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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Claudia Nagel, March 2022

Dear friends and colleagues, 

First, the ISPSO board would like to thank everyone who contributed for your thoughtful and reflective postings on the listserve, full of mutual respect, solidarity, empathy, concern, worry and fear, as well as full of personal stories and experiences. 

We are all aware of the war and the disruptions taking place in our world – far away for some, very close and frightening for others, and nobody can stay untouched by what is going on – in the Ukraine and beyond. 

As you all know, we have planned to hold our annual meeting of June in 2022 in Moscow this year and our AM team Moscow 2022 has been in the midst of preparing for this as a hybrid meeting. 

Of course, we are very well aware that this is a complex situation and that there is also a need for timely decision making.  

Before we share our thinking regarding the AM, let us please express something which Claudia in her role as president, other board members and several members have already mentioned on the listserve. We stand in deep connection and solidarity with our Ukrainian and Russian colleagues, we want to support them with our love, care, understanding, collegiality and friendship, we are crying with them and for them. And of course, this includes all of our members affected by it, their families and friends.

We are with you in our thoughts and our best wishes go to all of you who have been directly impacted by this current war – we hope you all remain safe and well. We wish you the courage and determination not to let our professional and personal aspirations for a healthy, peaceful and harmonious world be diluted. 

Our Society is about the psychodynamics and sociodynamics of all kinds of organizations including their leaders. So, we are all trying to make sense and respond to the situation with our understanding, our skills, tools and instruments and our individual perspectives, values, learnings and experiences.  

Yet we are more than that. We are a community of like-minded people who enjoy being together, sharing dialogue and friendship, mutual support, and of course also critical reflections. Our strength is this respectful dialogue, and we think we speak for all of us, that peace, justice and territorial integrity can only be achieved via dialogue, respect for human rights, collaborative efforts and engagement. 

As already announced, the AM Team has come up with a contingency plan. The contingency plan contains the following aspects:

  • The AM Team proposes a different place to meet (it is very important that the proposition came from them)
  • This place will probably be in the South East of Europe – easy with regard to Visa questions, beautiful, with history, etc
  • To check the feasibility, the AM Team will analyse the situation with regard to all technical, administrative and other aspects. They will need two weeks to do that investigation
  • If the investigation is positive – which we assume right now – the board will have a quick meeting to make sure that the AM Team feels supported and can go ahead
  • After that we will announce the place and more details
  • We will also not forget COVID issues
  • The meeting will, in any case, include a hybrid (online) option.

So please keep your fingers crossed that it will work out. It would be good to have a place where we could meet physically, to hug, to embrace each other, to cry and talk together, whatever is needed. It is also a place where our Russian members can go to, so that it is really about meeting all of us – whoever wants to come.

As said, it will be a hybrid meeting, for those of you not wanting to travel, you will also be able to participate – online.

We would like to thank our AM team for all their efforts and energy they have been and will be putting in to creating this AM as an exceptional event. 

Warm regards, let us stand together in our ISPSO community.

The Board of ISPSO