President's Column - June 2001

A Very Unique Vision
Paul T. P. Wong, Ph.D., C. Psych.
President, International Network on Personal Meaning
Coquitlam, B.C., Canada

What makes the International Network on Personal Meaning (INPM) stand out among thousands of professional associations?

From its inception, INPM has always aspired to promote the positive psychology of meaning research, meaning applications, and meaningful living. It is intended to be multidisciplinary and international. 

Some tension is inevitable in pursuing this unique vision of inclusiveness. We experienced it at our first Conference last July as well as in our Planning Retreat in January.

For example, several individuals interested in developing meaningful organizations and communities felt that there was too much emphasis on research and clinical psychology. However, judging from all the feedback from participants, last year’s conference was a resounding success in spite of failure to achieve a better balance in programming. 

Personally, I feel that a certain amount of tension is both necessary and good for INPM, because all of us can be enriched by cross-fertilization and creative conflict. Diversity and inclusiveness will strengthen us if we exercise mutual respect and humility towards those different from us.

I hope that our lack of homogeneity does not translate to a lack of cohesiveness. What binds us together is the recognition of the central role of personal meaning in all aspects of positive psychology and positive communities. We all want to make a difference in the world through research or application of the transforming power of meaning.

The main theme for our next conference is Freedom, Responsibility and Social Justice – three basic facets of personal meaning. We expect that record numbers of researchers, practitioners, educators and reformers from all over the world will come to exchange ideas on how we can cultivate responsible use of freedom and enhance social justice.           

Much has been accomplished since the last conference. Our website www.meaning.ca continues to attract large numbers of visitors. Our publishing program will be launched this year. New members are being added every month; they come from every part of the world. INPM has become truly international and multidisciplinary.

At next year’s conference, a new President for INPM will be elected. (The procedure for election will be posted on our website soon.) It is my hope that succeeding Presidents will further the unique vision of INPM.