FIGT2022 - Where do we go from here?
Over the last two years, the world has changed in ways that most of us could never have imagined.
We are still living with the pandemic, but we are also experiencing a period of social, racial, economic and environmental reckoning that spans the world. Even if by some miracle, we were to all begin to return to a life without lockdown tomorrow, the aftershocks of all these realities combined will be felt for a long time to come.
Whatever your personal situation or experience, this has had an impact on all of us. The world has changed. FIGT2022 is dedicated to reflecting on these changes and asking the big question: ‘Where do we go from here?’
As we attempt to answer this question, we acknowledge the challenges that many in our own community have experienced during this period. Closed borders, visa issues, access to vaccines, separation from families and loved ones, bereavement and many other complications have left many of us feeling tired, overwhelmed and grieving.
We also recognize that for many of us travel and global mobility, even in these difficult times, is a privilege. There are many who are forced to move because of discrimination, conflict, political upheaval, environmental disasters or even hunger. These are the ‘globally mobile’ who may risk their lives to travel out of desperation and fear and for whom going ‘home’ may never be a safe option again.
The global social, racial and environmental reckoning requires us to look more closely at our privilege and at the inequalities in our lives. Important conversations have started across our community that are often difficult and challenging but essential if we have to build a more equitable and inclusive society.
As we reflect on all of these challenges and changes, we know that each person’s experience is different. What may be a pebble in one person’s shoe and a small irritation, might fire someone else up to take action, to push forward and thrive. We also recognize that the same pebble may be a mountain that someone else cannot get out from underneath on their own.
Perhaps the one of the biggest challenges of this time is to hold space for each other and our individual experiences and pain, and in doing so, to listen, learn and grow together.
At FIGT2022, we want to take time to reflect on what learnings we can take from this period of change in our world as individuals, as an organization and as a community. We also want to look forward and ask - where do we go from here?
We are asking our presenters to address one of these three strands to help us begin to answer this question together.
Connecting: how can our individual, unique challenges and experiences bring us together as individuals and a community across cultures, borders and generations? How can we better hold space for each other’s unique experiences? This strand will look at how we can come together in ways that encourage mutual understanding, sharing and growth.
Innovating: can the challenges we face lead us to new research and/or new practices personally or professionally? This strand will look at whether our experiences can lead to growth, reconstruction and reimagining across all aspects of our globally mobile world.
Thriving: how can we develop skills to help us cope with the pain and discomfort that a globally mobile, cross-cultural life might bring in 2022? This strand is an opportunity to explore our own reflections as well as providing insights into best practices for support so that we can find ways to thrive, despite our challenges.