Alana ConnerI am a cultural scientist who studieswrites about, and consults on culture, psychology, and health. My most recent work is Clash! 8 Cultural Conflicts That Make Us Who We Are, which I coauthored with the redoubtable Hazel Rose Markus.

By day, I serve as the executive director of The Stanford Center for Social Psychological Answers to Real-World Questions (SPARQ), a “do tank” that aims to create and share social psychological insights with practitioners in business, government, and nonprofits. I also collaborate with clients to design interventions that enhance the well-being of diverse populations around the world. In addition, I work with scientists, business leaders, and other innovators to translate their ideas for general audiences. My clients include The World Bank, The Stanford Clinical Excellence Research Center (CERC), Archimedes Inc., and many research labs.

By night, I write for a variety of venues, which have included The New York Times Magazine, EDGE.org, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review, where I served as senior editor for five years.

Along the way, I picked up a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale, a doctorate in cultural psychology from Stanford, and a postdoctoral certificate in health psychology from the University of California, San Francisco.

I also read Tolstoy in Russia, crooned with the Yale Slavic Chorus in Bulgaria, studied football fans in Japan, plumbed the psyches of Wal-Mart shoppers in Arkansas, pedaled across Tanzania, summited Kilimanjaro, and served as vice president of content at The Tech Museum in the wilds of San Jose, Calif.

Now that I’ve settled down a bit, I mostly just walk the cat and answer email at this address: firstname at firstname lastname dot com.

Oh yes. My family and friends pronounce my name “ah-LAY-nah,” but you can call me “ah-LAH-nah” if that more thoroughly tickles your fancy.

  One Response to “HELLO”

  1. Dear Alana Conner
    Re your september conference, perhaps this may interest you: http://www.fairstartglobal.com.
    I’m Niels Rygaard, a Danish-American child psychologist specialized in treating deprived, abandoned and adopted children.
    This I did for 25 years in Denmark, educating all sorts of professions. I published a book in English which started a world tour, lecturing at universities and training orphanage leaders – in Spain, Florida, Canada, Romania, and God knows where.

    Anywhere I saw the same sad state: the overburdened caregivers of orphans, with low social status and no access to all the fine results from child care research. Researchers complaining that all their knowledge never reached those in care for the kids. Orphanages that were in some cases sadly similar to concentration camps.

    I’ve seen a lot of aid projects focusing on small groups for only a while, so I had this vision: using my spare time to expand my network of researchers worldwide, and boil down our joint results to a free, high quality, fifteen session online education for orphanages and foster families – in any major language. To be adapted by any government, NGO organization, or single care unit anywhere in the world without any expense, and turning research into training that anyone can learn without prior education.

    A bit ambitious perhaps – my only hope was that others would see the idea and volunteer to make it real, and they did:

    Dr.s Robert McCall and Chris Groark at Pittsburgh Office of Child Development, Charles Zeanah at Tulane University, and a host of researchers worldwide generously provided their results for my research melting pot. Having turned this into the basic training program design, I then started two European Union granted projects (www.train.fairstartedu.us and http://fairstart-train4care.com ), where so far ten European countries tested the program in their orphanages and foster families, before launching the programs in as many language versions.

    My next step was to announce the program at conferences etc., and this started a wave of requests from developing countries. Unable to find funding for translations, I offered them a swop: translate the program in your language, and I’ll make a site where your language version can be used for free. I made this site for the purpose (contains info video in English), http://www.fairstartglobal.com .

    Result: Translators Without Borders and professional individuals have sent me sixteen complete program translations spanning all major 3rd World languages from Amhari over Arab, Chinese, French, Hindi, Thai, Vietnamese, Urdu, etc.

    This one touched me most, a mail from Burma: “Dear Sir, I have no money, I have orphanage and 25 children, I live in dictatorship. Please send me the program and I’ll translate it into Burmese” – and so she did, 300 pages came back in only three weeks…

    And the program is at work: The aid organization REACT Indonesia made a version in Bahasa, and cooperating with local government, it’s now standard education for all staffs and leaders in the 8000 Indonesia orphanages. Last December I trained some hundred people at the Universidad Gabriela Marquez in Chile. In spring, child psychiatry professor Kamikado Kazuhiro from Nagano University, Japan, visited me in Copenhagen and returned to translate the Japanese version for use in their orphanages. Last week I spent three days with the Estonian leader of foster families, and the leader of residential care institution staffs, they are now doing the Estonian translation with no support from their government. And so forth every day.

    The program has also created a new research focus: Our joint thoughts instigated an upcoming special issue of Infant Mental Health Journal, where orphan researchers worldwide describe how their results affect local political child care officials, interventions and education of caregiver systems. I’m a guest editor with McCall and Groark. Hopefully this issue will contribute to setting new standards for caregiver education.

    It’s extremely rewarding to see how many people contribute, just because caring for children who lost contact with parents makes sense.

    If you mail me back, I can attach materials etc.

    Best from your colleague Niels, Denmark (Born at Yale, by the way)

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