Mary Ellen Zuppan
tells us about the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP)
Executive Director, Mary Ellen tells us about the IUSSP, International Union for the Scientific Study of Population.
(Interview conducted in October 2012)
What’s the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population?
The IUSSP or "Union" is the only association to bring together specialists on population questions at an international scale. Founded in 1928, it has become a network of 2300 members and 650 student members from 137 countries. The Union organizes a variety of scientific activities bringing together specialists in different professions and disciplines related to population studies.
What connections are there between French researchers, INED and the IUSSP?
French and specifically INED demographers have a long shared history with the Union: the first Union Conference was held in Paris in 1928; three Union presidents-Adolphe Landry (1937-40), Alfred Sauvy (1961-64) and Jacques Vallin (2002-2005)-and two secretary-generals-Louis Henry (1957-61) and Georges Tapinos (1981-89)-held or still hold posts at INED, and many INED researchers have been members of the IUSSP Council or its scientific committees and take part in Union activities and publications. Moreover, there is a IUSSP French National Committee (CNF) made up of researchers based in France that has initiated several specific activities, including the online and "wiki" versions of the Multilingual Demographic Dictionary.
In 1999, INED and the French government offered to host the IUSSP Secretariat, headquartered at the time in Liège, Belgium; the Secretariat was set up here at INED, in Paris, in 2000. It organizes and coordinates the Union’s scientific activities and manages its publications, website, administration and finances.
Can you tell us about the Union’s activities?
The IUSSP is known above all for its International Population Conference, held every 4 years in a different country. In 2005, IUSSP organized the Conference in Tours, with active support from INED and a considerable number of French researchers. We are currently drawing up the call for papers for the next conference [held in Busan, South Korea, August 26-31, 2013]. This event will also be an occasion to discover Korea, a fascinating country that has undergone extremely rapid demographic and economic development.
Furthermore, every year the Union organizes around ten international seminars and workshops on specific scientific questions. These meetings and other activities are a means of advancing demographic research on specific topics and eliciting the interest of the scientific community, national and international organizations, governments and the general public in the population field. Through its publications, website, Newsletter and announcements, IUSSP disseminates information of interest to its members and to all researchers and policymakers in the field of population. In recent years, IUSSP has also set up scientific committees devoted to improving demographer training, namely in Southern countries. In collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) we’ve set up a project to develop resources for distant education; Tools for Demographic Estimation is already accessible on the web, and next year a new three-course programme called Population Analysis for Policies and Programmes will go on line. Another committee, funded by the Hewlett Foundation, aims to bolster demographer training in French-speaking Africa, targeting several advanced analytical methods.