Chapter 17

IUPsyS in the 21st Century—the Move Toward Strategic Planning:
An Overview of the IUPsyS (2004–2008)

Merry Bullock
American Psychological Association

Pierre L.-J. Ritchie
University of Ottawa

During the period 2004–2008, the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS) laid the groundwork for a sustained growth in scope, focus, visibility and impact. It developed a broad and ambitious strategic plan, and expanded its resources to put the plan into action. By the end of the quadrennium, the Union stood poised to vigorously pursue its mission to develop, represent and advance psychology as a basic and applied science nationally, regionally and internationally.

This article is a brief summary of the activities of IUPsyS during the quadrennium. It covers activities beginning after the 2004 Assembly at the XXVIII International Congress of Psychology in Beijing, China to the conclusion of the 2008 Assembly at the XXIX International Congress of Psychology in Berlin, Germany. We will highlight activities of the Union in the following core areas: Union Structure, International Congresses, Capacity Building, Publications, Policies, and Engagement with Global Bodies.

Union Structure

During the 2004–2008 quadrennium, the Union grew to 71 National Members with the admission of Jordan and Sudan in 2004 and Namibia in 2008. The adhering bodies for India (2004) and Spain and France (2008) each changed to a federation to reflect broad representation of psychology in each of these countries. The number of affiliates grew to 14 with the establishment of ARUPS, the ASEAN Regional Union of Psychological Societies, and its affiliation with the Union in 2008. At the close of 2008, national psychology associations in a number of additional countries were engaged in active preparations for membership. The admission and progress toward admission of new National Members is compatible with and prompted by the Union’s capacity-building activities in several regions of the world.

The Executive Committee for the 2004-2008 quadrennium, elected or ratified by the more than 60 delegates at the 2004 Union Assembly, came from Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the UK, the US, and Yemen. They were:

President, Professor Bruce Overmier (USA);
Secretary-General, Prof. Pierre Ritchie (Canada);
Past-President, Prof. Michel Denis (France);
Treasurer, Professor Michel Sabourin (Canada);
Vice-Presidents, Profs. Saths Cooper (South Africa) and Ingrid Lunt (UK);
Deputy Secretary-General, Dr. Merry Bullock (USA);
Members: Profs. Helio Carpintero (Spain), James Georgas (Greece); Hassan Khan (Yemen); Sunoko Kuwano (Japan), Patrick Lemaire (France), Elizabeth Nair (Singapore), Juan José Sanchez Sosa (Mexico); Rainer Silbereisen (Germany), Barbara Tversky (USA), and Kan Zhang (China).

The Strategic Plan

In 2004, the Assembly established a mandate that the Union needed to operate on the basis of a clear strategic plan, and charged the Executive Committee with developing that plan for Assembly consideration. During the next two years, the EC developed strategic priorities and actions, examined the mission and goals of the Union, and developed a draft plan for discussion at the 2006 Assembly meetings. Following the 2006 Assembly meeting, the Union continued to refine the strategic plan and also took steps to increase its financial resources. The culmination of these activities was the adoption of the Strategic Plan for the 2008–2012 Quadrennium by the Assembly at its 2008 meeting, and the announcement of significant new resources from renewed publishing arrangements. As noted in the strategic plan:

“This dual development [of a strategic orientation and increased resources] provides a unique opportunity to articulate a menu of priority actions based on the Statutes and Mission of the Union and to provide the necessary infrastructure to allow the strategic goals to be realized.”

The 2008–2012 strategic plan begins by noting that the Union’s structure and membership allow it a unique role in representing Psychology in global science, professional and policy venues, in fostering the development of national member associations and in developing and promulgating policy frameworks for psychology at the global level. It specifies core operating principles for the Union that cover the scope of its activities, capacity building efforts, representation and policy activities and that mandate the Union to evaluate and monitor the relation between its activities and its mission. It also articulates decision rules for initiating or engaging in activities. These decision rules state that Union activities should support continuous engagement (with national members and in international representation), should be important for development of the discipline and of organized psychology and should be ones that the Union is uniquely or ideally positioned to carry out.

Examples of strategic activities include capacity building for associations, individuals and networks; engagement with international and global organizations that encompass psychology as a science or profession; service to National Members by the adoption of policies, dissemination of information, and dissemination of opportunities; service to the discipline through the development of standards or guidelines to promote a “common core”; and the promotion of communication and exchange through Congresses, the journal, books, and electronic resources.

The Assembly also moved to enable this ambitious plan by endorsing the engagement of professional staff to provide stability in administration and planning, and to assist the Union in maintaining focused activities and in procuring increased resources. A major task of the governance in the subsequent quadrennium will be the development and implementation of this strategic vision.

Congresses and Conferences

Through its programmes to sponsor Congresses, conferences and workshops, the Union reaffirms 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 2004–2008 period began with the conclusion of the XXVIII International Congress of Psychology, held in China. The strong attendance of 6,500, including 3,000 Chinese colleagues, highlighted the rapid development of psychology in China and the region. The period ended after the successful completion of the XXIX International Congress of Psychology in Berlin. Attendance at the Berlin Congress, the largest ever at over 10,000, highlighted the growth of psychology from every region of the world, with attendees from 111 countries. The 2008 Congress continued the Union’s commitment to foster the development of psychology. In addition to regular programming, the Congress featured, innovative “Controversial Debates”, and sponsored a Young Psychologist program, and a scholarship program.

The 2008 Congress was the occasion to launch a major new award sponsored by the Mattei Dogan Foundation to highlight excellence contributions to psychology. The first recipient of the award, Prof. Michael Posner, a distinguished neuroscientist from the University of Oregon, USA who has pioneered our understanding of the brain and behavior, gave the keynote address at the opening Ceremony. The Congress ended with a welcome to the XXX International Congress of Psychology to be held in 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Regional Conferences

In addition to its major international congresses, the Union continued to offer regional conferences of psychology 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 2004–2008 period these included the Asian Applied Psychology International-Regional Conference (AAPI-RC) in Bangkok, Thailand and the Second Middle East and North Africa Regional Conference of Psychology (MENARCP) in Amman, Jordan (see the Overview in the MENA section of this CD-ROM).

Global Engagement

In the 2004–2008 quadrennium, the Union continued its strong contributions to international development through involvement 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).

Highlights of these activities included leadership in the ICSU governance (Union Executive members served in the ICSU Executive council and several of its internal committees), as well as leadership in ICSU-sponsored interdisciplinary collaboration. The Union undertook a new 2-year project supported by UNESCO and the US State Department via ICSU on Human Dimensions of Global Change: Human Perceptions of and Behavior in Sustainable Water Use in 2004. The Union took a seminal role in promoting the development of a possible new ICSU interdisciplinary program, focused on Health in a Changing Urban Environment, a Systems Analysis Approach. This initiative is currently being developed and evaluated with Union participation.

The Union engaged with and actively supported the renewal of the International Social Sciences Council (ISSC), and its enhanced collaboration with other global bodies, especially the International Council for Science (ICSU).

The Union also devoted energy to greater and more systematic contribution to public policy 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 provided a forum for its representatives to develop workshops and seminars on the contributions of psychological science to global issues through side events at the annual NGO/DPI meetings and through participation in the annual Psychology Day at the United Nations. The Union also continued its sustained collaborations with the WHO and secured resources to provide the WHO with a senior project officer for the revision of the International Classification of Diseases, the primary diagnostic system used throughout the world.

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. In addition to the regional conferences described above, the Union continued its programmes of Advanced Research Training Seminars and National Capacity-Building workshops, and HealthNet initiatives.

Advanced Research Training Seminars (ARTS)

The programme of Advanced Research Training Seminars (ARTS) included 6 seminars during the 2004–2008 quadrennium. The methodology ARTS included Design and Methods in Cross Cultural Psychology; Structural Equation Modeling with EQS 6.1; Large-Scale International Data Sets Relevant for Research in Educational and Developmental Psychology; and Qualitative and Mixed Method Research in Cross-Cultural Studies. The content focused ARTS included: Stress, Health and Well-Being in the Face of Major Trauma, and Universal and Ethnocyncratic Couple Patterns: From evolution to culture and from theory to research. In all over 70 psychologists from majority world countries participated in ARTS seminars.

National Capacity Building Activities

Continuing from activities begun in 2002, the Union mounted several program of national capacity building, addressing education and training, advocacy, the development of organized psychology and the development of professional issues. Workshops took place in China (2004), Thailand (2005), and Jordan (2007) and focused on establishing regional networks and organizations (e.g., in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions, and in Southeast Asia). The successful founding and organization of the ASEAN Regional Union of Psychological Societies (ARUPS) is an outgrowth of this process.


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, Spanish) to increase accessibility. The Union’s Psychology Resource Files continued as a yearly CD-ROM publication with increasing amounts of resource materials.

Following the 2004 International Congress, the Union published the Proceedings titled Progress in Psychological Science Around the World in two volumes:
Vol. I. Neural, Cognitive and Developmental Issues (Jing et al., 2006a)
Vol. II. Social and Applied Issues (Jing et al., 2006b)
Other noteworthy publications included Psychological Concepts: An International Historical Perspective (Pawlik & d’Ydewalle, 2006) and the yearly Psychology: IUPsyS Global Resource (edited by Wedding & Stevens).

Capitalizing on the growth of web and electronic resources, the Union enhanced its web presence ( with added directories, resources, a comprehensive international meeting calendar, and relevant links for the international psychology community.

In 2007, the Union issued a request for proposals for its publication programme. Following extended review, the Union selected Psychology Press as its publisher, renewing an ongoing relationship. The new publishing arrangement contributed to enhancing the Union’s financial means to engage in Union programmatic activities.


During the 2004–2008 Quadrennium the Union developed a number of policies both for its internal activities and with regard to science more broadly. These included a policy on the recognition of psychology as an autonomous profession (2006), a policy on conflict of interest for EC members (2008), a policy on ethical principles for psychologists (2008) and the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles (2008), developed in collaboration with IAAP and IACCP. In addition the Union made public statements against the use of boycotts as a means of public censure.


The Union begins the 2008–2012 quadrennium with a clear, articulated plan for moving forward, and with the promise of an increase in financial and human resources to implement the plan.

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 new Strategic Plan, and in its programmes with National Members, Affiliates, Liaisons and other international and global organizations. Implementing the new policy framework and strategic vision is the challenge faced for the next quadrennium.


Jing, Q., Rosenzweig, M. R., d’Ydewalle, G., Zhang, H., Chen, H.-C., & Zhang, K. (Eds.). (2006a). Progress in psychological science around the world: Vol. I. Neural, cognitive and developmental issues. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Jing, Q., Rosenzweig, M. R., d’Ydewalle, G., Zhang, H., Chen, H.-C., & Zhang, K. (Eds.). (2006b). Progress in psychological science around the world: Vol. II. Social and applied issues. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Pawlik, K., & d’Ydewalle, G. (2006). Psychological concepts: An international historical perspective. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Relevant Website Resources

Strategic Plan for the 2008–2012 Quadrennium accessed February 2009

Policy on the recognition of psychology as an autonomous profession (2006).

Policy on conflict of interest for EC members (2008).

Policy on ethical principles for psychologists (2008), see Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles (2008).

Annual Reports accessed at