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2008 ARTS Workshop in Berlin, Germany

Just prior to the 2008 IUPsyS Congress and General Assembly, the USNC/IUPsyS co-sponsored a two and a half day Advanced Research and Teaching Symposium (ARTS) from July 18-20, entitled “Large-Scale International Data Sets Relevant for Research in Educational and Developmental Psychology” together with APA and IUPsyS.  This seminar was attended by 13 participants from 11 developing countries chosen based on their potential to effectively disseminate the training outcomes in their home countries.  The seminar was co-chaired by Judith Torney-Purta (University of Maryland), Rainer Lehmann (Humboldt University of Berlin), and Jo Ann Amadeo (Close Up Foundation). Read a PDF overview of the ARTS programme for additional details

Applying the Science of Psychology to Intergroup Conflict: Promising Results from Intractable
and Prolonged Areas of Conflict, a USNC Symposium

Symposium Presented at the International Congress in Psychology
Berlin, Germany
July 21, 2008

Moderator and Discussant: Diane F. Halpern, USNC Representative
Claremont McKenna College, USA

Symposium Abstract: How can we reduce intergroup conflict? The participants in this symposium discussed commonalities and differences across research projects conducted in different places around the world and analyzed what worked and did not work in reducing protracted intergroup conflict. The members of this international panel applied the best of psychological science to the worst of human problems. Panelists have worked to reduce violence and bring about peace in multiple regions around the world including the Israeli-Arab conflict in the Middle East, Christian-Muslim conflict in Indonesia, and Turkish-Armenian conflict in Western Asia and Europe. They use the principles of the psychology of peace in troubled regions where some of the residents have only known war. We can all learn from their failures, celebrate their successes, and build on the hard work of waging peace.

For additional information, contact Diane F. Halpern at:

“Being Socialized in a Conflict: Acquisition and Development of the Image of the Enemy in the Israeli-Arab Conflict”
Yona Teichman, Daniel Bar-Tal, Meir Teichman, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Abstract: Recent years have seen an increasing theoretical and empirical interest in the acquisition and development of inter-group representations and attitudes in children. Based on years of research regarding the acquisition and development of intergroup representations and attitudes in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict, we propose an integrative developmental contextual theory (IDCT) and present part of our findings. Referring to development, we account both for cognitive and personality development. On the cognitive level we acknowledge developmental changes in cognitive abilities and in social perspective. On the personal level, we refer to changes in self- and social identities and related changes in personal needs and motivations (i.e., self-enhancement motivation). The context is accredited as providing conditions which accelerate or delay the development of the representations of social groups and the level of positivity/negativity towards them. In a nut shell, referring to a developmental trajectory for children in a no-conflict multiethnic situation that extends beyond school age, the developmental prediction that stems from IDCT suggests a nonlinear pattern of the expression of intergroup stereotypes and attitudes. A pattern in which peaks of negativity toward the out-group are evident in two age groups: preschoolers and adolescents. Conflict, interferes with the developmental course defusing age differences and delaying the moderation toward the out-group to late adolescence. From the empirical perspective, we focus on the issue of assessment (implicit/explicit, and structure/content of intergroup representations), and trace the acquisition and development of children's national identity, their social representations, and attitudes toward the in-and out group in the age range of 2 - 17.

For additional information contact Yona and Meir Teichman at:

“Efficacy of a School-based Program to deal with Psychosocial Distress Related to War in Low-Income Countries”
Wietse A. Tol, HealthNet, Transcultural Psychosocial Organization & Church World Service Indonesia, (Citizen of the Netherlands)

Abstract: A conflict between Christian and Muslim religious groups has plagued the central region of the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Although the causes of the conflict are myriad (colonial historical processes, the power vacuum left after Soeharto, and current political-economic processes have all contributed to the persistence of conflict), religious tension has been one of the main features. The main aim of the study to be described was to examine the efficacy of a school-based psychosocial program to deal with the impact of the conflict on school-aged children.

A qualitative study was conducted, aimed at (a) examining the wider public health setting in which the program was implemented, including the cultural “compatibility” of setting and program (b) local perspectives on impact of conflict and available healing methods, and (c) preparation of the RCT, consisting of construction of a local tool for measuring daily functioning, and translation of outcome instruments. Subsequently an experimental design (Randomized Controlled Trial, with waitlist control group) was used to examine the efficacy of a 15-session highly structured school-based psychosocial intervention for children aged 8 to 12. Outcome instruments used were (a) standardized symptom checklists (PTSD, depression, anxiety, aggression), (b) resiliency-focused instruments (coping, social support, family cohesion, hope), (c) socio-metric instrumentation, (d) grades/ absenteeism and (e) a locally constructed daily functioning instrument. At the time of writing, the qualitative results were being examined and the RCT was about to be implemented. Preliminary analyses of the qualitative data show the impact of the conflict on all ecological levels of the child system, and specifically the existence of religious distrust on the peer-level. The outcome instruments were adapted to take into account this religious tension, by the inclusion of socio-metric measurements at the peer-group level.

For additional information contact Wietse Tol at:

“Psycho-Political Knots of Turkish-Armenian Conflict”
Murat Paker, Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey

Abstract: In the heat of the WWI, in 1915, Ottoman Government decided to forcibly remove almost all of its Armenian citizens with the “justification” of self-defense and caused hundreds of thousands Armenians’ death. As a result, Armenian population in Ottoman/Turkish State sharply dropped from 10% in the pre-1915 period to 0.1% today. WWI was experienced as a total catastrophe by the Ottoman Armenians, but it was, at the same time, the last dramatic phase of a century-long decline for the Ottoman State, which was barely survived from total disintegration/occupation by the Allied Forces through the emergence of the modern Republic of Turkey in 1923. Since then, Turkey has denied addressing Armenians’ suffering caused by the wrongdoings of the Ottoman Government, and Armenians have persistently sought recognition of their trauma. The conflict has recently been locked around the word of “genocide.” Fortunately, there have also been some serious recent attempts for dialogue among scholars from both sides. Resolution of this conflict still seems to be far away, but the groundwork for such a resolution appears to have started.

This presentation aims to discuss the asymmetric psycho-political difficulties both sides carry along the way of resolution. While 1915 represents a constantly recalled, identity-forming, event that is fixated upon, and hatred-generating negative experience for Armenians, it is a small chain of century-long disastrous, and thus, dissociated, events for the Turkish State and the majority of the society in Turkey. When reminded of what was done to the Armenians in 1915, the typical Turkish responses include denial, ignorance, rage, or feeling humiliated. Interestingly enough, both sides, for the most part, tend to perceive the other side as extremely homogenous and enemy-like. Also, as a result of the trauma vortex, both sides tend to confuse past and present states of themselves and the other. Identification schemas of both sides are rather illusory. Turkish-Armenian conflict has been suffering from a lack of real relational space. In the absence of this space, intergenerationally transmitted positions of victim/perpetrator cannot be agreed upon by both sides that tend to perceive themselves victims of history in tangential contexts. The presentation ends with some practical suggestions to advance the dialogue/resolution process.

For additional information contact Murat Paker at:




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