Event: Australian Psychological Society Roundtable
Presidential Initiative
Social cohesion in a multicultural society
Friday 20 May, 10am – 4pm
Australian Psychological Society, Melbourne

Thursday 19 May  

Leading psychologists will gather in Melbourne tomorrow, Friday May 20, to discuss how psychology can help unite Australians.

The event, a Social Cohesion Roundtable, is an initiative of the current President of the Australian Psychological Society (APS), Professor Michael Kyrios, Director of the Research School of Psychology at the Australian National University, Canberra. 

Professor Kyrios says, “Social cohesion affects people’s wellbeing and mental health, it can affect what levels of discrimination or racism they experience and whether they feel they are part of mainstream society or excluded.”

“At the moment in Australia there is a range of issues testing our sense of ourselves as a united multicultural nation including racist or exclusionary narratives, refugee issues, threats of terrorism and religious diversity.”

“It’s critical as the leading professional body for psychologists that we take a leadership role, so we can help our members meet the needs of the community, advise Government and policy makers, and facilitate decision-making and initiatives that are based on evidence and that will foster social cohesion.”

“No one benefits from a fractured society,” he said. 

An invited group of speakers will present on key questions relating to social cohesion:  the challenges, the role of psychology and potential solutions.  Social cohesion resources will be developed along with recommendations that will guide how the Society engages on and responds to these issues in the future.

“Overall, Australia has a proud history of multiculturalism. However, that cohesion is currently threatened.  We are at a critical juncture where policy decisions can inflame or exacerbate divisions or those in leadership positions can act to unite Australians.”

Speakers include:

  • Dr Kate Reynolds, Australian National University,
  • Assoc. Professor Winnifred Louis, University of Queensland; Convenor of the APS Psychologists for Peace Interest Group,
  • Mrs Shehzi Yusaf MAPS, Convenor of the APS Interest Group on Psychology from an Islamic Perspective,
  • Dr Clarke Jones, Australian National University,
  • Dr Diane Bretherton OA, Adj. Professor in political science and international studies University of Queensland; APS Psychologists for Peace Interest Group.

- Ends -

Notes to editors:

Professor Michael Kyrios as well as other expert speakers are available for interview before the roundtable.

For more information, or to arrange an interview call Rebecca Matthews on 03 8662 3358 or 0435 896 444, or email media@psychology.org.au.  Find the APS Media team on Twitter:  @AustPsych.

The APS is the largest professional organisation for psychologists in Australia, representing more than 22,000 members. The APS is committed to advancing psychology as a discipline and profession. It spreads the message that psychologists make a difference to people’s lives, through improving psychological knowledge and community wellbeing.