Psychologists for Peace

About Us

Working to promote peace in the world and prevent conflict through psychological research, education and advocacy.

Psychologists for Peace (PfP) is an Interest Group of the Australian Psychological Society. Its members are psychologists and others who are concerned about the prevalence of war and conflict in our world and are interested in applying their professional skills to issues relating to promoting peace and preventing war.


A brief history of PfP

Psychologists for Peace was formed in 1984 in response to the Cold War and the threat of nuclear war. The Group's original name was Psychologists for the Prevention of War and its aims were to study, understand and address psychological issues related to the nuclear arms race and the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Since it is human behaviour of both citizens and world leaders which either causes or avoids war, and conflict we who study human behaviour can surely contribute both skills and knowledge towards averting war and conflict, and towards promoting peace. PfP members have conducted research, surveyed members of parliament and collected and disseminated information regarding the psychological issues involved in war and the nuclear threat and the promotion of peace and social justice.

With the demise of the Cold War, the nature of the threats to peace changed and diversified, and as a result PfP's areas of interest broadened. Following this, the group’s name has also changed over time, becoming Psychologists for the Promotion of World Peace, and in 2005, Psychologists for Peace.

Although stockpiles of nuclear weapons and the possibility of nuclear destruction remain an ever-present concern, and it is now clear that international peace efforts must address multiple issues, such as the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons across many nations, the climate crisis, the threat of terrorism, conflicts within nations, and the impact of economic and social-justice issues on world peace. The climate crisis in particular poses an existential threat to the very survival of human civilisation. The great need to develop and disseminate knowledge on effective non-violent conflict resolution is apparent.


Aims and objectives

The aims and objectives of PfP are to:

  • Encourage the study of issues related to the promotion of peace and prevention of war;
  • Acquire and disseminate knowledge about psychological issues related to war and conflict;
  • Advocate and promote the use of peaceful rather than violent methods for the resolution of conflict;
  • Liaise with other professional groups whose aims are congruent with those of PfP and in accordance with those of the APS.


Aims put into practice


PfP meetings often involve lectures by national or international experts on aspects of preventing war and promoting peace. Full-day conferences on peace psychology have also been run.

Workshops and courses on conflict resolution and how enemy images are formed have been designed, conducted, and disseminated as speaker kits.

PfP members have instituted peace education courses within schools and universities as well as in the United Nations. A major past project was the Enhancing Relationships in School Communities (ERIS) program, which was supported by multiple funders, including the Australian Research Council, to promote creative and constructive conflict resolution skills and respect for cultural diversity through sustained professional development.  More information on the ERIS program is found here.



PfP has organised symposia and speakers at conferences, conducted national research projects and sponsored a special Peace Psychology issue of the Australian Psychologist journal.


PfP Peace Project Awards

The Peace Project Award is offered annually for fourth year university and masters by coursework students enrolled in a Psychology program. The Awards aim to support research projects on peace psychology topics ranging from interpersonal to international relations.

Read about the award and see previous award winners on the PfP Peace Project Award page.

You can also apply for the award at the Peace Project Award application page.


Books and articles

Numerous PfP members have edited or written books, book chapters and journal articles on such topics as conflict resolution for adults, groups and children; social issues involved in peace; and exploring possibilities for peace from the interpersonal to international levels.


Educational posters and children's book

PfP has produced a large series of posters and a children's picture book, aimed at educating the public about issues related to bringing about peace. 

Posters topics have included: ways to resolve conflict (the popular Wise Ways to Win series); social action programs dealing with the threat of nuclear war; handling anger; raising children peacefully; and promoting peace from the interpersonal to international level.

Many tens of thousands of these posters have been distributed nationally and internationally. See Educational Resources for more information.



PfP members make public statements about the psychological issues related to war as well as to international, intergroup and interpersonal conflict. These involve interviews in radio, television and newspapers; public lectures; and representations to government bodies.


Children's Peace Literature Award

PfP biennially presents an award to one or more authors of a children's book in which the main character resolves a conflict through actively choosing peaceful as opposed to violent methods. The aim of the Award is to encourage and publicise such books, so that children have peaceful models on which to base their own behaviour. See more information including a recommended-reading list and a list of previous winners of the Award.


Peace Awards for Youth

Over the years, PfP has provided awards, such as the Peace Art Award for Secondary Students, for young people creating peace promoting projects using a variety of media.

In 2017, the Youth for Peace Award was launched. In 2020, the age range was expanded to young people between 12 and 24, and the theme for the year became the Climate Crisis, which is a major threat to peace.


Recognising Peace Workers' contributions

PfP promotes recognition of those who have made significant contributions to peace through an award nomination project.


Liaising with other groups

PfP liaises with numerous other groups interested in peace issues, both nationally and internationally, and PfP appears on international lists of peace organisations. Joint activities, lectures and meetings often take place.