MOAI LABS will be presented within the framework of the EPSA 2021 Conference as an example of a community project to psychologists from all over Europe.

EFPSA (European Federation of Psychology Students’ Associations) is a European, non-governmental student organization, coordinated on a voluntary basis by Psychology students. It represents a wide range of students from all over Europe and currently comprises 33 Member Organizations and 3 Observer Organizations. Its mission is to unite Psychology students at the European level, promoting the development of skills in order to contribute to the strengthening of this field of knowledge; to have a positive impact on society and its perception of the role of Psychology; to support scientific and social interaction and cultural exchange among Psychology students, academics and professionals. More information about EFPSA can be found on the website: htttp://www.efpsa.org 

The Conference, EFPSA’s second largest event, is held every two years and attracts 150 participants from all over Europe.

Breaking Walls, Building Bridges

In this edition of the Conference, we will explore the field of Community Psychology under the motto “Breaking Walls, Building Bridges“.

We know that crises such as the one we are currently experiencing have a significant impact on already vulnerable groups, fostering and exacerbating, for instance, social exclusion.  Being aware of the social impact of the pandemic, we believe that this is the right moment to give prominence to emerging social issues at national and international level, to the importance of interdisciplinary work, and for which the contribution of Psychology as a Profession and Science is crucial, since it allows the effective development and implementation of initiatives/measures sensitive to the psychological factors associated with them.

The motto “Breaking Walls, Building Bridges” symbolises our desire to empowerand give a voice to those who need it, to vulnerable and marginalised groups. We propose to take a stand and, through an innovative, creative, multicultural and future-oriented scientific programme, encourage Psychology students across Europe to make a difference, not forgetting the essential contribution of our discipline. Reflecting some of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the scientific programme is built to provide tools and encourage students to be active agents of change and social mobilizers. For this purpose, 6 main themes have been selected – Education as a vehicle for social justice; Community resilience; Integration of refugees at European level; Gender equality; Challenging stigmas (in relation to marginalized populations, e.g., LGBTQI+ community, homeless, sex workers, ex-prisoners, drug addicts, among others); Healthy ageing – around which we will focus the discussion throughout the days of the Conference and which will be addressed in different formats, such as roundtables, lectures, project presentations, workshops, and training sessions.

Expected outcomes of the event

By making known the theoretical basis, the emerging needs and difficulties identified in the community (at micro and macro levels), as well as the gaps in psychological intervention in this area, we intend to equip participants with awareness, knowledge and motivation to take these issues beyond the scientific community. Thus, we hope that, through the scientific contributions of this Conference, participants will deepen their knowledge and skills for the design of community projects.

This event will thus be the meeting point for a group of international students and speakers driven by common goals, who will find here an example and models to deepen their knowledge and engage in new experiences. We believe that the Conference will be suitable for the dissemination of the educational opportunities available across Europe (e.g. Master, PhD, Erasmus exchange, among others), combining a consolidation of a more thorough body of knowledge within this sphere with the mobility of students/researchers/teachers.

The ambitions of this event will be materialized in a Call to Action, which will be developed in a participatory manner with speakers and students and sent to policy makers. This document will address the different areas discussed in this Conference and which we consider to require urgent action. In this sense, we intend to gather all the participants’ contributions, reflecting priority aspects at a global level and identifying specific suggestions for action in these areas. The Call to Action will be sent to policy makers, with the aim of being a relevant contribution for a more resilient and inclusive Europe.