Presidential Column

International Congress

XXVth International Congress of Psychology Brussels, July 19-24, 1992

The International Congress of Psychology in Brussels attracted many thousands of participants from more than 70 countries. There were more than 700 participants from the United States. It was the first time that so many psychologists from East Europe tried to attend the meeting. While the political situation of the former socialist countries was no longer an obstacle to attending, those participants faced major financial problems.

Brussels Was Successful

As a scientific meeting, the Congress could be considered a landmark in the successful series of International Congresses. The Brussels success could be attributed to careful preparation of the scientific program; the preparations took more than four years.

As the International Congress of Psychology (under the auspices of the International Union of Psychological Science [IUPsyS]), alternates with the International Congress of Applied Psychology (organized on behalf of the International Association of Applied Psychology, IAAP) to organize the meeting, it was the intention of the Congress organizers to develop a strong scientific program on basic psychological processes.

To achieve this outstanding basic science program, we selected and invited eminent keynote speakers and speakers on state-of-the-art topics as well as symposium conveners who are well known for their dedication to basic science. We collected information on the current status of psychological research by soliciting help from the 49 scientific member organizations of IUPsyS.

Science at the Forefront

Due in part to the strong representation of science on the developing program, many outstanding scholars were willing to submit abstracts for oral or poster presentations. And, the submitted part of the Congress was of excellent quality.

The Brussels Congress set a record for poster presentations (more than 2,000 were presented), and they were grouped in interactive sessions allowing open discussions. A total of more than 4,000 abstracts were accepted for oral or poster presentation, and they all were published in a special issue of the International Journal of Psychology.

A Helping Hand

The meeting was not without its logistical surprises. On the very first day of the Congress, a large number of participants from East Europe arrived unexpectedly by train, but a gracious welcome by the Congress organizers allowed hundreds to receive a registration fee waiver and free, or at least cheap, accommodation. The same was provided to many from countries in the Developing World, too.

Read All About It

The daily Congress Newspaper was particularly well received by attendees. The newspaper’s five issues included discussions and interviews with leading researchers on contemporary issues. It will be a challenge for the organizers of the next International Congress (Montreal, 1996) to meet the standards of the Brussels Congress.

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