Presidential vote

Ella Rhodes reports.

The time has come for members of the British Psychological Society to cast a vote in the presidential election. The candidates this year are Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes, Nicky Hayes, Alan Kessedjian and Peter Mitchell. The successful candidate will become President-Elect and then President from 2022 to 2023, and Vice President the following year. 

\Fellow of the society Jamie Hacker Hughes was BPS president from 2015 to 2016, during which time he launched the society’s first taskforce on refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. He led work on the structural review during his time as president elect, president and vice president. Hacker Hughes has worked as a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist, with a particular interest in psychological trauma, within the NHS, government, academia and independent practice.

Following work with the MoD, he founded the Veterans and Families Research Institute at Anglia Ruskin University. Hacker Hughes also has a number of visiting professorships at other universities and has worked as trustee for several charities.

‘The role of the President is, I believe, to be the ambassador of the society to, and where appropriate, outside the society, to provide visible leadership and, most importantly, through chairing the Board of Trustees, to ensure effective governance of the society, its senior management team, all our members and our staff.’

Fellow of the society Nicky Hayes is chair of the BPS Committee on Test Standards, sits on the Editorial Committee of Assessment & Development Matters, and is Member of Council for the International Test Commission. Hayes has previously worked to promote public exams in psychology at various qualification levels, has written more than 30 books on psychology, has worked in applied psychology focusing on psychological processes in organisations and has also worked in science communication.

‘I feel strongly that the challenges thrown up by the recent pandemic have shown how much we need psychology… My life experience has repeatedly convinced me that we can contribute positively to virtually all aspects of everyday life. Psychologists everywhere are working to identify and repair the damage caused by the pandemic, but I feel that our public presence, and the influence of the society in public life, is currently less than it has been in the past.’

Alan Kessedjian, Associate Fellow of the society, is the current co-chair of the Division of Clinical Psychology’s (DCP) Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Task and Finish Group. He is also co-opted member of the BPS Presidential Taskforce and Diversity and Inclusion, and co-opted member of the DCP Executive Committee. Kessedjian is a consultant clinical psychologist with more than 33 years’ experience and a BABCP-accredited CBT Therapist, supervisor and trainer and a former elected Board Trustee/Director of the BABCP.

Kessedjian has worked with NGOs in the West Bank and co-developed and delivered culturally-adapted mental health training programmes with Dr Samah Jabr. ‘I am standing for the position of President with dedicated time set aside and a commitment to ensuring momentum is not lost with the society’s EDI agenda. A BPS that is more representative of all of our communities can only ensure greater relevance and clinical utility for the populations we seek to serve.’

BPS Fellow Peter Mitchell is a member of the Developmental Section Committee and has been a BPS member since 1984. Mitchell was head of the University of Nottingham’s School of Psychology and was later Head of School and Dean of Science at the University of Nottingham’s Malaysia Campus – establishing the first BPS accredited psychology course outside the UK.

He currently works as Head of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Bradford and has served on the editorial board of the British Journal of Developmental Psychology and as editor in chief of the British Journal of Psychology. ‘I fully appreciate the value and importance of the international reach of the BPS. Connections and partnerships with other societies on an international stage is surely a big priority. Having served two key journals… I’m also extremely interested in the work done by the BPS in promoting scientific excellence through its publications, its conferences and its various awards.’

  • Voting will close at 12 noon on Monday 14 June and the results will be announced at the Annual General Meeting at 5pm on Monday 26 July.

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