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FIGT Connections | FIGT15 Conference Begins This Week!




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Issue: 33
March 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 the conference begins this week! Do read through the entire newsletter to keep up with the latest developments at FIGT15.

This year, amongst many firsts, we held a Cover Design Contest for our Program Book at the Conference. We were delighted to receive incredible entries from around the world; creatively giving shape to our theme: Finding "Home" Amidst Global Change.

We knew we were looking for something eye catching, and appropriate for the new energy at FIGT. The judges' attention was caught by this entry's bright optimistic golden tones and the simple illustration catching the essence of our often circuitous route to finding "home." This fabulous entry was finally selected as the winner after a lot of discussion. Congratulations to Kareem Muhammad, the winner of the first ever FIGT program cover design contest!

Kareem Muhammad is a Graphic Designer and Design Editor in the Publishing Department of National University of Science and Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan. He is a Communication Design graduate from that country's premier art school, the National College of Arts in Lahore. His experience includes work on logos, website design and publishing design.

Have a look at his impressive creative portfolio and CV at www.behance.net/caureem and his current publishing work on www.issuu.com/caureem. He can be reached at caur33m@gmail.com.

We will be interviewing Kareem for our blog right after the conference to learn more about him! 


No conference would be complete without the synergy of ideas created by those in attendance, especially the heartfelt and informative conversations which take place during and on the fringes of the various sessions. In this realm, FIGT is unparalleled: the experiences and perspectives of attendees who live/have lived around the world and across cultures -- in one or more of the international education, business, diplomatic, military, missions or refugee/immigrant sectors -- build on and expand beyond the insights of the presenters. 

One of the best ways to jump right into FIGT15 takes place on first evening, right after the Opening Keynote speaker, in the form of 'dinner on your own.' No, we don't mean solo dining. We're talking about finding like-minded people and/or intriguing friends-in-the-making and going out to dinner in groups large and small at nearby restaurants. If you're a first-time attendee, have no fear: you'll have plenty of opportunities to find dinner companions at the new attendees gathering, in the welcome reception, perusing books in the conference bookstore, or during the afternoon Writers or Research Forums.

If you 'know' someone online who's going but you haven't met in person, why not reach out on social media and see if they'd like to form a group for dinner? And if you arrive without plans, don't worry. Simply flag down any Board Member (you'll know us by our beribboned name tags) and we'll be happy to introduce you to others.

Speaking of social media, Board Member Mary Margaret Herman has written a thought-provoking post on the FIGT blog about the power of social media to educate, inspire and affect change. Check it out here and be sure to use #FIGT15 on social media.

With less than a week left to FIGT15, here's another opportunity for attendees: Initiate Early Bird Sessions during the Breakfast time slot.

The electric atmosphere at FIGT Conferences fuels inspiration. You may have a number of thoughts you want to express, discuss or test. Our Early Bird Sessions provide an opportunity to do that.

From 8:00-8:50 am on both Saturday (7th) and Sunday (8th), time will be given over to informal Early Bird Sessions at designated tables, centered around a topic of your choice. During these conversations, you can: test an idea; find like-minded individuals; discuss your insights; and share learning. Your chosen topic is displayed at the table, and as attendees enter, they can opt to join in.

The process is simple:

To sign up as a facilitator for Saturday morning, email us with a proposed topic and a brief description (60 words) of why it interests you. Email Board Member Maryam Afnan Ahmad at maa.zaman@gmail.com by March 5th, 5 p.m. EST.

If you can't think of an idea right now, you can wait for inspiration to strike on Friday or Saturday. Sign up with a proposed topic for the Sunday Early Bird sessions at the registration desk.

Get those ideas brewing with your morning cup of coffee!


The central question of FIGT15 is an important one: "How do today's global individuals and families 'find home' amidst global change?" We'll address this question by offering rich and varied conference content across a number of delivery methods: keynote and concurrent speakers, forums, expert panels, speed talks, facilitated conversations and videos. Presenters will be teaching practical and actionable strategies, but just as importantly, they will be attending FIGT15 to absorb, share, collaborate and connect.

In addition to the previously mentioned Early Bird sessions, you'll want to check out the talented Keynote Speakers and Plenary Panel (including Opening Keynote Teja Arboleda, Closing Keynote Doug Ota, and the Panel of Dudes: The Next Great Generation on Saturday evening).

During our Concurrent Sessions, we bring together some of the top educators and entrepreneurs in the world to learn and network. We have asked twenty-five cross-sector experts -- grouped into the four themes of perspectives, fundamentals, relationships and applications -- to share their findings, practices, and nagging questions about the changing worlds of global nomads. Their stories are inspiring, but the actions they've taken and the suggested strategies and tactics they recommend will also motivate you.

Be sure to have a look at the wonderful presenters we have scheduled for the lightning-fast Ignite talks (Norman Viss, Ginny Sampson, Michele Bar-Pereg, Naomi Hattaway, Tashi Nibber and Tayo Rockson), not to mention the Kitchen Table sessions and the Friday afternoon Writer's Forum and Research Forum.

Check out the entire conference schedule here. And if that's not enough, you can find all of the presenters' bios here


If you're attending the FIGT Conference for the first time, over the course of the weekend you'll notice an energetic band of welcoming individuals weaving their way through the hallways, meeting rooms and congregated throngs, selling raffle tickets. After having forked over your hard-earned conference fee, you may be wondering why you're being hit up for funds yet again, this time for what you assume must surely be the chance to win a cheap item you'd just as soon do without, all in the name of filling FIGT's conference coffers.

Well, you'd be wrong on both counts!

FIGT works hard to put on a premier conference event annually, financed solely by carefully constrained conference fees and the generosity of our sponsors -- DwellworksCORT Destination Services,  Paxton International, ACS International Schools, Summertime Publishing Ltd, Patterson Partners Ltd, and Genius Xpat, -- other donors, and volunteers.

So why are those raffle tickets for sale, and what sort of prize might you win?

As the co-author -- with FIGT co-founder Ruth Van Reken -- of the definitive TCK handbook Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, the late David Pollock is owed a special place in the hearts and minds of those who find themselves living, working, studying and raising families in cross-cultural contexts. To honor his legacy of many decades spent helping individuals and family members in global transition, FIGT created the David C. Pollock Scholarship.

In short, the Pollock Scholarship recipients are the lifeblood of FIGT, the next generation of cross-cultural thinkers, researchers, creatives and global pioneers bringing attention to the complex issues confronting those who live across cultures.

The scholarship is funded from individual donations -- both money and prize items -- of FIGT members and conference attendees. The prize packages are then raffled off at the conference, raising funds to support the Scholarship. For FIGT15, the prizes average about $250-$300 in value, and include high-tech gifts such as an iPad and smart watch, travel-related items, sizeable gift cards, and a variety of books from emerging authors and researchers in the intercultural field.


Weren't able to make it to FIGT14 last year? No worries. Thanks to the hard work put in by last year's Parfitt Pascoe Writers in Residence (Cristina Bertarelli, Dounia Bertuccelli, Justine Ickes and Sue Mannering), and to Jo Parfitt's committed leadership and generous sponsorship, we are able to proudly offer you Insights and Interviews from the 2014 Families in Global Transition Conference: The Global Family Redefined. Jo would also like to thank Alice Wu, Becky Matchullis, Terry-Anne Wilson and Nikki Kazimova for their commitment and contribution to the book.

Covering all the fantastic presentation sessions from last year's conference, Insights and Interviews is the go-to resource for all the valuable information shared and generated at the March 2014 Families in Global Transition Conference. This (and any future yearbooks) will create an enriching archival resource for the FIGT community, and allow you to feel as though you were there in spirit, if not in person.

If you'd like a sneak preview of an excerpt from the 2014 Yearbook, check out 2014 Parfitt-Pascoe Writing Resident Dounia Bertuccelli's interview of Sea Change Mentoring founder and FIGT Board Member Ellen Mahoney here. And don't forget to grab your copy at the special FIGT rate of $20 in the Conference Bookstore (retail price $21) -- members get 10% off. The yearbook will also be available in the FIGT online bookstore in Kindle format shortly. 


We also spoke with the members of the Parfitt Pascoe Writing Team from 2014, on the exciting publication of their yearbook, and asked them how the FIGT experience impacted them. Dounia Bertuccelli, Cristina Bertarelli, Sue Mannering, Alice Wu and Terry Anne Wilson shared their experience:

Checking in with the 2014 Parfitt Pascoe Writing Residents (Part 1)

Checking in with the 2014 Parfitt Pascoe Writing Residents (Part 2) 


FIGT Netherlands Affiliate

The FIGT NL Affiliate recently held their second meeting, with keynote speaker Dr. Carl Steinmetz (of Expats & Immigrants, BV) on the topic of Elderly Care. The discussion that followed was interesting, and shed light on the emotional challenges many of us expats face when living far away from loved ones. FIGT NL's next meeting will take place in June 2015.


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.

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