Past-President Kay Deaux charged the Internationalization Committee in 2007 to broaden SPSSI’s international visibility, participation, and membership beyond the borders of the U.S. and the shores of North America. The internationalization committee includes both non-U.S. and U.S. members of SPSSI; currently: Glenn Adams (U.S.), Rezata Bilali (U.S.), Kris Clarke (U.S.), David Livert (U.S.), Agostino Mazziotta (Germany), Hiroshi Ota (Japan), Stefania Paolini (Australia), Samuel Pherson (Northern Ireland), and Marilyn Safir (Israel).
We are very proud of our accomplishments in 2012. Highlights include travel awards to support international scholars and organized symposia on international perspectives at the biennial convention.
We awarded five travel grants to international scholars to present at the SPSSI Biennial: Hermann Swart from South Africa, Agostino Mazziotta from Germany, Chuma Owuamalam from Malaysia, Alison Baker from Australia, and Mariya Chayinska from Italy (see Forward Issue No 246, Fall 2012).
One of the awardees summarized the positive experience from attending the conference this way:
Learning about “significant” new current research on many different social issues. Broadening my methodological thinking. Learning about “best-practices” in teaching social issues (it was just a fantastic session). Networking with colleagues.
Reflecting upon the far-reaching impact of attending the conference, another awardee wrote:
This [is] what later helped me to promote my current research to the teaching board at my university and, even more, in October I succeeded with a grant for my PhD project from the government. So I may say, the grant I won from SPSSI shed a very good light on my work in general and I am grateful for that chance to travel overseas and to participate in the convention.
The Internationalization Committee organized two invited symposia devoted to international perspectives on collective action (the Biennial convention’s theme was “Changing Societies”).
Over 50 attendees watched a screening of Klaas Bense’s documentary “One Fine Day,” profiling six individuals who led others to collective action in Chile, Burma, China and elsewhere. The Internationalization Committee was also able to sponsor one of these six extraordinary individuals to attend the conference. Kovida is the Burmese monk responsible for organizing a public protest by Buddhist monks in 2007, which led to large scale protests in the country. After the documentary screening, Kovida shared his story and answered questions from the audience.
An invited symposium on new research and theory on the initiation and maintenance of collective action, entitled “International Perspectives on Social Change,” immediately followed the documentary session. The Internationalization Committee contributed to sponsor participation in the symposium by Felicia Pratto, Colin Leach, and Peter Grant.
As we move forward this year, we note that Roberto Gonzalez (Chile) has completed his term as Chair of the Committee while Stefania Paolini (Australia) steps in to begin her term as Chair. Thank you, Roberto! Because of your yeoman service, the Committee has a well-developed strategic plan and process towards the future. In addition, we have several new Committee members that will keep our momentum. For example, the Internationalization Committee is exploring several new initiatives in 2013. Highlights are possible changes to membership fees and new international links with the Pacific Rim.
Membership fees. To facilitate membership from a greater diversity of countries—some with academic salaries 1/10 of those in North America/Western Europe, we are exploring options for country-level sliding scale for membership fees. We see such an accommodation as pivotal to further internationalize both SPSSI’s membership and its perspectives beyond the shores of North America.
Pacific Rim. We are also exploring the viability of using the successful format of the SPSSI-EASP small group conference series to forge new international links between the Society and colleagues in the Pacific Rim. This outreach can further expand the Society’s focus to regions of significant ferment and social change.
Please feel free to contact us with suggestions regarding new internationalization initiatives and if you want to connect with international colleagues for collaboration, resident scholarship, and similar.