Letter From the President


Brad Olson

Dear Peace Psychologists:

It is humbling to see the many talents coming together in Division 48 to grow the field of peace psychology.

Given you are reading the Peace Psychologist, I will start with this. I am sure you are aware that Scott Moeschberger is now the editor of our newsletters. Thanks from all of us for Mike Hulsizer’s outstanding job both serving as our previous editor and helping in the transition. And thanks to Scott who has already done a wonderful job building on Mike’s advances. Scott, as many of you know, has already done much with our Society as our past Student and Early Career (SEC) person, a current faculty member and recent book editor, he is already doing such great work for our group. Scott took a very collaborative approach to the new online newsletter, now called the Peace Psychologist, with a briefer online style.

Moving toward our current Student and Early Career person, Violet Cheung is our new leader in this area. She has gathered survey data about highlights and interests of SEC folks, as reported in this newsletter. We all should pay close attention to these findings and work to foster these values in our work.

With an aging peace psychologist population, and reverence for our elders, we need to be guided by and support the interests of our current and future researchers and practitioners. Let’s keep thinking about fresh new ways to recruit new members who will choose to stay and contribute to the field and to push for peace in a non-violent and sustainable way.

As past membership chair, we thank Linda Heath for always doing the most vigilant job. We have now switched to a membership model and the whole committee has made great contributions and ideas that have been flowing. This effort has been led in every way by our new membership chair, Henriette van Eck. Henriette has set up and led regular membership conference call. She has set up a membership page in Peace and Conflict (with APA staff member Dainya), gathered contextual input in DC, reached out to PJSA, worked with and refined APA processes for membership renewals, and I could literally go on and on. An incredible resource, Henriette will, no doubt, lead us into the future with a stronger membership and more vibrant Society.

This Fall, as many of you know, we experimented with a joint Society of Peace Psychology and Psychologists for Social Responsibility side conference adjacent to the APA conference in DC. Katie Lacasse was a fabulous organizer. Everyone we talked to in DC and afterwards thought we had wonderful sessions and events, with attendance rivaling most convention sessions.

We started off showing a Drones documentary with a Lieutenant Col. It was a deep conversation and this set off the larger drone miniconvention in an amazing way, and led to many ideas about how psychology is partially responsible for and can stop their use.

Another incredible session involved the Div. 48 awards. The winners, Susan Opotow, for her incredible work as editor of our Peace & Conflict journal (Thank you to Ali Moghaddam for carrying on that great work), Kathie Malley Morrsion for her research contributions and mentorship, and Luisa Saffiotti for her peace-related practice. Unfortunately, Daniel Bar-Tal could not make it. During this session we also had a surprise on the PsySR side with Roy Eidelson winning the Tony Marsella award. It was great to have such a big crowd, and such great questions, and inspiring stories and guidance from these winners.

The Social hour with Div. 27 (Community Psychology) was happening as always, and the Student and Early Career social hour had a special intergenerational touch with our respecting Milt Schwebel’s passing there and earlier in the day, with his family attending these events.

Everything went so well, we hope to have a similar joint conference in August during the APA Toronto convention. Dick Wagner and Mike Wessels pointed out that the 25th anniversary of our Society’s existence is coming up and should be celebrated in Toronto. Maggie Campbell Obaid is already doing the work, and the membership group is helping out.

We have other action: Linden Nelson, Gregory Sims, John Szura and others from the personal peacefulness group want to incorporate more multi-level definitions of peace psychology in our Society’s definitions of what is peace psychology. We will certainly bring any new ideas to the membership.

Activists in our group, including the Coalition for Ethical Psychology (of which I am part) and others are bringing attention to new revelations of the APA PENS process, revealed in New York Times reporter James Risen’s book, Pay Any Price. It is definitely worth a close reading. Anyone concerned about these issues should reach out to our Council members Jean Maria Arrigo and Eduardo Diaz, as they are committed to being the membership’s representatives. And get involved in our listservs.

And a quick last thanks to Joseph Rivera, Linden, and Caitlin Mahoney for carrying out our small grant program, and congratulations to our winners! We look forward to hearing about their projects.

So, very exciting peace psychology work ahead for us. We should all really be looking forward to Becky Phillips DeZalia taking over as President next year. And we welcome Frank Farley and Serdar Degirmencioglu to Ex Comm as President Elect and member-at-large, respectively.

My apologies for all I’ve missed, but, again, clearly much good peace psychology ahead for all of us!

All the best,


Brad Olson

President of the Society/Div. 48

National Louis University, Chicago