INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY

 

ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONALE DE PSYCHOLOGIE APPLIQUEE

 

MANUAL FOR ORGANIZING INTERNATIONAL CONGRESSES

 

 

 

Prepared by Officers of the International Association of Applied Psychology.


 

The purpose of this Manual is to provide some "institutional memory" for those organizing IAAP congresses. It is mainly intended for the organizers of the regular congress which occurs every four years. However, it may prove helpful to organizers of IAAP regional meetings as well. The main meeting, in our experience, requires 6 years to organize. Even the smallest regional meeting will require one year. The steps needed for planning the large meeting will be described here, though the process may also be relevant for the smaller meetings.

 

 

I. Purpose of and Participation in Congresses

 

        To provide visibility to the latest discoveries of applied psychologists,

        To stimulate collaborative research,

        To make possible discussion of research and application from the perspective of different cultures.

 

 

Participation

 

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.

 

Participants should be members of IAAP, or be prepared to become members, before registering for the Congress. Special arrangements can be made for psychologists from countries that do not have access to hard currencies.

 

 

II. Method of Site Selection

 

1.      Those sites that are interested in hosting a Congress, should file an application form available in the homepage of the IAAP or on request from (the IAAP Secretary-General).

 

2.      A site Committee consisting of current and past IAAP officers reviews these materials, and makes recommendations to the Executive Committee of the IAAP. A discussion takes place at least 6 years prior to the date of the Congress. The wishes of the Executive Committee are registered in a rank order of the application.

 

3.      Four of the current officers, at the expense of the applicants, visit the top-ranked 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.

 

4.      If the top-ranked site proves unsuitable, the same Committee visits the next site, and the procedure is repeated until a site is found.

 

5.      Applications can be made by any national psychological society, but IAAP favours applications that show the involvement of many institutions (psychological associations, governmental organizations, city, academic bodies, universities).

 

6.      The membership of the Organizing Committee of the proposed Congress must show experience in diverse psychological fields, and a broad representation of both theoretical and methodological perspectives.

 

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 Professional Organizers who can support the Congress

 

(f)     Availability of interesting tourist attractions

 

In making a judgement concerning the desirability of the site the IAAP Executive Committee is likely also to pay 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 the inflation rate is manageable.

 

The President of the local Organizing Committee and the IAAP President will sign a letter of Agreement. Signing of this letter will imply agreement with the financial provisions mentioned in the present document. An appendix to that Letter of Agreement will include details of who will chair the various committees mentioned in the present document.

 

Once the site of the Congress has been decided the following committees will be formed.

 

 

III. Organizing Committee

 

1. This committee will take the major policy decisions of the Congress, with advice from IAAP officers. In case of disagreement, the views of unanimous IAAP officers must prevail, because this is an IAAP Congress.

 

The organizing committee will be chaired by the "Secretary General" of the Congress (the President of the Congress will be a high prestige local psychologist who will not necessarily be involved in the day-to-day preparations). The Committee will include the chairpersons of the two committees mentioned in section V below.

 

2. The Organizing Committee will appoint sub committees, as necessary, to accomplish the following functions:

 

(a) Obtaining the cooperation and coordinating the efforts of local psychological associations, scientific bodies, academic institutions, and government bodies

 

(b) Involving a wide range of psychologists in the preparation of the congress

 

(c) Appointing all those who will help to run the congress, such as the registration desk, money exchange, post office, photocopy office, information desk, travel arrangements for tours before, during, and after the congress, servicing video, slide projectors, overhead projectors, microphones, loudspeakers, and other equipment

 

(d) Proposing to the IAAP officers the names of distinguished local psychologists, one of whom will function as President of the Congress

 

(e) Within 120 days of completion of the Congress providing to the IAAP officers a report on the scientific accomplishments and financial status of the Congress.

 

A Finance Subcommittee will be appointed to develop a budget for the Congress, monitor commitments and expenses, and prepare the report on the financial conditions of the Congress mentioned in (e) above. Two members of the Finance Committee will sign all cheques, receive donations arrange for revenue from renting congress space to advertisers and other exhibitors, and handle the bank account of the Congress. The Congress shall have a separate bank account. Registration and other income from the Congress will be deposited in this account. Payments to employees of the Congress will be made from this account, according to the customary procedures of the country in which the Congress will be held.

 

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.

 

The budget usually includes the costs of renting the facilities for the scientific and social programs, costs of interpreters (if any), costs of the secretariat, paper and office materials, rental of equipment, printing of brochures, announcements (including information about the best restaurants and what they cost), abstract forms, program (including maps of the city, the Congress site, and the location of conference events), abstracts, and Congress Proceedings; mailing costs, cost of controlling the entry to the Congress site, preparation of visual aids to guide delegates to the Congress site, welcome signs, Congress Newsletter to inform of changes, costs of public relations office, signs at the airport and in front of Congress hall, cultural activities, and unexpected expenses.

 

Especially important are the costs associated with information about the Congress that should begin reaching psychologists four years prior to the Congress. This can be achieved by having special desks at national and international conventions and congresses, making special presentations about the Congress in different parts of the world, getting travel agencies involved in the dissemination of information, sending announcements to Newsletters and other psychological media.

 

Some income may be obtained by organizing pre-Congress workshops that give credit toward degrees to those attending, or for professional accreditation.

 

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.

 

 

IV. The Role of IAAP Officers

 

The President, Past-President, President-Elect, Secretary-General and Treasurer of IAAP 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.

 

 

V. Local Committees

 

1.      A Scientific Program Committee will consist of one local member nominated by each division, and approved by the local Organizing Committee. The chair of the Scientific Program Committee will be proposed by the Organizing Committee and will be approved by the IAAP Officers.

 

This Committee will be responsible for the scientific program, including symposia, invited speakers, individual papers, and poster sessions. It will receive proposals for symposia and papers, and will select the best, keeping in mind the need to have representation from many applied psychology fields and countries on the program. It will present a tentative Congress program to the IAAP officers during one of their visits. Once the program has been decided it will arrange for the time and place of each of these sessions, and send acceptance letters to the psychologists who will participate in the program. These letters will indicate explicitly that no financial support is given by the local Organizing Committee for attending the Congress, but it is hoped that delegates will be able to obtain funding from their own organization or government.

 

2.      The Local Coordination Committee (consisting of the chairpersons of the subcommittees mentioned below and chaired by the "Secretary General of the Congress" will supervise the details of the physical arrangements, and the social program of the Congress. The IAAP will have at least two meetings of its Executive Committee during the Congress. Rooms will be needed 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.

 

The following subcommittees of the Local Coordination Committee may be formed, though in some cases local organizers may arrange the subcommittees somewhat differently. It is often desirable for the local organizers to contract with experienced Professional Congress Organizers of proven record who will be responsible for some of the functions mentioned below. In any case it is important to cover these functions:


(a)    The Congress Personnel Subcommittee, will supervise the work of those who help run congress, mentioned in III.2(c) above. If it is possible, try to have volunteers at the airport to greet the delegates when they arrive so they will have a good first impression.

 

(b)    A Protocol and Cultural Programs Subcommittee will arrange for the details of the Opening Ceremony, including the cultural program, for cultural events during at least one night during the Congress, and for a program during the Closing Ceremony of the Congress. The President and Past President of IAAP, and possibly other IAAP officers, will participate in these events. A program of cultural activities, visits, and other suitable events for accompanying spouses should be arranged when possible.

 

(c)    A Receptions Subcommittee will arrange for a reception after the Opening Ceremony, and a farewell reception after the Closing Ceremony, for the Congress participants and accompanying persons.

 

(d)    A Special Tours Subcommittee will arrange for a program of local tours during one half-day of the Congress. Tours to local industries, hospitals, psychological organizations, schools, government organizations, and local hospitality with local psychologists could be among the activities of this subcommittee.

 

(e)    The Transportation Subcommittee will arrange with a local travel agency, airline, and other agencies for the transportation of delegates to the Congress site, and when appropriate will coordinate the work of the local travel agency with the work of the national travel agencies that delegates will be using for travel arrangements from their countries. In addition, it will arrange for buses and other transport, as needed. Special pre-and post-convention tours, if properly organized, increase attendance at congresses.

 

(f)      A Housing Subcommittee will make sure that the housing requests of delegates are properly handled by the local travel agencies. A wide range of prices should be available, including dormitory-type facilities for participants with limited funds. This Subcommittee should negotiate for discounts for early booking in hotels.

 

(g)    A Public Information Subcommittee will have a room in the Congress site where local newspapers, television crews, and other mass media may interview congress delegates. It will select papers of special interest to make public announcements to the mass media, and will send information about invited addresses and the participation at the Congress of distinguished psychologists to the mass media both in the local site and abroad, at the sites where these psychologists live.

 

(h)    A Volunteer Subcommittee will supervise the activities of the volunteers who will help run the Congress. These normally will be students who, in exchange for permission to attend some sessions, will carry out specific tasks, such as helping during registration, and act as ushers during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.