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Concurrent Sessions are hour-long sessions focused on a single topic with one or several presenters, who will speak and then engage the audience in an active discussion of the topic. Choose one from each group.

Friday, March 13, 2020
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Sunday, March 15, 2020


Concurrent Session I
Friday, March 13, 2020 | 13:45-14:45

How Languages Help Communities Embrace Differences: Parents Share Their Bilingual Education Journey

Elizabeth Greninger and Diana Limongi

In this session, Dr Elizabeth Greninger, an educator raising two children in Hermosillo, Mexico, and Diana Limongi, an activist and blogger raising her children in NYC, will share their unique experiences raising bilingual children and navigating the language learning and school options available to them. Elizabeth and Diana will share their personal motivations and decisions to cultivate bilingualism in their families, focusing on how language learning can bridge differences in cultures and can foster open-mindedness and empathy. They will share current research related to language acquisition, models of bilingual programming commonly used in schools around the world, and information that families can consider when selecting language options for their children, including ways parents can advocate for bilingualism in their communities.

Keystone Skills for Wellbeing: Building Ethical, Mindful, Social, and Emotional Capacities for More Resilient Family Bonds and Enhanced Wellbeing

Amy McConnell Franklin

Join educational expert in emotional intelligence, mindful, ethical, social, and emotional learning, Amy McConnell Franklin, PhD to experience, practice, discuss, and reflect on foundational skills for creating resilient, reliable, values-driven family connections, authentic social bonds and emotion-related skills critical for individual, familial and community wellbeing. Practice turning the challenges of transitions into greater family cohesion, integrity and enhanced self awareness, creating peace and understanding from the inside out.

"Same Same But Different": A Counseling Center's Journey of Bridging Cultures

Grace ShimKevin Hamp and Piyaporn (Yui) Sirita

Learn about the struggles and lessons one counseling center is discovering as they move beyond their expat walls into Thai clinical and community services. The reality and richness of differences require commitment, humility, and grace. The session invites you to hear their ongoing journey of seeking unity in diversity, celebrating the unique parts that make up the whole, and pursuing their vision as a multicultural team. In addition, learn about a research-validated assessment tool that is helping the team develop cultural awareness and competence. Lastly, discover the meaning behind the famous Thai colloquial phrase, “Same Same But Different”!

Twice Exceptionality as a Bridge to Embracing Differences in International Schools

Sue Prior

Twice Exceptionality (2e) bridges the differences between giftedness and disability. This session presents a unique opportunity to understand the asynchronous experience in terms of educational fit, types of 2e, family and personal characteristics impacting the social-emotional development of students experiencing 2e.

Who Owns Our Stories?

Cath Brew

At a time when being an individual is celebrated, often at the expense of community, my intent is to ask, "How does identity impact the stories we tell?" Where do our biases lie? How do we craft identity to bring a sense of belonging? Does difference make us feel unified or more alone? Using illustration and a guided visualisation, we will explore who owns our stories. Are they what we think they are? By reflecting these stories back to us, we can fully embrace ourselves and move from being owned by our stories into vibrancy and empowerment. From this position of strength, we can bridge differences. The practical tips I offer will help you to see the world through different eyes.

Why Is This So Hard? Understanding the Underside of Expat Life and How to Flip it Around

Anne Copeland

We will look at 9 reasons it can be hard to move to a new culture. A few are expected: difficulties communicating, or loss of social support, for example. Others are more surprising. How do you learn to distinguish cultural differences from character flaws? How is it being a minority member, especially if this is new for you? How are you affected by the drip, drip, drip of not understanding how to do simple daily tasks? What happens emotionally when you get a social norm wrong? How is your family coping with its myriad of changes? And how do you maintain your sense of identity when people know nothing of your history? Interactive exercises will help clarify the power of these challenges. Selected research findings deepen our examination of the challenges of moving to a new country.

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Concurrent Session II
Saturday, March 14, 2020 | 11:30-12:30

Holding the Fort: How to Stay Sane When Your Spouse Works Away and You Parent Alone

Rhoda Bangerter

Does your spouse always have a suitcase by the door? Are you solo parenting in a foreign country while your spouse comes and goes? Can your marriage survive it? How can they prioritise their family if they are miles away? Rhoda Bangerter went on a mission to unearth the treasures of wisdom from families who have lived this or who are still living this. This session will explore how to prepare and thrive when one spouse is away a lot from home.

How to Set Clear Priorities Using A Simple 5-Step Model and Manage Career Identity Crisis Overseas

Carine Bormans

Setting Clear Priorities Using A Simple 5-Step Model Using a Cake And a Fridge
According to research, expat partners use a different prioritization process in order to remain professionally active abroad than they would if they had remained in their passport country. During this session, Carine will analyse five major aspects of active professional life with the help of an easy and clear model using a cake and a fridge. It will provide you with a better view of what is at stake, how to prioritize and make better career choices.

Chibesa Mwape

Managing Career Identity Crisis Overseas
Do you feel like your career identity has been lost in global transition? This can be a period of uncertainty and confusion in which our sense of professional identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in our expected goals. So how can we stop spinning these wheels? Chibesa will help us to navigate foreign business cultures through the four stages of cultural shock and empower us with actionable steps and exercises to effectively manage our careers overseas.

Creating Your Own Neurodiverse Support Communities on the Move, Online and in Real Life

Nikki Moffitt

Embracing and bridging differences is everyday work for expats with Neurodiverse families. Think it’s tough finding a new piano teacher for your child? Try finding three types of therapists, a doctor who will prescribe existing medications, and then consider you may have moved to a country where the education options are limited and homeschooling is illegal. Never mind what the local culture thinks of your family and their labels. Once you’ve landed, research, educational and relocation consultants are in your past. Your future is here. Session participants will be challenged to contemplate Neurodiversity requirements in an interactive discussion and group exercises to ascertain how you find and build the unique community you need to survive and thrive in your new location.

Surveying the Landscape: Common Practices, Challenges, and Opportunities in International School Transition Support

Jane Barron and Amy Kellogg

In an effort to better understand the transitions support landscape in international schools, Sea Change Mentoring and Globally Grounded partnered together to conduct an independent research project. Building on the important work of Barbara Schaetti, the Council of International Schools, and Doug Ota, our research provides a deeper understanding of the transitions-support practices, challenges, and opportunities that the international school community faces. Our early findings were presented at #FIGT2019 to widespread acclaim. Join us this year as we present our final findings and discuss the implications for how schools and organizations can improve the way they care for young people impacted by global mobility.

The Hidden Expats: Supporting New Models of Global Mobility

Katia Vlachos and Katarina Osterman

This interactive session explores the challenges and support needs of new, non-traditional types of expats: short-term assignees, frequent business travelers and cross-border commuters. We call them ‘hidden expats’ because, as they don’t go through the traditional relocation process, their challenges and needs are not well understood and, as a result, they don’t receive appropriate support. We draw on the latest research on global mobility trends to describe these increasingly popular types of assignments. Next, we assess lifestyle implications for assignees and their families (very different from those of traditional expats) and identify the kinds of support that are essential to cope with the practical and emotional challenges. We conclude by assessing the support currently available and identifying the most important gaps to be filled.

Transforming Listening: Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges

Deborah Kramlich

In today’s polarized world, we seem to have forgotten how to both listen and dialogue with each other. In this session, each participant will engage in a deep listening activity centered around sharing stories related to crossing cultures. The Transformative Listening Project is a community-focused approach to creating listening gatherings of two or more people. Listening is a key, core feature of meetings of people, sharing, responding, and collaborating on their relationships, their communities, and their world. It offers the opportunity to withhold judgment, show value to someone, and breakdown prejudices and biases through hearing someone’s story. Audience participants are actively engaged throughout most of the session, participating in a transformative listening conversation, a think-pair-share activity, and open discussion.

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Concurrent Session III
Saturday, March 14, 2020 | 13:30-14:30

A Call to Action: Expat Fueled Anti-Bullying Strategies for the World at Large

Christopher O'Shaughnessy

Within the next few decades, we are likely to see a massive increase in the number of people in transition for various reasons including climate change, economic shifts, and continued globalization. With this increase comes the very real danger of increased cultural conflict. Even now many of the traits that we would associate with bullying are flagrantly on display far beyond the bounds of school or even youth. The world, it seems, could use some anti-bullying training. Drawing on my experience working with international schools across the globe, and incorporating practical strategies through projects like WhatExpatsCanDo.com, this workshop aims to empower expats, parents, and students to help create and maintain a culture that goes beyond tolerance and actively promote dialogue, understanding, and cohesion.

Curious about Autism in International Schools?

Lori Boll

One in 59 are diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. With this statistic comes many questions. What does that mean for families with children on the spectrum? Will their children be accepted into international schools? What does this mean for international schools? Are they ready to work with students on this very broad spectrum? Lori will introduce participants to autism through statistics, best practices, and personal stories of raising her son with profound autism overseas. Discussion time will be spent on how international schools are adapting to this ever-growing population of students, and explore further steps necessary to bring inclusion of all learners to the international school setting. Lori will also share how inclusion of students with special needs at International School Bangkok has benefited students, staff, and the community. 

Fear of Difference: Where Does it Come From, How Do we Overcome it?

Trisha Carter

Fear! Fear of difference, fear of change, fear of the unknown. While we may not like to admit it, these fears hold us back from embracing and bridging the differences we face in our global transitions to lead our best possible global lives. In this session, we will learn where our fears come from, how they may show up differently in different cultures and places, how to face them ourselves, and how to help others face them. This session will draw on neuroscience and positive psychology to help us understand our brains, our emotions and our behaviours to build the courage we need to embrace and bridge whatever differences we may be facing. 

Global Migration Resources, Tools and Reflections for Education, Coaching and Counseling Professionals

Pascale Paradis

This session will explore resources and tools specifically related to global migration themes including discussions and activities. It will be interactive and creative, supporting the work of education, coaching and counselling professionals who are working with children, adolescents and families needing help in processing global migration themes and issues. This session will also present challenges and successes when working cross-culturally as an educational psychologist. Based on brief casework examples, the session will present reflections about educational psychology practice and the importance of cultural sensitivity. Key recommendations for professionals working in education, psychology, counselling and coaching will be outlined.
Restorative Practice: Changing Your community One “Circle” at a Time

Linda Bloemberg

This workshop will be interactive and provide participants with all the necessary resources to begin circles in their communities. Special emphasis will be placed on how to use circles, fair process, and the social discipline window in the context of community development and students and families in transition.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed: Enhancing the Expat Experience by Reshaping Old Customs and Traditions and Embracing the New

Lisa Finn-Powell

As an American expatriate, Lisa has spent the last 25 years moving gravy boats and turkey platters between countries. Thanksgiving WILL happen no matter where she lives! She has learned the art of reshaping and reinventing the way we spend holidays, celebrate occasions or honour traditions. Embracing and learning about those rituals of the countries we live in also opens us up to new experiences and ways of understanding our cultural differences. This attitude of learning and sharing has bridged the gap and enhanced many friendships over the years. After all, traditions and rituals are part of our identity, part of how we see ourselves and part of how we connect with family and friends. And, she just loves the look on people’s faces when she suggests Pumpkin Pie!

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Concurrent Session IV
Sunday, March 15, 2020 | 11:30-12:30

Bridging Differences Not Breaking Kids: Reimagining the Narrative of Raising Kids Abroad

Jerry Jones and Sundae Schneider-Bean

This highly-interactive workshop is designed to give hope to guilt-ridden global families. Offered from the perspective of non-TCK parents raising TCKs it will explore the nuances and origins that shape a dysfunctional paradigm. Then it will offer a reimagined, practical and powerful alternative. We will introduce core strategies and offer tools to re-engage as an individual, with our children and as a family. The easy-to-apply concepts are simple, strong and delightfully unforgettable. Perfect for: Parents who privately question whether they are doing the right thing. Practitioners who want to offer substance instead of simply data. Anyone who believes that a global life can be good.

Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE): What Is It, and How Can TCKs Benefit?

Samantha Florent and Maria Vetter

What is FAPE, and how does it apply to TCKS? What to look for in an American public school district. Educational evaluations and programming for TCKS can need to be different, what does that look like? Legal remedies and outside placements, what do these look like and how are they relevant?

Hidden Struggles of Multilingual Students: Helping Them Thrive Academically

Saeko Mizuta

The majority of the world’s population speaks two or more languages. Yet, many still treat bilingualism as a novelty, especially when one of the languages is English. Often, parents, educators and the child hold conflicting views of what the languages mean to the bilingual child or how they affect the child’s educational outcomes and wellbeing. We will discuss the social factors that drive parents’ choice of schooling and educators’ perceptions of their students’ progress in language acquisition. We will highlight the voices of multilingual children, focusing on their struggles, common pitfalls and the tools that can provide them with linguistic, psychological and cognitive scaffolding for their education and development. The tools are applicable at home and school, as well as where the two meet to begin a dialogue with and for the child.

"Knowing Yourself is the Beginning of all Wisdom.” - Aristotle

Linnea Welker

In this session, attendees will learn how to identify their perspectives through exploration of various constructs for understanding how we view human behavior. We will consider:

  • Individualist vs collectivist identities
  • Assimilation vs accommodation of new information
  • Cognitive biases vs motivational biases
  • Etic (universalist) vs emic (culturalist)

Vertical Development Transformation: Turning the (CCK) Pieces into a Mosaic

Peter Ransom

Adult Cross Cultural Kids (ACCKs) are uniquely qualified to integrate diversity and bridge differences. However, many ACCKs struggle to fit the many unique pieces of their experience into a single cohesive identity. In order to integrate diversity and bridge differences in others, diversity and differences must be integrated and bridged internally. The Vertical Development Framework provides a framework and map that powerfully facilitates this internal integration, even for the most complex CCK experience. This internal integration is key to facilitating extra-personal diversity integration and bridge building.

Whilst You Move, Your Money Stays Still: Understand and Simplify Global Financial Planning

Edward Cole and Philip Teague

Creating a financial plan that provides as much flexibility as possible, wherever someone chooses to live. will include normal considerations such as tax or how much you need to save to retire at your desired age. However, for globally mobile people there are added considerations such as currency, double taxation treaties, and differing rules about how and when you can access your retirement savings or investments in different countries. These are just a few of the issues that we will be looking at, as well as ideas of how you can simplify your planning, and the opportunities and issues that relocation present. Some of the topics covered will be country specific, but much of the discussion will cover broad themes and ideas that are relevant for most or all countries.

Mailing address:
Families in Global Transition

C/o Campbell Rappold & Yurasits LLP
1033 S Cedar Crest Blvd
Allentown, PA 18103


+1 (703) 634-7400
Skype: figt.administrator

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