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Kitchen Table Conversations are informal 45-minute small group discussions around a table, reminiscent of the original discussions around Ruth Van Reken’s kitchen table that led to the founding of FIGT. These are lively, interactive conversations around a focused, practical topic. Choose one from each group.

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

13:45-14:30
16:15-17:00
13:30-14:15

Kitchen Table Conversations I

Friday, March 13, 2020 | 13:45-14:30

Cross Border Recruitment and Effects on the Family and Employer

Madalina Lungu

Cross border recruiting refers to sourcing and matching international and specialised talent in a certain labour market where there is shortage of skilled workforce. Skills, potential for cultural integration, medical fitness, training and immigration costs must match across borders to allow a longlasting fit in the new work environment. The trend is applicable for all categories of workers, such as manual, office, care, environmental. High-volume cross border recruitment is a field still being explored and understood.

Have You Packed Your Communication Skills in Your Container? Get Equipped For Any Storm, in Any Given Moment, With Any Global Move!

Taljeet Sehra-Eckhoff

Why does Mindful Communications matter? 
It is apparent with an ever-growing globalized world there is a strong need and demand to encourage the use of positive and compassionate communication tools. Talu will share her experiences from the past 20 years, to show how perceptions can cloud how we see situations, and how using mindful communication tools can lead to healthier relationships and build stronger connections.

Making Cross Cultural Connections Through Food, Chocolate, Coffee, and Connections

Alaine Handa

A conversation about cross cultural food to fuse cultures and our stories, creating or sourcing ingredients. How does one bridge cultures and embrace flavors from the different places you have lived in?

The Importance of Awareness in Understanding New Cultures

Monica Scillieri

Very often people believe that a good cross cultural training will help them to successfully connect with other cultures. Knowing history, languages, folklore, habits and all of these aspects are definitely important but are definitely not enough to live and work happily in a new enviroment. We will discuss the importance of knowing ourselves, our values, and our attitude towards change in order to understand and welcome a new culture into our lives and world of values.

Third Culture Adults (TCAs): Exploring Questions of Identity and Belonging

Ruth Van Reken and Daniela Tomer

A great deal has been written about identity formation and the sense of belonging for Third Culture Kids (TCKs)—those who grow up on the move. But what about Third Culture Adults (TCAs) those who make their first international move from the age of 18 and over? We are inviting TCAs to join us for a discussion to explore the reasons for their choice to move and what they have found to be the benefits and challenges. It’s time to hear the adults’ stories.

Transnational Families and Family Identity

Judit Végh

This study explores transnational families in Kuala Lumpur focusing on their family identity, family routines and rituals.

Utilizing the Human Library™ Framework to Defy Stereotypes: Embracing Differences Through Story-Telling and Dialogue

Aiko Minematsu and Asako Noda

The Human Library™ aims to defy stereotypes through dialogue. In this interactive session, the presenters will share their experiences of hosting Human Library™ events in Tokyo by explaining the general framework of the Human Library™ and how we utilize it to bring out voices of adult Third Culture Kids to parents, educators, students and the general public. We will also present a step-by-step procedure on how to prepare and host Human Library™ events, along with specific ideas for recruiting human books, facilitating, and setting up a safe environment for a dialogue on sensitive and personal topics. The session will end with a discussion on how the framework can be used in various contexts to bridge and embrace differences.

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Kitchen Table Conversations II
Saturday, March 14, 2020 | 16:15-17:00

Becoming a Parent in a Foreign Land

Emily Rogers

Starting a family while living abroad is challenging and sometimes utterly daunting. From the moment you find out you're pregnant, through giving birth, to making decisions about education, the views of the people around you can be very different from your own and sometimes confronting. In this discussion I will present my own experience which will lead to a sharing session where we have the opportunity to learn from each other.

Bridging and Embracing Cultural Differences in Working Relationships

Trisha Smith-Pierce

Have you found yourself working closely with someone from a different culture? That cultural difference can create a chasm that is not easily crossed. Sometimes the divisions are caused by language but often it is the almost imperceptible cultural nuances that cause the greatest divides. What can we do to bridge that difference? In this discussion, we will explore how we build productive and meaningful relationships in spite and often because of cultural differences. We will tap the experience of the discussion leader and the participants to discover what it means to bridge a difference, how we can learn to embrace differences, the role of language, and the role of other soft skills.

Ten Ways to Make Your Temporary Place Feel Like Home

Renata Carvalho

Settling in a new place is the summit of the relocation process. And very often this means either dealing with a furnished place that does not reflect your taste or having to solve a puzzle with a space that is not ideal for all the furniture and belongings you shipped. However, embracing our new space and creating a home in our new country is one of the key factors to assure that our international assignment will be a successful one. When everything feels unknown is when we most need a real home away from home. This presentation provides a step-by-step guide for helping expats from the moment they start planning their move all the way into transforming a temporary place into their home abroad.

Distant Families and ‘Left Behind’ Kin: Creating Bridges to Sustain Transnational Families Across Generations

Helen Ellis

Helen is neither an expat nor a migrant. She is, however, a New Zealand distant parent/step-parent and distant grandparent/step-grandparent. Her children have lived, or are living in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Sweden, USA, Pakistan, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan. Five of her six grandchildren (3-20 years) were born and still live overseas. She regularly visits and shares their worlds. She acquired a strong interest and has read widely about the lives of the globally mobile. In her recent master’s thesis titled Being a Long-Haul Kiwi Distance Grandparent, she asked the question “How is distance grandparenting for you?” Come and join her for a chat about what they had to say; ponderings, ideas and suggestions … ways to bridge and enhance the differences between your ‘away’ world and our ‘at home worlds’.

Global Mobility and Minimising Our Carbon Footprints - Reconcilable?

Ginny Philps

Reconciling global mobility with a conscious regard for the environment. What can and should we be doing to minimise our own carbon footprints, particularly when our lifestyles require regular travel?

Loss and Grief in a Global and Blended Families: The Case of a European Teenager Lost in Her Family Role in Asia

Rebecca Versolato

A case presentation of a psychoanalytic treatment of a young teenager whose identity was broken among five different countries and a broken family. Remarks on the points of connections of Third Culture Kids' usual relational issues with the dysfunctional outcomes of the processes of blended and remarried families.

Same, Same but Different: The Challenges of Relocating as a Same Sex Couple with Children

Scott Cowcher

The session reflects on Scott's experiences as a same sex spouse who has relocated 4 times across 3 country. Each country - Thailand, Cambodia and the USA, has presented obstacles and stressors that are often the same as any family the relocating experience. However, he has also experiences unique to his “unconventional” family which have been challenging and frustrating but ultimately his relocations have each provided him with unique experiences and immense gratification. The journey can be a roller coaster but he has also seen himself as an unexpected educator challenging beliefs about what a family really is!

Visibility at Work: African Professionals Embracing Differences to Unlock Opportunities

Tracy Oyekanmi

A snapshot of a new wave of foreign professionals of African descent contributing to human capital globally. Participants will learn perspectives on how their embrace of western work differences and bridging cultural ethics elevates them to be visible at work, and hear real stories, beyond the refugee narrative of "taking," illustrating the "giving" contributions to the social economic development of their new communities.

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Kitchen Table Conversations III
Sunday, March 13, 2020 | 13:30-14:15

Before and After Accessible Technology: Embracing and Bridging the Different Newcomer Experiences from 2004 to 2019

Sue Ellson

How has the world of global transition changed in 15 years from 2004 to 2019? How do people feel about the newcomer experience now compared to 2004? Has accessible technology improved or challenged the human component of relocation? What resources can local communities develop to improve the newcomer transition. This session will summarise research findings from 2004 and 2019 and provide direct insights into the future world of families in global transition.

Embracing and Bridging Differences: An African Wanderer

Meshair Szpala

As a ten-year-old child, Meshair had a moment of realization about Islam, which started the crack in her belief about her faith. She gradually noticed that she was ever more repressed and, as a break away from this world, moved countries. She loved to travel and met her future husband. She talks about her life and her beliefs and reflects back from her current reality of being very happy to when she was depressed and repressed. There are sentiments of hope for other women who want to break free from a repressive society. She also discusses her perspective as a Somali national but Saudi-raised and born woman.

How Your FIGT Membership Can Help You to Grow Personally and Professionally

Mariam Ottimofiore

Being an FIGT member comes with valuable privileges including ways to understand and contribute to the globally mobile community. This session led by FIGT Membership Chair, Mariam Ottimofiore, will focus on how FIGT membership can help you to grow personally and professionally. We will discuss ways to contribute to FIGT and how FIGT can help you grow. These will include techniques to enhance your visibility and connections, share your expertise and assist you to collaborate within the FIGT community.

Relationships Matter from the Boardroom to the Living Room

Elfarina Zaid and Eslinda Hamzah

Has it ever occurred to you that there are many roles you play in transition, both functional and hidden? Our roles are the web of multiple relationships we are in. Are we really conscious of how that informs the many different behaviours, actions and decisions in our daily lives? This session focuses on identifying your functional and hidden roles that have influence and impact in the way you lead. Participants leave with Relationship Systems Intelligence® skills that will elevate their consciousness and intentionality to flourish at work and life.

Sharing Commonalities and Embracing Differences

Ai Jun Liu and Vivian Chiona

Sharing is caring. We, as non-native English speakers in global transition, have more challenges, yet also find many commonalities with other globally mobile families. Let us play a game and share our thoughts and reflections, with the goal of helping more families in this situation.

Supporting the Bridge Builders: Embracing the Person Within the Diplomat

Phil McAuliffe

At its core, diplomacy is about building and strengthening links between countries: their governments and their peoples. My work supports diplomats and those living the diplomatic life to bring their authentic selves to their work and their communities. While it can be glamorous and amazing, it’s hard work done in trying circumstances that’s made to look effortless and easy. Let’s explore how we can support diplomats and those living the diplomatic life to be themselves as they do their work and live their lives.

Your Skills to Adapt on the Move: A Universal Adaptor Metaphor

Sara Coggiola

Through coaching tools, embodiment and experiential learning Sara invites you to explore different perspectives about living in a foreign country. Exercises of skill drill will reveal inner assets that are used every day while living, working and parenting between different cultures.

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