BDP im Gespräch: The Global Psychology Alliance
BDP-Präsidentin Dr. Meltem Avci-Werning sprach mit Amanda Clinton, MEd, PhD, über die Global Psychology Alliance (GPA).
Dr. Meltem Avci-Werning: What do we do as psychologists worldwide?
Amanda Clinton, MEd, PhD: In 2017, the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President declared that “solidarity and working together is more important than ever” (https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/intergovernmental-coordination/high-level-segment.html). His introductory remarks at this Council meeting emphasized the reality that human beings “cannot overcome global challenges in isolation,” notably when our critical concerns include issues as complex as climate change, extreme poverty, and inequality (https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/intergovernmental-coordination/high-level-segment.html).
Psychological science can make meaningful contributions to resolving global issues, particularly when our organizations come together to share resources, knowledge and strategies. One of the most effective ways in which organized psychology has worked together in recent years is through the Global Psychology Alliance (GPA). The GPA regularly convenes high-level leaders, such as CEOs and presidents, of 65 national, regional and international psychological associations on every continent of the world. The purpose of the GPA is to utilize an evidence-based approach to taking action on critical global issues to which psychology can make a meaningful contribution. In less than 2 years, the GPA has convened an International Summit on Psychology and Global Health: A Leader in Climate Action in Portugal in which commitments to focus on collective action by organized psychology were formalized. Additionally, the GPA developed practical tools based on psychological science to address shared global concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. These materials were translated into over a dozen languages and disseminated worldwide. Currently, the GPA is supporting emerging leaders in psychology from around the world as part of a year-long Global Learning Leadership Institute (LLI) with the long-term aim of establishing a leadership pipeline with links across countries and continents. LLI and GPA participants will come together in 2022 and outline the “Agenda: Psychology 2025” that sets critical priorities on which individual psychologists and organized psychology should focus that are based specifically on our science.
Why is it important for psychologists to engage globally?
Amanda Clinton, MEd, PhD: Psychology is fundamentally about the human experience. As the science that studies the relationships between brain function, environment/context and behavior, emotion, socialization and thought, psychological research addresses fundamental issues to humanity. For this reason, it is fair to say that we all share commonalities as human beings (in addition to our differences). That is, many of the challenges we face across the world are ones we can all readily share to a certain degree. Where there are differences, of course, we can learn from one another, as well.
As touched on in the prior section, psychological science contributes to every aspect of the human experience. These include – but are in no way limited to - topics like leadership, learning, human-machine interaction, health behaviors, motivation and child development – that are related to major global questions and needs. Often, the challenges individuals and societies face in their own countries are of such significance that it behooves us to join together in our efforts to find a way forward. This has been true of the Global Psychology Alliance’s (GPA) COVID-19 projects and its engagement on the climate crisis.
How will the GPA carry on?
Amanda Clinton, MEd, PhD: The Global Psychology Alliance (GPA) established its foundation at the 2019 Psychology and Global Health Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. When the COVID-19 pandemic occurred early in 2020, the GPA joined together to develop, produce and disseminate science-based information and tools for all 65 participating associations. As we begin our work in 2021, the GPA is returning to one of its initial objectives: global efforts in psychology to address the climate crisis. The GPA submitted a proposal to present at the UN Climate Conference and has further begun designing practical communications resources, policy briefings and training concepts for psychologists worldwide. Additionally, the GPA created a Global Learning Leadership Institute (LLI) that is supporting the development of emerging leaders of psychology around the world. The GPA plans to reconvene for a second summit in early 2022 and will include its young psychologists in this event, as well. GPA will continue to gather and further psychological science and action for as long as it has work to do.