IPA Celebrates Successful Asia-Pacific Conference in Delhi


At the beginning of the year, many IPA members, candidates, and colleagues came together in Delhi, India, to explore the theme of Containing Diversity, Bridging Difference at the IPA Asia Pacific Conference. 

It was a very successful event that brought together IPA members, candidates, and colleagues from more than 26 countries. They included the six groups from the Asia-Pacific region, and participants from Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with some of them participating online.

The topic of the conference helped us to see the “other” from different perspectives and not just within the context of our own culture, language, religion, and politics. This conference was an invitation to create bridges not only among the Asia-Pacific countries but also with all the countries involved in the IPA. 

The Conference coincided with the culmination of the Indian Psychoanalytic Society’s centennial celebration. India was the perfect place for us to develop our appreciation of diversity. It is a huge country with 1.4 billion people belonging to different religions, ethnicities, geographies, and socio-economic classes. It also has a rich history going back 5,000 years. 

The pre-conference lecture was presented by IPA President Harriet Wolfe, at the India International Centre. Her topic was “Psychoanalysis in a Changing World: Challenges and Opportunities.” The lecture sparked a lively discussion. I would like to thank the Indian Psychoanalytic Society and special thanks go to Pushpa Misra for organising this pre-conference activity, and Sudhir Kakar for his participation online. 

The main conference programme, chaired by Louise Gyler, was – as in previous years – packed with a variety of clinical and theoretical sessions. What was new this year was the availability of a selection of sessions to be attended virtually as part of our hybrid event programme. Of the 54 presentations and closed groups, 14 were made available to view online through the IPA’s Attendee Hub for colleagues who were unable to attend in person. In total, we had 84 speakers from 22 different countries presenting their ideas on topics related to the conference theme.

There were 3 main lectures with 6 keynote speakers from the six societies/groups in the Asia-Pacific region, each followed by a discussion panel with two discussants, one from the Asia-Pacific region and one from one of the other IPA regions. These main lectures provided us with an excellent opportunity to hear about a range of different psychoanalytical topics from both Eastern and Western perspectives. 

The main lectures were presented by Timothy Keogh from the Australian Psychoanalytical Society, Pushpa Misra from the Indian Psychoanalytical Society, Naoki Fujiyama from the Japan Psychoanalytic Society, Tsung-Wei Hsu from the Taiwan Psychoanalytical Society (Study Group), Jaehak Yu from Korean Institute for Psychoanalysis (KIPSA), and Qian Wang from the China Study Group. We had two discussants for each paper, one from the Asia-Pacific region and a second one from another region. They were Kunishiro Matsuki, Alexandra Billinghurst, Tomas Plänkers, Sun Ju Chung, and Adriana Prengler.

In the afternoons, we had panels, individual papers, a community model, 5 clinical groups organised by Minnie Dastur, and 5 Being-Together-in-Delhi Groups organised by Tomas Plänkers.

Aside from the main programme, COWAP organised an event with 6 speakers presenting on “Queerness, Women, and Psychoanalysis, in culture, in clinic, and in film”, and COFAP organised a series of private meetings.

The conference was closed with a wonderful Sampriti farewell dinner which included a special Odissi dance performance – an Indian classical dance from the state of Odisha. 

We were all so happy to be together, look around, and see each other alive and in-person instead of having to look at our computer screens in our offices. We were reminded of how different the experience is when we cannot only attend the meetings side-by-side with our colleagues but are also able to build personal relations and new friendships, have lunch and dinner together, and share our thoughts face-to-face.

I want to thank all of those that attended either in person, or online, and particularly the many people who helped to organise this year’s successful conference! Thank you all!

Adriana Prengler
IPA Vice-President

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