Alps Adria Region — Shared History — Alps-Adriatic Working Community —
Alps-Adria Psychology Conferences — Future
Alps-Adria Psychology Conferences 1987 - 2010
We are looking forward to welcoming you to the 9th Alps-Adria Psychology Conference which takes place from September 16 - 18, 2010 in Klagenfurt. The conference will be open to all disciplines of Psychology and will have its focus on "health". This theme is to underline the scientific self-concept of Psychology as a subject and to point out its connections with medicine, healthcare and economics.
The Alps Adria Region
In the 19th century, scientific associations for diverse disciplines emerged - mostly within national borders. In the 20th century, the international ones have been added to them - without replacing the national ones. In fact, two parallel structures have developed in the meantime.
In the case of the Alps-Adria Psychology Conferences, the question emerges why the Alps-Adria region serves as a context, as a framework for a psychological conference that has already taken place here for the ninth time, although this region neither forms a consistent political system nor can it be seen as a major scientific entity. It has been questioned more than once if it makes sense to choose a region for a scientific psychological conference which is inaccurately defined regarding politics and more determinable through historical connections and conflicts. A possible answer may be our will to handle our motives to participate in such a conference in an honest and open way - to agree that international conviviality is the most important part of it!
Scientific conferences are attended to get new insights, to exchange scientific experiences, to establish a feeling of coherence within the professional boundaries. Scientific conferences are also visited for the sake of conviviality - for meeting or getting to know colleagues or reuniting with those one has met before.
A shared history
It is important to consider our shared history in this context. What forms the characteristics of the Alps-Adria region? Although located geographically in the centre of the European continent, this region has always been on the periphery regarding the European centres of power.
The Alps-Adria region is, geographically and geo-morphologically, of a most inconsistent structure, consisting of the Alpine highlands of the Southern Alps, the Sub-Mediterranean and Mediterranean areas in the east and the west of Friuli and Trieste, the Southern Dinarian territory and the Pennon areas in the east.
But also from a historical and political point of view, this region is very patchy - the ethnic diversity, the variety of landscapes and the fringe position it holds in Europe have always led to a certain lechery by external powers. The region has been host to multiple martial conflicts of interests - such as those of Rome, Byzantium, Istanbul, Vienna, Venice and Belgrade. Aside from those European political goals and power plays, the inhabitants of those zones situated in the Alps Adriatic Sea region have always maintained a lively cultural exchange and have traded extensively, exchanging raw materials and dealing in goods.
The response to the question if this region can be defined from a geographical or historical point of view is NO - trusting statements by historians. The differences regarding the way of life, the conditions of life and the national political interests seem far too contrary. Furthermore, the partly shared regional history has alienated, as well as consolidated, the people here. Still, the Alps-Adria region is the paradigm of European variety within the smallest space, featuring a strong interregional communication and a strong integrative force. Apart from the disastrous history of military actions and conflicts in the region, there is a "rather suppressed history of cooperation and unity" (Rumpler, 2001, 517) - in my opinion all the more vivid and fruitful for the people of our region.
Since this region is not tied together by a historical uniformity, what is it then that evokes the intensive ties between the people here? Apparently the flair exuded by this region that unites so much diversity brings forward uncounted positive virtues. This could be seen as the enigma of the Alps-Adria region.
The Alps-Adriatic Working Community
The Working Committee of the Eastern Alpine countries was founded on November 20th, 1978 in Venice, being named "Alps Adria Working Group" shortly after. Today, this working group comprises 13 republics, states, comitats, provinces, regions: Baranya, Burgenland, Carinthia, Croatia, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, Lombardia, Slovenia, Somogy, Styria, Upper Austria, Vas, Veneto and Zala.
The Alps-Adriatic Working Community was established on the basis of political, historical, academic, regional and cultural traditions. Its establishment was also possibly motivated by a need to add a new, third level between private relationships and existing international agreements, to help realise meaningful and urgent aims both quickly and regionally.
The Alps-Adriatic Working Community has always strived to build up its bridging function between the regions of member states of the EU and accession countries through intensive project orientated cooperation and set an example in terms of promoting friendship and wide-ranging collaboration between different peoples.
The Alps-Adriatic Working Community is distinguished above all by its broadly informal character in the extent to which the autonomy and sovereignty of member states is emphasised. It is, however, becoming increasingly clear that this informal character is well suited to give impetus to the development of sustainable personal relationships between those concerned. A solid basis is thus ensured for many communicative activities, which applies above all to the practice of Psychology in the Alps-Adria countries. Thus, this working community appears to be a suitable platform for international contacts of the psychological institutes.
The Alps-Adria Psychology Conferences
Beginning in 1985, the author held preparatory talks with the heads and representatives of the departments in the Alps-Adria region. After an initial attitude of doubt and scepticism as to the success of such cooperation, all parties became willing and interested in contributing to the success of the first Alps-Adria Psychology Symposium and in submitting themselves to the efforts of intercultural cooperation. At the beginning of the preparations, two considerations dominated:
The first concerned the fact that psychology appeared to be in a state of reorientation, e.g. the search for new paradigms more capable of describing psychological and social events. Psychology as a whole is confronted with an increasing pressure of expectation triggered by the particular needs of individuals, social groups and institutions. At the same time, more and more trained psychologists are searching for an appropriate field of professional activity.
The second consideration was based on the fact that international academic contacts between psychologists largely determined by geopolitical factors. The geographical and historical proximity of the various institutes by no means corresponds with the desired or actual cooperation activities. Apart from a few exceptions, there have hardly been any contacts within the Alps-Adria region as yet, consequently the encouragement of communication and cooperation can, by changing the surrounding conditions, help to compensate for a one-sided state of dependency.
At the end of September 1986, a preparatory meeting at the University of Klagenfurt was attended by representatives of the psychological departments from the universities Padua, Trieste, Udine, Ljubljana, Maribor, Rijeka, Zadar, Zagreb and Graz. During these discussions it was agreed that the informal working group - scientific committee - consisting of representatives of the institutes would meet annually.
Since 1986, a variety of research, congress, teaching and other contacts have developed between members of Psychology departments in Alps-Adria countries. These have arisen above all in the context of the Alps-Adria Psychology Conference, which is supported by the University Rectors' Conference of the Alps-Adria universities. Since 1987, eight Alps-Adria Psychology Conferences in five different states (since 1987) have been organised:
1987 - Klagenfurt
The future of the Alps-Adria Psychology Conferences
One of the fundamental aims of the foundation of the Alps-Adria conferences was to stimulate the exchange of ideas between psychologists who are gathered at the universities in the Alps-Adria countries and to prepare the way for cooperation. This founding idea, to encourage scientific communication on a neighbourly level, has been largely realised. However, many new challenges must be taken on and met.
Summing up, one can notice that