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Volume 53 Number 1 Winter 2020
Edited by Olga Oliveira Chuna, NOVA University, Lisbon Portugal and Douglas Perkins, Vanderbilt University
Written by Olga Oliveira Cunha, NOVA University, Lisbon Portugal and Douglas D. Perkins, Vanderbilt University
After many years in the most capable hands of Irma Serrano-Garcia as editor, the International Column of The Community Psychologist will be co-edited by Olga Oliveira Cunha and Douglas D. Perkins. We deeply appreciate Irma’s leadership not just in editing this recurring column, but for all her years publishing her own community psychological ideas and research and effectively mentoring so many community psychologists in Puerto Rico and across the Americas, both North and South. Her 2018 SCRA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Theory and Research in Community Psychology was very well-deserved and long overdue. Through her work as an editor and advisor, not just of this column, but even more importantly of the Inter-American Journal of Psychology, of multiple books, including the latest Handbook of Community Psychology, and special issues and every International Community Psychology Conference from the first one at her own campus of the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras to the last one in Santiago, Chile, and the next one in Melbourne, Australia, Irma has played an especially crucial role connecting and influencing community psychologists from Puerto Rico to the United States and all of Latin America, as well as publicizing Puerto Rican community psychology throughout the Western Hemisphere and beyond. So to Irma from the entire SCRA International Committee, muchas gracias!
To introduce ourselves, Olga Oliveira Cunha received her degrees in educational and community psychology at ISPA-IU (University Institute Psychology, in Lisbon, Portugal, and currently is the coordinator of the Psychology and Counseling Office at Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, NOVA University in Lisbon. She is also a member of the APPsyCI- Applied Psychology Research Center Capabilities & Inclusion (ISPA-IU). Her current research focuses on sense of community within kindergarten and nonprofit and religious organizations, volunteering (sense of community of volunteers, motivations) and integration of people with mental illness in higher education.
Douglas D. Perkins received his degrees in community psychology at New York University, taught at Temple University and the University of Utah, is a professor of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University, teaches in its B.S. track in Community Leadership and Development and M.Ed. in Community Development and Action, and was founding director of the interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Community Research and Action. His current research focuses on the global development of Community Psychology and 11 other applied community studies disciplines, especially in regions challenged by political oppression, poverty, conflict, and the legacy of colonization. He studies and works with voluntary associations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies responding to development challenges, at all levels but especially locally.
The rest of this column provides an overview of the international contributions and meetings at the 2019 Biennial Conference on Community Research and Action in Chicago. The international representation at the Conference was truly impressive. There were sessions on Residential Stability Among Homeless Subpopulations and on Teaching Community Psychology in Class-based Settings by researchers from Canada; Diverse Intervention Initiatives to Create Change in Cairo, Egypt; Reflections of a Polish Social Psychologist and Human Rights Activist (for the Global Alliance Marion Langer Award); Lessons Learned from an Ecosystem-Based Youth Leadership Program in India; Neoliberal Influences on Community Psychology From Australia and the United States; the Future of Community Psychology as a Discipline in Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, South Africa and the U.S.; Case Studies in Creating Cultures of Sustainability Through Community and Organizational Partnerships in Canada, the U.S., and New Zealand; Ecological Praxis and the Natural World on Islands of the Pacific-Asia Region; globally focused studies by researchers based at both National Louis University and Vanderbilt University in the United States; Ignite presentations by scholars from Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Italy, Korea, Portugal, U.K., Uruguay, Zimbabwe; not to mention dozens of excellent international poster presentations and many other fascinating sessions too numerous to review here.
We also held our International Committee meeting at the Biennial. In all, 21 persons attended with seven being first-time attendees to the Committee's meeting. There was a brief overview of activities of the Chair and Committee for the last two years and there were some debate and proposals for the next two years. This discussion resulted in the following ideas within two main topics: Establishing resources for members and projects to help promote and grow the Committee:
a) Access to international datasets, such as through the National Academy of Sciences and Civic Leads (available through the University of Michigan)
b) Creation of a repository of international community psychology literature
c) Arrange for conversations via the listserv on creating an online course
d) Identifying editor[s] for the International Column in The Community Psychologist and planning future columns and authors
e) Establish connections with other groups within the SCRA family
f) Organize one or more sessions (symposia) produced by the International Committee at the 8th International Conference in Melbourne
g) Create a podcast where different members will talk about their experience/work in Community Psychology
We would now like to invite you to share ideas for future TCP columns. You are welcome to submit a brief description of a proposed column either about one of the topics from the meeting or some interesting example of international community psychology work. Send your column ideas and who would write it (yourself or someone else) to both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com !
Finally, we hope as many readers as possible will attend the 8th International Community Psychology Conference in Melbourne, Australia, June 26-28, 2020, and the next SCRA Biennial Conference at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2021!