru, were approved in 1999, bringing total membership to 66 countries and 11 affiliates.

The growing concern addressed in San Francisco about the larger number of Category 0 countries prompted the Executive Committee to formulate several actions which will be brought to the Stockholm Assembly. In particular, the determination of “good standing” would be based on a more elaborated definition.

An immediate action developed by the Treasurer with the support of the Executive Committee was a request to higher-income countries to consider a voluntary increase in their dues category. Preliminary indications were of a positive response from several national members.


The most important publications decision of 1999 addressed the language of the International Journal of Psychology. Following an extended and vigorous, but unanticipated, debate, the Executive Committee voted to publish the Journal as a unilingual English language Journal with abstracts in English, French, and Spanish. Implementation will occur in conjunction with the start of the term of a new editor in 2001 since the current editor (Doré) will have completed two terms, the maximum permitted.

Overmier was appointed editor of the new Psychology Resource Files, which will initially be published in 2000 by Psychology Press. Both the International Handbook and the book on the history of the Union were also on target for a year 2000 publication.

International collaboration

Along with the relationship with IAAP already described, the relationship with several European entities occupied considerable attention in 1999. At year’s end, the Union appeared to have played a constructive role in facilitating greater communication between representatives of the academic and professional psychology communities. It is hoped that EFPPA will be better able to meet the needs of the academic community, and its leadership undertook to consider several mechanisms to enable EFPPA so to do.

The Union was well represented at the World Science Conference with a delegation headed by President d’Ydewalle. It was unclear what the real impact of the Conference will be in the years ahead, with opinions varying between seeing it as the last echo of the outgoing administration and those who saw it as potentially having broader implications for UNESCO and government’s science policy agenda.

In the short-term, the Union was unhappy that most of the material it prepared for the World Social Science Report was not retained by UNESCO. This resulted from an apparent misunderstanding between ISSC, which served as the intermediary for all the social sciences, and UNESCO.

Work with United Nations headquarters and with WHO continued to evolve. At an operational level, the Union now has regular representatives to assist it in New York and Geneva. An additional task was added to the IUPsyS–WHO Work Plan; the Union will develop a policy paper to assist WHO in enunciating the contributions psychologists can make across the health care system. The Behavioral Science Modules on Immunization and Pre-Natal Care were virtually complete and are due to be published and disseminated in 2000.

As the Union receives more requests for involvement, it became increasingly clear that choices will have to be made based on an articulation of the Union’s priorities for such involvement. Preparations for the first year of the new millennium underscore the challenge, particularly as the traditional nation-based UN political system begins to consider how to work more collaboratively with agencies of civil society which now undertake much of the work done under UN auspices.

Concluding comment

Although the quadrennium has most of its last year to complete as this is written, it is reasonable to suggest that most of the objectives set at its outset will have been achieved. Notwithstanding the transitions in the Union’s own leadership as well as unanticipated challenges which had to be addressed in the short-term, the Union demonstrated sustained focus on its priorities. It continues to grapple with the dilemma of insufficient resources to meet demands and expectations, both those generated internally and those coming increasingly from the wider global community. While those who will assume responsibility for initiating the Union’s second half-century after the Stockholm congress will set their own agenda and priorities, it is probable that there will be a good measure of continuity in some of the specifics. They will certainly be faced with having to make ever-harder choices in the allocation of resources while seeking to expand the resource base itself.


Adair, J.G., Bélanger, D., & Dion, K.L. (Eds.) (1998). Advances in psychological science: Vol. 1: Social, personal and cultural aspects. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Denis, M. (Ed.) (1998). Psychology and cognitive science: An international perspective. Special Issue of the International Journal of Psychology, 33(6).

Imada, H. (1996). Psychology throughout the world: A selected bibliography of materials published in English 1974–1995. International Journal of Psychology, 31(6), 307–368.

Sabourin, M., Craik, F., & Robert, M. (Eds.) (1998). Advances in psychological science: Vol. 2: Biological and cognitive aspects. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.