43rd Conference of the International School Psychology Association

The 43rd International School Psychology Association (ISPA) Conference was held in Leuven, Belgium and took place Thursday 7 July– Sunday 10 July 2022. The theme of the conference was ‘From stress to trauma… And all the way back!’.
Prof. Dr. Karine Verschueren was the local host of this conference which was co-organized with the Vlaamse Vereniging voor Schoolpsychologie and Rino Amsterdam.

We had the pleasure of speaking to Prof. Verschueren about the ISPA conference.

Professor, why did you chose to organize this conference in Leuven?

In the first place because it is the home town of the KU Leuven, my university and the host institute for the conference. Also Leuven is centrally located in Belgium and Europe and is easily accessible by train from Brussels airport. Finally, the city has many historical buildings, beautiful squares, nice restaurants and terraces, … Really a perfect place for a conference in the summer!

You have focused on sustainability. Which measures were taken and how were they received by the participants?

For the first time in the history of the ISPA conferences we did not provide a printed program book. All information was provided via a conference app. For drinks and food, we used reusable materials as much as possible. Free water was available in every conference building and all participants were given a free reusable bottle. We offered exclusively vegetarian food and worked with local providers. Not all participants were happy with the vegetarian food and some asked a printed copy of the program. But overall they appreciated our commitment to sustainability.

What did you or your participants enjoy most about their stay in Leuven?

The conference participants truly enjoyed every aspect of the Leuven atmosphere: the many lovely bars, restaurants, and terraces, the historic buildings, the quiet parks, the music acts at ‘Beleuvenissen’, etc. The city felt like their “home” for these four days, with conference participants meeting each other in the streets and at terraces. We also organized a guided tour, a brewery visit and a chocolate workshop as part of the social program. These were all evaluated very positively.

Lastly, according to you, what everybody should know about (KU) Leuven is:

KU Leuven is an internationally renowned and large university located within a small and lovely historic city that has all you need to feel happy.