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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

CLAUDIA NAGEL December 2021

Germany/Offenbach, the 14th of December 2021

Dear friends and colleagues,

Normally in December the board of ISPSO meets at the place of the venue for the AM of the next year. As you all know, this would have been Moscow this time. Yet, this year – again – we took the decision not to travel and to do an online board meeting for three consecutive days. That was a tough decision, it would have been so wonderful having been able to meet in person … but COVID times are still not the best for doing so.

Due to our time zones ranging from New York to Melbourne we managed to find three three-hour slots which seem to be feasible for all of us.

So, this 3 x 3h board meeting from Friday to Sunday was extremely intense and we covered several important issues.

We started with a fabulous presentation of the AM team introducing us to all important aspects of the hybrid AM in Moscow from the 27th to the 3rd of July 2022. More details can be found here on the new website: I had already sent out a message on the list serve some days ago. So please come and join us in Moscow next year.

As already mentioned in my last letter, I took the first couple of month, and also this meeting to develop a more team-oriented board culture. Thus, we focused on board culture, board governance and roles and responsibilities for all of us. We also gave as a “code of practice” (I will share some of this after the holiday season with you) to make our board meetings more effective, productive and pleasant. One session focused on how we can all contribute in our different roles to the three strategic objectives, I already presented you with: INTEGRATION, CONNECTION and GOVERNANCE.

In a more social meetingspace we talked in pairs and small groups about more personal things such as what brings us personal joy within, for and beyond ISPSO.

In summary I would say, that as a board we are growing together and enjoy working together very much. We are also getting more and more acquainted with MS Teams.

On Sunday we discussed some future initiatives such as e.g. supporting newer members in presenting at the ISPSO symposium, more details to come.

We also prepared for next year’s board election. The term of two board members will end: Aaron Nurick, responsible for events and Nicola Wreford-Howard responsible for online communication including social media. If they want, they have the right to stand for a second term, in addition we would also like to invite you as members to start thinking about whom you would like to see in these two board roles.

I addition to all this I would like to announce four more things:

  1. The new website is about to get ready (see my email from the 9th of Dec). I hope we can share it with you in January 2022 (CONNECTION Movement)
  2. The first new group exploring Racism and Anti-Racism will start in January. A core group of four people (Alexandra Gerny, Thomas Rieger, Stan Gould and Gilles Amado) are preparing this. Please safe the date: 11th of January at 6am New York, 11 am UK, 12 pm CET, 5.30 pm India and 10 pm Melbourne. An invitation will come, it will take place in QiQochat. (INTEGRATION movement)
  3. Another group is exploring how to create a generally more open culture for differences in ISPSO about all kind of discriminatory aspects. More to come in January. It also belongs to the INTEGRATION movement. This group will develop formats for conversations and discussions to which we will invite you for participation.
  4. There will also be an open space meeting for members, details to come.

This year again has not been an easy year for all of us, health- and familywise, privately and for many also economically. We can only hope and work for a world which will be more united and better prepared to fight the virus.

Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or another beautiful tradition or just enjoying the holiday season, I wish you all the best, happy festive season and a healthy, happy, and peaceful New Year (for those adhering to the Gregorian calendar)

Stay well and healthy and we will reconnect in the New Year,



Prof. Dr. Claudia Nagel

President of ISPSO International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations