Chapter 16

Maintaining Historic Strengths and Initiating New Ventures: An Overview of the IUPsyS (2000–2004)

Pierre L.-J. Ritchie
University of Ottawa

Merry Bullock
American Psychological Association

This article is a brief overview of the activities of the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS) for the 2000–2004 quadrennium. It addresses the period from the conclusion of the 2000 Assembly at the Stockholm International Congress of Psychology to the conclusion of the 2004 Assembly at the Beijing Congress. During this quadrennium, the Union grew to 70 National Members with the admission of Jordan and Sudan. Furthermore, the adhering body for India is now the National Academy of Psychology – India. The admission of several new national members is anticipated in the next quadrennium. These are likely to be prompted by the Union’s capacity-building activities in several regions of the world.

The Executive Committee for the 2000–2004 quadrennium was:
President, Professor Michel Denis (France);
Secretary-General, Professor Pierre Ritchie (Canada);
Past-President, Professor Géry d’Ydewalle (Belgium);
Treasurer, Professor Michel Sabourin (Canada);
Vice-Presidents, Professors Juan José Sanchez Sosa (Mexico) and Houcan Zhang (China);
Deputy Secretary-General, Doctor Merry Bullock (USA);
Members: Professors John Adair (Canada); Rubén Ardila (Columbia); Saths Cooper (South Africa); Hiroshi Imada (Japan); Çigdem Kagitçibasi (Turkey); Ingrid Lunt (United Kingdom); Elizabeth Nair (Singapore); Bruce Overmier (USA); Ype Poortinga (Netherlands); and Rainer Silbereisen (Germany).

The 2000–2004 period began with the official celebration of the Union’s 50th anniversary on the occasion of the XXVII International Congress of Psychology, held in Sweden where the Union had been founded. It ended after the successful completion of the XXVIII International Congress of Psychology in Beijing, China. This Congress marked a return to China where the Union’s first regional conference of psychology was held only a little less than a decade earlier in Guangzhou. The 2004 Congress confirmed the Union’s commitment to contribute fully to psychology in all parts of the world. Through its Advanced Research Training Seminars (ARTS), its other capacity building initiatives, its publications program and outreach including electronic applications, as well as its international congresses and regional conferences of psychology, the Union reaffirmed the importance it accords to supporting the development of psychology in all parts of the world and to the continued emphasis on collaboration, exchange, and the dissemination of knowledge.

The 2000–2004 quadrennium was also characterized by the Union’s increased contribution to international development through strong relations with global science and policy bodies, including the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Sciences Council (ISSC), the United Nations Secretariat (UN), and the World Health Organization (WHO). Where strong collaboration existed, it has been maintained. In other cases, particularly ICSU, the UN secretariat, and WHO, the relationships were substantially enhanced. IUPsyS is also increasingly engaged in multi-Union endeavors to address societal issues as well as the development of the discipline and of science.

In 2001, the Union began a process of examination that led to sustained self-assessment, outcome evaluation and future planning. It culminated in a mandate from the 2004 Assembly that the Union function on the basis of a strategic plan. Prompted by increasing demands on the Union’s financial and human resources, the Assembly also provided direction to the new executive committee and officers to ensure that the process of strategic planning be a fundamental principle for the Union’s governance and management. One of the major challenges of the next quadrennium will be to make noteworthy strides toward implementing this mandate.

Recent world events have confirmed the importance of international collaboration to enhance human well-being. The Union demonstrated wisdom in the energy devoted to greater and more systematic contribution to public policy, especially through the United Nations family. The Union’s special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and relations with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations were augmented by the achievement of official relations with the World Health Organization in 2002. Notable WHO activities included collaboration with the WHO adherence project culminating in significant IUPsyS contributions to a book, Adherence to Long-Term Therapies (WHO, 2003), and collaboration on the development of the next edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) that will occur largely in the next quadrennium.

At the same time, frequently in collaboration with other scientific unions, IUPsyS remained committed to making a contribution to the global science community, to the enhancement of scientific endeavors and to the application of scientific knowledge through its partnerships with the International Council of Science and the International Social Science Council. Examples during the 2000–2004 quadrennium include a conference on the evaluation of the Union’s longstanding project on Psychological Aspects of Global Environmental Change (PAGEC) held in Turkey in 2002. This precipitated a new 2-year project supported by UNESCO and the U.S. State Department via ICSU on Human Dimensions of Global Change: Human Perceptions of and Behavior in Sustainable Water Use launched in 2004.

Capacity Building

During this quadrennium, the Union strongly reaffirmed its commitment to capacity-building in all areas of the world and for all areas of psychology. The program of Advanced Research Training Seminars, the establishment of National Capacity-Building projects and implementation of successful regional conferences, and further initiatives by HealthNet were cornerstones of the Union’s capacity building work.

Advanced Research Training Seminars (ARTS)

The program of Advanced Research Training Seminars (ARTS) included 6 seminars:

  1. Workplace Safety, System Safety and Psychology;
  2. Emotion and Intercultural Adjustment;
  3. Culture, Family and Psychological Functioning;
  4. Development and Evaluation of Psychological Interventions in Health and Disease;
  5. Environmental Psychology in Developing Countries – A Multimethod Approach;
  6. Survey Research Methods.

Taken together, ARTS offered training to over 70 psychologists from majority world countries.

National Capacity Building Activities

Beginning in 2002, the Union mounted a program of national capacity building activities addressing education and training, advocacy, the development of organized psychology and the development of professional issues. Activities were held in Singapore, Yemen, and China and focused on establishing regional networks and organizations (e.g., the Asia–Oceania Network of Psychologists, and the Regional Council of Arab Psychological Associations), and national capacity building more broadly in Asia and the Middle East.

Regional Conferences

The Union’s Regional Conferences are offered in collaboration with the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP) and the International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) on a two-year cycle. During the 2000–2004 quadrennium, these included the South-East Asia Regional Conference on Scientific and Applied Psychology: Enhancing Human Potential (Mumbai, India, 2001); and the Middle East and North Africa Regional Conference of Psychology: Psychology and Sustainable Development and Peace (Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 2003). The three foci of the 2003 regional conference were clinical and health psychology in the Middle East; school psychology in the Middle East; and peace psychology and conflict resolution.


The noteworthy success of the Union’s publications program is now a matter of record with dissemination of knowledge through the International Journal of Psychology a stable feature of the Union. The journal was enhanced through the introduction of Abstracts in three languages (English, French, and Spanish) to increase accessibility. The Union’s Psychology: IUPsyS Global Resource became established as a yearly CD-ROM publication with increasing amounts of resource materials.

Following the 2000 International Congress, the Union published the proceedings in two volumes titled Psychology at the Turn of the Millennium: I. Cognitive, Biological, and Health Perspectives (Bäckman, & von Hofsten, 2002) and Psychology at the Turn of the Millennium: II. Social, Developmental and Clinical Perspectives (von Hofsten, & Bäckman, 2002) .

Other noteworthy publications included the International Handbook of Psychological Science (Pawlik, & Rosenzweig, 2000), an edited book with summary reviews of an international perspective on psychology as a science and a profession and present-day psychological knowledge in methodology and practice, and the History of the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS) (Rosenzweig, Holtzman, Sabourin, & Bélanger, 2000), covering the period until 2000.

Capitalizing on the growth of web and electronic resources, the Union enhanced its web presence with a named URL ( and comprehensive contact information, current news and announcements and an exhaustive international meeting calendar for the international psychology community.


Annual reports in the 2000–2004 quadrennium (see noted the heavy demands placed on the Union to mobilize the capacity to make possible the achievements reported here. With a sustained growth in activity and a continued dramatic increase in external and internal communications, the Union’s small part-time secretariat received demands well beyond the limits of its resources. This challenge was not limited to the President, Secretary-General, or the other officers. The same phenomenon was found across the Union’s activity centers. Enhancing the Union’s own infrastructure to carry out the IUPsyS mission requires thoughtful attention to finding practical solutions to managing the Union’s overall workload. Without such solutions it is unlikely that strategic priorities can be achieved. Hence, making the Union’s governance, internal operations and management as efficient as possible is in itself an important strategic goal.

The goals of the International Union of Psychological Science are broad – to serve and develop psychology, to represent its National Members, and to work for the common good. These goals were reaffirmed in the Union’s commitment to strategic planning and to sustained service in concert with national members, affiliates liaisons and other international and global organizations. Developing the policy framework and strategic vision and securing the financial means and human resources to realize the full potential of the Union’s priorities are the challenges faced in the next quadrennium.


Bäckman, L., & von Hofsten, C. (Eds.). (2002). Psychology at the turn of the millennium: I. Cognitive, biological, and health perspectives. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Pawlik, K., & Rosenzweig, M. (Eds.). (2000). International handbook of psychological science. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Press.

Rosenzweig, M. R., Holtzman, W., Sabourin, M., & Bélanger, D. (2000). History of the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS). Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

von Hofsten, C., & Bäckman, L. (Eds.). (2002). Psychology at the turn of the millennium: II. Social, developmental and clinical perspectives. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

World Health Organization (2003). Adherence to long-term therapies. Geneva: World Health Organization.