Positive Living Newsletter, President's Column

The 10th Biennial Meaning Conference and the Future of the INPM

Paul T. P. Wong
Paul T. P. Wong, Ph.D., C. Psych.

The sights and sounds of the recent Meaning Conference in Vancouver, Canada remain very vivid in my mind. There are so many meaningful memories of conference participants and presentations that fill my heart with joy and gratitude. I want to thank every member and every presenter that made this conference a success. Some of the photos, which convey a sense of the energy and passion at the conference, will be available online soon.

Since I have already announced my intention to step down as President of the INPM, I want to share my vision with members and supporters for the future of the INPM and my succession plan. The untold story of the INPM and Meaning Conferences in this issue clearly indicates a fragmented world of psychology. The INPM fulfills an important function of integration and cross-fertilization in meaning-oriented research and interventions.

The challenge we face is that most academics and professionals still have the habit of identifying themselves with a particular group, whether it is positive psychology or humanistic or existential psychology. The only way that the INPM and the Meaning Conferences can continue to thrive is if people not only continue renewing their membership but also get involved in the INPM’s mission and activities and contribute financially.

My Proposed Succession Plan

Consistent with the governing structure of most non-profit organizations, I propose that we have three official leaders: President (elected by membership), Board Chair (elected by Board members), and Executive Director/CEO (appointed jointly by the President and the Board of Directors). Please see the job description of the President-Elect in this issue.

I will no longer be involved in organizing the next Meaning Conference. However, I still believe that there is the need for a truly international Meaning Conference with speakers and participants from numerous countries. I propose that a Program Committee be struck up, involving Board members and recognized leaders in research and practice. I also encourage INPM members to organize regional Meaning Conferences in different countries; these will be independent events without involving the resources and responsibilities of the INPM.

For the time being, I will continue to be involved in teaching Meaning Therapy in our Summer Institute and editing our journal (which was recently renamed the International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology) with a new editorial board until we can find a new editor. I believe that this journal will play an important role in supporting the fledging field of PP 2.0 in research and intervention. Those interested in getting involved in this journal, please contact me (drpaulwong@gmail.com).

I will also resume editing the Positive Living Newsletter, with a modified format. It will consist of four sections: Research, Interventions, Life Education, and Management & Coaching. Hopefully, there will be one person responsible for the newsletter content of each section.

Vacancies on the Board of Directors

From all my experiences serving on the INPM as well as other non-profit Boards, I have discovered that the most important qualification is the willingness to make personal sacrifices in serving on the Board because of a firm commitment to its vision and mission. It means the willingness to spend time, effort, and money in serving, and willingness to put group interests above one’s personal agenda. This attribute trumps all other qualifications.

In addition to such commitment, we do need people who possess expertise in the following areas: meaning research, meaning-oriented interventions, meaning of work (coaching), life or positive education, and development (fundraising). Ideally, potential Board members have already been involved in some aspects of the work of the INPM. For details, see the announcement in this issue.

My Personal Plan

A reduction of my responsibilities from the INPM would allow me to complete my book projects and devote more time in developing teaching materials on PP 2.0 and meaning therapy.

I do hope that the high interest expressed by many people at the conference will translate into active engagement with the work of the INPM. Please write to me (drpaulwong@gmail.com) and share with me your interest in becoming part of our global outreach.