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FIGT Connections | Conference Is Next Month!



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Issue: 31
February 2, 2015
Families in Global Transition is a welcoming forum for globally mobile individuals, families, and those working with them. We promote cross-sector connections for sharing research and developing best practices that support the growth, success and well-being of people crossing cultures around the world.

The excitement is building as we approach the conference. Do read through the entire newsletter to keep up with the latest opportunities at FIGT15.

Join us as we kick off FIGT15 on March 6th, 2015, and get ready for 48 hours of the ultimate in professional development for those who live, work and study across cultures!

From the pre-Conference activities, Welcome Reception and the opening keynote speaker Teja Arboleda, to the Farewell Luncheon and closing keynote by Doug Ota, you'll want to stay for the engaging content right through to the end. Don't miss a thing!

The FIGT15 Program Committee has planned a rich, substantive and insightful program. Join experts in the field of transition and related sectors where you can participate in the dialogs on current and relevant topics. FIGT15 themes explore specific topics in depth through a series of conceptually and developmentally linked sequential sessions. Be part of the discussion of important topics with experts in the field by attending all sessions in a strand, or choose one or two that interest you the most! FIGT15 topics include Perspectives, Fundamentals, Relationships, and Applications.

Are you a newcomer to the conference, and worry you don't know anyone and would be alone in the midst of a crowd? Think again! There are many social events at FIGT15, all wonderful opportunities to meet and get to know fellow attendees. These include Pre-conference Activities, Welcome Reception, breakfasts with "Early Bird Discussions," Luncheons, Dinners, Focus Lab, Author Signings and Networking Farewell. Participation in these social events is every bit as important as attending the presentation sessions -- it is in these informal interactions that participants freely exchange ideas and information, where friendships and collaborations are forged. So go! Participate! We are all from the same tribe (#FIGT15).

Give yourself a very special gift in 2015 by joining us at FIGT15. Two breakfasts, two lunches and Saturday's dinner are included, along with ample networking opportunities. Our Early Bird registration ($50 discount extended to February 5th) AND hotel early booking discount ($89 plus tax per night through February 19th) are two more reasons why you should commit to attending this conference now! For full details reserve now here.

FIGT Members receive an additional discount on registration; to find out how to become a member, click here.

Speaking of membership . . . FIGT members benefit from a wide array of resources year round, including access to FIGT research articles and a robust FIGT membership directory. But did you know that being a member also entitles you to a 10 percent discount at the Conference Bookstore?

Schedule at a glance:

Friday - March 6th, 2015 Pre-conference Activities
12:00 PM - 3:45 PM Research Network
12:00 PM - 3:45 PM Writer's Network
5:30 PM Welcome Reception followed by opening Keynote Teja Arboleda

Saturday - March 7th
8:00 AM with Early Bird Discussions and breakfast
A full day of events including Concurrent Sessions, Ignite15, Kitchen Table Conversations, Bookstore and Author signings with networking throughout the day. We end with a sit-down dinner and an engaging panel discussion.

Sunday - March 8th
8:00 AM with Breakfast and Early Bird Discussions
Follows with Parfitt Pascoe Resident Writers, Concurrent sessions and recognition of volunteers.
Closing Keynote with Doug Ota


Last fall, the David C. Pollock Scholarship committee asked the question, "Who is missing from the FIGT table?" and subsequently sought a diverse, cross-sector pool of potential scholars who would bring new dimensions to FIGT in both experience and pursuits. The results surpassed our hopes!

The Pollock Scholars of 2015 will share perspectives and make connections across sectors from international education, business, missions, military, diplomacy, immigration and refugee work and experience. Four out of our six scholars are TCKs and all the scholars come with extensive global experience.

We are excited to welcome Tayo Rockson, Virginia Sampson, Brittani Sonnenberg, Jean Kim, Irena Tsoustas and Andrew Jernigan. Along with short bios, we also asked each scholar to share what she/he hopes to gain from FIGT15.

Tayo Rockson is the CEO and president of UYD Media LLC, a media company encouraging global people to use their difference to make a difference while celebrating diversity and educating others. He is an avid writer contributing to The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Social Media Club, as well as Global Living magazine. He is an authority on Third Culture Kids and assimilation into new cultures and his podcast and blog are heard and read by thousands of people in over 100 countries.

"I hope to be able to make some lifelong friends with whom I can partner to change the world for the better."

Virginia (Ginny) Sampson is a professional artist, high school/IB Visual Art teacher, and mother of an adult daughter and twin sons. Originally from the east coast but currently with a home base in Oregon, she has lived and worked in Malaysia, China and Austria since 1997. She juggles connections, professions, and homes across countries and continents.

"I hope to make new connections and glean greater perspectives from others juggling transient global living communities."



(Photo credit Alex Trebus)


Brittani Sonnenberg is the author of the novel Home Leave. Sonnenberg lives in Berlin, where she is a frequent contributor to Berlin Stories on NPR. She is an annual visiting lecturer at the MFA program of the University of Hong Kong and leads TCK workshops at international schools worldwide.

"I hope to make lasting connections with other global citizens and hear about how others have adapted to a life among worlds."



Jean Kim grew up as a TCK, studying and working in 7 different countries. For the last 15 years, she has worked as a global communication specialist and educator, empowering professionals and university students from all over the world. She is also the Founder & Chief Empowerment Officer of GlobalJKim, which continues to take her around the globe.

"I'd love to be able to connect with other TCKs and learn insights on how I can create a support network for families in global transition in Toronto (my current city of residence)."

Irena Tsoustas grew up between Greece and the U.S. She is an IB graduate, received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida, and an M.A. from the Brussels School of International Studies. Since graduating, she has lived in 6 cities and has sampled careers from restaurant management to lobbying the European Parliament. She is currently an intern at the International Rescue Committee in Dallas and hopes to soon enroll in an MSW program focusing on TCK and global transition issues.

"I hope to learn from others' experiences as TCKs to better understand my own path and I also hope to walk away with long-lasting symbiotic personal and professional relationships."


Andrew Jernigan is a passionate father of TCKs and is married to an international citizen. He has lived on multiple continents and dedicated his life to helping those in the multicultural lifestyle thrive through networking, resourcing and caring. He currently leads International Care, www.facebook.com/intlcare with focus areas in mental health, medical, security/safety, global mobility, insurance/financial, and training/consulting.

"I hope to learn from the experts and professionals, and network to see each [global nomad] succeed."

I must thank Ellen Mahoney, previous Committee Chair for her help and support as well as the committee members, Jody Tangredi, Josh Stephens, Dounia Bertuccelli and Wendy Wilson for excellent work. Well done!

-- Michael Pollock, 2015 Committee Chair 


FIGT began as four people around a kitchen table and remains strong and unique because of the "home" it offers to the "smaller scale": the individual and the small business. Many FIGT members operate small businesses that provide quality services to the global citizen community. Small businesses often do not have extra resources to spend on advertising and sponsoring, even when the cause, like FIGT, is dear to the heart.

Sponsorship is integral to the success of the FIGT Conference, and we are fortunate to have several stalwarts supporting us.

However, as a way of offering our small businesses and independent supporters a way to be recognized, we've added a new way you -- or someone you know -- can help make FIGT15 the very best: our Patron  level. For $125, you can help FIGT put on the annual conference and get your name mentioned in the program book, on screen at the conference and on the website with a link to the site of your business.

There is also the possibility to run a half-page or whole-page ad in the program book for $250 and $500, respectively.

Please do consider sponsoring FIGT in this way -- you will become part of a movement to support families in global transition! For more information, please click here.


Did you know... that 62 percent of the FIGT Research Network members are based in the United States, with 33 percent international? Add your voice, international experience and cultural perspective to the body of knowledge that supports our mission. Participants are therapists, students, professors, researchers, government employees, counselors, and consultants, among other occupations. Research backgrounds include communication, theology, mental health, family psychology, sociology, intercultural communication, geography, borderlanders, child and family support services, and more.

Interested in getting involved? Want to learn more about research in the field? Join for free, and register to attend the FIGT Researchers Forum Friday, March 6 at FIGT15. For more information, email FIGTResearchNetwork@gmail.com.


One of the highlights of FIGT15 will be the Conference Bookstore, featuring intercultural handbooks, reference books, memoirs, novels and stories of interest to anyone living across cultures. This year, the bookstore is especially pleased to highlight new works from our distinguished speakers and conference guests, such as Doug Ota, Brittani Sonnenberg, Eva Laszlo-Herbert, Valerie Besanceney, and others.

Two titles of particular interest are the TCK anthology The Worlds Within and the 2014 Yearbook Insights and Interviews from the 2014 Families in Global Transition Conference: The Global Family Redefined.

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, 15 percent of the profits from the sale of The Worlds Within will be donated to The FIGT David C. Pollock Scholarship Fund. Why not buy either -- or both! -- as a gift for the professional, parent, TCK or cross-cultural person in your life, knowing that a portion of the profits support FIGT's ongoing work?

Want a sneak preview of an excerpt from the Yearbook? Check out 2014 Parfitt-Pascoe Writing Resident Terry Anne Wilson's article on the IGNITE Session Beloved Stranger by Julia Simens here.

Attention authors: If you are attending the 2015 FIGT Conference and have authored a recent book of interest to attendees, you may be eligible to have your book included in the Conference Bookstore. For details, please click here.

Remember, FIGT members save 10 percent on books purchased from the Conference Bookstore. If you're interested in becoming a member, click here


FIGT Netherlands Affiliate

For more information about the FIGT Netherlands Affiliate, check out their page on the FIGT website or contact Co-Creators Kate Berger, Kristine Racina or Vivian Chiona at netherlands@figt.org.

FIGT Boston Affiliate

Tina Quick and Anne Copeland, co-directors of the FIGT Boston Affiliate, will be attending FIGT15, and look forward to seeing you there. If you have questions about the Boston Affiliate or just want to chat, do say hello.

The FIGT Boston Affiliate meets every 6-8 weeks in a member's home on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon for wine, cheese, networking, and a lively discussion around cross-cultural issues that impact our lives or work. If you are in the Boston area and would like to know when our next meeting is, you can email Tina Quick at tinaquick@comcast.net or Anne Copeland at copeland@interchangeinstitute.org.

Also, the FIGT Boston Affiliate has now created a LinkedIn group and welcomes you to join. The FIGT Boston Affiliate LinkedIn group is a place to share innovations, discuss ideas and develop collaborations amongst professionals in the Greater Boston area and beyond interested in the cross-cultural aspects of
global transitions.

FIGT Korea Affiliate

For more information about the FIGT Korea Affiliate, check out their page on the FIGT website or contact Isabelle Min at minisabelle@tck.or.kr.

FIGT Switzerland Affiliate

For information about the FIGT Switzerland Affiliate, check out their page on the FIGT website or contact them at switzerland@figt.org.

FIGT UK Affiliate

For information about the FIGT UK Affiliate, check out their page on the FIGT website or contact them at ukaffiliate@figt.org.


Another great entry recently on the FIGT blog:

Why Cultures Shock by Diane Lemieux 

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