2012 has been a tough year for society globally.
An ailing world economy and rapidly advancing technology are making people
redundant. Countless people continue to lose their livelihood & their homes.
Life is becoming tougher for ordinary people, while natural disasters &
environmental degradation are devastating us. Social brutality, war & terror numb
Not surprisingly, many lose hope.
Yet through the pain & hardship, the tears & anxiety, humanity smiles & searches for
more bearable ways to continue the species.
This July the International Congress of Psychology marked its 123rd year – in Cape
Town, South Africa – the first time for this flagship in international psychology to be
hosted on African soil.
I felt honoured that we were able to bring African psychology into closer contact
with international psychology in a meaningful way & initiate the Pan African
In the years of isolation during apartheid, the science of psychology here suffered
and its benefits were far too slow to reach people traumatized and otherwise
dislocated in the struggle for equality & human rights, leaving our nation scarred.
Since democracy in 1994, psychology has played an ever-increasing role in helping
people to understand & to deal with the contradictions which defied logic but which
defined their lives.
Our society has been gripped by fear.
The fear of losing what we have.
The fear of NOT achieving what we could achieve.
The fear of the unexplained.
The fear of fear.
Understanding is the key to healing the hidden wounds of the past & those that are
opened all around us.
Today, this key is increasingly in the hands of psychologists the world over, who are
and will remain a positive force for change.
In developing countries, psychology is beginning to burgeon as psychology continues
to examine the human condition in extreme situations & develops new intervention
The future of psychology is improving all the time. The International Union of
Psychological Science is committed to ensuring this. Psychology’s ability to better
understand the human condition, especially massive social conflict, will provide new
keys for a safer, secure, more productive and peaceful world.
For all of us, including those in positions of leadership, this is very important.
Society cannot replace the need for psychological underpinnings of human
behaviour, particularly when other proffered explanations are found wanting.
I believe that psychology is succeeding to grapple with real issues that confront real
people in the laboratory of life. Society knows this, and is placing an increasing value
All the very best for a fruitful 2013, when psychology can truly liberate humanity.
President, International Union of Psychological Science