Overview of the key points raised at the Asian Psychology Round Table
The discussion at the Asian Psychology Roundtable covered a wide variety of issues relating to psychology in Asia.
First, it was stated that psychology is a real area of growth in Asia, for example, psychology departments in China have grown from 5 to 195 in the last 30 years. Societies today are also experiencing growth, such as IUPsyS, which has seen an expanding member base in Asian countries. However, many international collaborative projects could be done better if there was more and better communication between societies and associations. Joint task forces could also prove valuable in encouraging effective collaboration.
“We need to recognize that there is something bigger than us: psychology as a profession. We all benefit if psychology is strong” – Dr Oscar Barbarin
Current collaborative activities highlighted were:
• SRCD facilitates international research collaboration and has an MOU with UNICEF consulting on UNICEF’s early childhood program
• IAAP cooperates with a number of other organisations to help train psychologists, including in low-income countries. The IAAP Task Force on Regional Development in Asia (which had its first meeting at ICAP 2010) is envisaged as a way to forge links between regional associations and individuals.
There is great potential for collaboration between Asian and non-Asian colleagues, especially in:
• the regulation of standards and practice internationally (the IAAP is currently drafting standard ethics guidelines, and the ITC is working on ISO standard accreditation)
• educational standards, and
• the promotion of the science of psychology
The following possible future areas for collaboration were identified:
• disaster relief (for example, following the Sichuan earthquake or Boxing Day tsunami)
• key trans-national problems, specifically: migration, terrorism, conflict, climate change, and the modern unhealthy lifestyle
It was suggested that a new memorandum should be introduced: a memorandum of action, above and beyond the current memorandum of understanding (MOU). MOUs are significant symbolic activity but should not be the end of the story.
A number of further ideas were suggested for future consideration:
• indigenous cultures panel events at future international conferences
• tandem memberships (specifically, how to implement sharing member benefits between large and small societies)
• sharing best practice guidelines and documents between established and fledgling societies
• the establishment of ‘mobility’ travel funds, set up within established societies to support emerging scholars from Asian countries
• mentoring between associations, providing society presidents of the future with the skills they will need in their new roles
• linking specialized sections across societies
• providing an ‘Asian voice’ – a multilateral communication vehicle between international societies.