Of the 28 positions available, five were renewed to join the Governing Council of the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP), the Universidad Católica de Chile being the only university in Latin America to join this select group. The other new members come from universities from developed countries such as the United States (Yanna Krupnikov, Stony Brook University, and Cara Wong, University of Illinois, Urbana – Champaign), the United Kingdom (Masi Noor, Keele University), and the Netherlands (Borja Martinovic, Utrecht University). Roberto González, is the second Chilean to become a member of the Governing Council of the ISPP. The first was Elizabeth Lira, current dean of the Faculty of Psychology at Universidad Alberto Hurtado and the first psychologist to obtain the National Award for Humanities and Social Sciences.
The ISPP brings together academics from the social sciences who study political conflicts with an approach informed by political psychology. This society operates in a multidisciplinary manner, with researchers from all areas, including social psychologists, political scientists, psychiatrists, historians, sociologists, economists, anthropologists, journalists, and government officials. To date, the institution has been in operation for 41 years and is present in North, Central, and South America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
Chile is the country in the region with the largest number of ISPP affiliates (12), more than half of whom are COES members, followed by Argentina (3), Brazil (3), Colombia (1), and Peru (1). “It is a society that is perfectly matched with our academic interests”, says Roberto González. The academic has spent 24 years of his career as a member of this scientific society and has participated in many of its conferences and calls for papers. Today, as part of the Governing Council, he says that the strategy to be followed is “to increase diversity and bring together academics from the regions where (the Association) is less present, such as Latin America and some regions of Asia and Africa (…)”.
In order to do this, he is leading two projects aimed at internationalizing the institution. The first one, which is about to be carried out, is the Pacific Meeting on the Psychology of Social Change, organized by Anna Wlodarczyk (Universidad Católica del Norte, Chile) and Craig McGarty (Western Sydney University, Australia). The conference is being sponsored by the Scientific Society of Psychology of Chile (SCP), the Centre for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies (COES), and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and will be held in the latter institution on December 13 and 14. In this event, González seeks to promote a discussion about research agendas in Latin America and other countries of the Pacific Region involving social change in post-conflict peace and reconciliation processes, collective actions, migration, globalization, diversity, and the rights of indigenous peoples. Through this meeting, he hopes to bring together a group of around 35 specialized researchers, including several doctoral students.
A second project, which is still in development, is to apply for a special issue for Chilean and Latin American studies on conflict and social cohesion in the journal “Political Psychology”, whose impact factor is 2.8 and is ranked 15 of 165 in the Political Science listing and 9 of 62 in the Social Psychology one. In this call for papers González, seeks to make visible the publications made within the framework of the Longitudinal Social Study of Chile (ELSOC), conducted by COES, and those of the Longitudinal Study of Intercultural Relations (ELRI) of the Center for Intercultural and Indigenous Studies (CIIR), with which he aspires to collaborate in this challenge. Finally, a third project is to host the annual ISPP conference for the year 2022 in Chile, considering that it is set to take place in Latin America. If this is the case, ISPP will seek to strengthen its strategic alliance with COES.
González is a Social Psychologist, Professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) since 2010. He started in 1994 as an instructor at the same university, with the commitment that he would go on to pursue doctoral studies. Then, in 1997 he began his PhD in Psychology at the University of Kent, United Kingdom, where he studied under the prominent social psychologist Rupert Brown in the field of intergroup relations. Upon his return, he established a social psychology laboratory in collaboration with an extensive network of Chilean and foreign researchers. Later, he held the position of director of the postgraduate program in Psychology and director of the School of Psychology. For five years he was Academic Vice-rector of the PUC. Today, with regard to the harassment lawsuits affecting most of the country’s universities, he is the President of the Council for the Prevention of Sexual Violence of the PUC. In the field of public policy, he has also actively participated in the “Migration Policies in Chile” committee of the Senate of the Republic of Chile; in addition, he is a member of the board of the International Network of Researchers in Migration and Public Policies of the Department of Migratory Affairs, part of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Safety.