First draft of a new manual for organizing

International Congresses of Applied Psychology (ICAP)

Under the sponsorship of the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP)



By Jose M. Prieto, IAAP SG.



The purpose of this manual is to provide an operational framework for submitting bids and launching an International Congress of Applied Psychology, from now on, ICAP, under the sponsorship of the International Association of Applied Psychology, from now on, IAAP.


Every four years occurs an ICAP and bids are submitted as firm proposals about eight years before the intended date for the opening ceremony. In our experience ICAP require about six to organize.


IAAP also co-sponsors with the International Union of Psychological Science (from now on IUPsyS, ) Regional Congresses and in our experience such an activity requires at least two years to organize.


Steps needed for planning ICAP will be described here, though the process may also be relevant for Regional Congresses.



I.                   Intended goals of ICAP


        To provide high visibility to sound knowledge and expertise in each division of IAAP as well as a common framework for psychological intervention and action to improve quality of life of citizens and communities.

        To activate an scenario for the presentation and discussion of latest discoveries and advances within the domain of Applied Psychology as well as related disciplines.

        To stimulate collaborative research, development and innovation programs or projects among attendees favoring collaboration across borders and, if possible, across high and low income economic backgrounds.

        To make possible a cross-cultural understanding of psychological processes and outcomes present in human performance as well in interactions and transactions carried out by individuals, groups or organizations.

        To facilitate the interface between the international community of applied psychologists decided to meet in a given city and country as guests and the national or regional community of applied psychologists decided to act as hosts.


II.                 ICAP promoters and bids


IAAP is an organization based on individual membership but regarding the organization of ICAP it deals mainly with psychological associations or societies at the national level or with a network of psychological associations or societies in a given country. ICAP will be held under the auspices of the IAAP, which will delegate the organization of each ICAP to the National Psychological Organization or Network once an agreement has been reached. From now on the local organizer. A Professional Convention Organizer (from now on PCO) may assist the local organizer to submit a proposal or a bid.


IAAP favours applications evidencing the involvement of many institutions (psychological associations, governmental organizations, city, academic bodies, universities). The encouragement of neighboring national or regional associations or societies will be considered also an added value. IAAP appreciates individual initiatives but favors institutional initiatives. The purpose is promoting bilateral agreements between leading psychological organizations inside and abroad. The local organizer must show experience in the organization of congresses at the national level or by field of expertise in Applied Psychology.


During their term in office, IAAP officers cannot become actively involved in the submission of proposals made by national psychological organizations in countries where they are employed. The purpose is to ensure a climate of autonomy in the decision making process. By contrast, BOD members are encouraged to favor the submission of ICAP from countries where they are employed or they know well.


III.              Method of Site Selection


1.    Psychological association or societies interested in hosting an ICAP must sent a letter to the President of IAAP in which the president of the national association or society expresses the institutional willingness of organizing an ICAP. This letter should be sent by January 1st of the year when an ICAP will be held and a Board of Directors meeting is scheduled to study ICAP proposals in the agenda Soon afterwards the national association or society should file an application form available in the homepage of the IAAP at on request from the IAAP Secretary-General at the email or postal address.


2.    A hard copy and complete congres bid pack must be submitted to the Secretary General by May 1st of the year when an ICAP will be held and a Board of Directors meeting is scheduled to study ICAP proposals in the agenda. IAAP officers should get a copy of the bid by June 1st, they will review the material and make recommendations to the BOD members of IAAP.


3.    Local organizers should arrange a temporary homepage to make available documents and references regarding organizations and institutions that might support or recommend the organization of the ICAP. Printed copies of the bid must be available to the BOD members participating in the decision at least the day the meeting take place. It is suggested that the local organizer contacts each member of IAAP BOD at least one month before the meeting scheduled informing them where the online version of the proposal is available or sending them an abbreviated document.


4.    Represensatives of each bid will make a presentation to the IAAP BOD. Some time will be allocated to questions and answers. Afterwards there a discussion among BOD members may be held and those BOD members from countries submitting a bid may participate in the discussion but must refrain from voting. They must abandon the room. The First-past-the-post voting system will be used for the choice of ICAP sites. All votes are counted and the proposal with the most votes is declared the winner. The Secretary General notes down the results.


5.    At least four of the current officers, at the expense of the applicants, visit the winner site to determine if it is suitable, and if they find that it is, provide preliminary advice to the organizers concerning the preparations needed for a successful organization of a Congress.


6.    If the winner site proves unsuitable, the same Committee visits the next site after the number of votes obtained, and the procedure is repeated until a site is found.


7.    The decision concerning the selection of a particular site will be based on information concerning:


(a) Free participation of psychologists from all over the world and free expression of opinions. This needs to be confirmed, in writing, by the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


(b) Availability of satisfactory facilities, such as convention halls, hotels ranging from luxurious to inexpensive, good communications.


(c) Availability of transportation (air, train, bus, etc) to the city.


(d) Availability of outside support (e.g. from industries, universities; it is especially important to obtain funds to bring delegates from the underrepresented parts of the world, such as Africa).


(e) Availability of manpower (e.g. student volunteers) and institutional support (e.g. universities, city), or of first rate PCO who can support the Congress


(f)   Availability of interesting tourist attractions


(g) Special arrangements for psychologists from low income countries


(h) Attention to whether the status of psychology as a science and a profession will be improved if the congress is held in that country, whether there will be substantial participation of local psychologists, whether money can be exchanged from one currency to another fairly easily, and whether inflation rates are manageable.


(i)    Participation should be entirely free from restrictions of gender, race, nationality, social class, religion, ethnicity, or any other demographic categories. Therefore, sites that do not allow individuals from one or more demographic categories to participate, must automatically be excluded from consideration.


8.    The President of the National Psychological Association, Society or Network and the IAAP President will sign a letter of Agreement. Signing of this letter will imply agreement with financial provisions and the IAAP membership requisite. Succesive appendixes to that Letter of Agreement will include periodically revised budgets as well as details of who will chair the organizing and the scientific committee. Two years before the ICAP takes place an specific appendix will be added. It must specify the new IAAP membership fee that will be a part of the standard registration fee for non- members and a given amount per member, agreed by IAAP officers and local organizers, to be transferred to IAAP treasurer by December 1st after the completion of the ICAP. Those who are members in good standing of IAAP will get a reduction in the standard registration fee agreed by IAAP officers and local organizers.



IV.             General Organization


1.     President of the Congress. It will be a psychologist and the choice shall be made after consultation between the national organization promoting the ICAP and IAAP officers. It is the chief executive officer of the congress and the interlocutor of IAAP president in what regards ICAP. In case of disagreement, the views of IAAP president must prevail, because this is an IAAP Congress. The president of ICAP will report periodically to IAAP in BOD meetings scheduled to do the follow up of incoming congresses. Within 120 days of completion of the Congress the president of ICAP will provide to IAAP officers a report on accomplishments and financial status.

2.     Organizing Committee: This committee will take the major policy decisions of the Congress, with advice from IAAP officers. Suggested office bearers are chairperson, organizing secretary and treasurer. The ICAP treasurer will report to IAAP treasurer periodically and will supply the balance statement and profit and loss statements of the ICAP within 120 days of completion.

The Organizing Committee will appoint several subcommittees such as administration and registration, accomodation, low-income countries, webpage and online services, ICAP proceedings, information and publicity committee, finance committee, social and entertainment activities, workshops, profesional visits, external revenue committee, transportation, student recruitment, disabled persons, opening and closing ceremony, mass media.

3.     Scientific Programme Coimmittee: It bears the responsibility for the content of the scientific programme, the refeering of abstracts and the adequacy of a timetable that works. All IAAP division presidents must be contacted and each division must have an specific section in the scientific programme, maintaining a cooperative climate in the planning of activities and in inviting keynote speakers. IAAP officers will discuss with scientific committee president or secretary the distribution of programme contents by divisions and world regions to favor a certain balance and internationalism.

4.     Final Programme: An online version of timetables, scientific programme contents as well as book of abstracts will be made available to facilitate the follow up and continuity of activities of IAAP. The availability or the transfer of this information to the IAAP server wil be supervised by the chairperson of the organizing or the scientific programme and the secretary general of IAAP.




V.               The Role of IAAP Officers


IAAP officers will exercise general supervision of the preparations of the Congress. This will be achieved by visits to the site at least twice, and possibly three times, prior to the Congress, paid by the local organizers. The time of these visits will be determined by mutual agreement, but it is imperative that one of these visits occur at the time the program decisions about symposia, invited speakers, and other sessions are made. IAAP Officers will be especially concerned with the balance between fields of applied psychology and regions of the world.


Local organizers must include in their budget the costs of three visits of the IAAP officers during the period of preparation of the Congress, and the cost of the hotel rooms of the Officers of IAAP, and of an office of the IAAP President and Secretariat (on the Congress site), during the Congress.


In case of disagreement, the views of IAAP president must prevail, because this is an IAAP Congress.



VI.             Institutional matters


Depending on the circumstances of the local organizers, it may be possible for IAAP to provide some initial funding to the organizers of the Congress. The financial obligations of IAAP are limited to that funding i.e. if the Congress results in a loss of funds, IAAP can only loose this initial payment. If the Congress results in a positive balance, IAAP is to share half of this balance with the local Organizing Committee, to be used for the preparation of future congresses.


The IAAP will have at least two meetings of its Board of Directors during the ICAP. Rooms will be needed, at least, for the whole day Saturday, and half day Sunday before the Congress begins. An office will be provided to the IAAP for the duration of the Congress within the Congress site. It is also customary for the Executive Committee (including spouses) to be given a tour of the city, and a dinner (Saturday or Sunday lunch) out of the Congress budget.


A General Meeting will be scheduled during the ICAP.


IAAP Officers, IUPsyS Officers and EFPA officers have agreed to supply free of charge a booth for, at least, one ICAP, one International Congress of Psychology and one European Congress of Psychology.


The registration form to the ICAP must be supervised by the IAAP President, Secretary General or Treasurer, paying special attention to the members and non members registration fees. The OK of one of them is enough.




VII.          Official language


ICAP congresses are held in English but, on request, by local organizers a second or third language may be considered adequate if it favors contributions from colleagues across countries. Abstracts must be written always in English for their inclusion in the scientific programme