The FIGT conference: beginnings and transitions

22 Jan 2016 4:42 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

Families in Global Transition (FIGT) originated as a kitchen table conversation in 1998. Ruth van Reken, a pioneer in research on what are now known as Third Culture Kids (TCK’s), brought together a group of like-minded expatriate women familiar with the realities of global transition and raising families abroad. Together they imagined a conference where globally mobile families and the people who worked with them could discuss issues facing their community, share resources, and discover best practices.

Today, FIGT hosts three-day conferences that include thought-provoking keynote speeches, insightful concurrent sessions, and intimate “kitchen table” conversations to honor the legacy that started FIGT seventeen years ago.

For those who are not familiar with the organisation, Families in Global Transition provides a welcoming forum for globally mobile individuals, families, and those working with them. They 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. This “welcoming forum” includes individuals from a variety of sectors including corporate, diplomatic, NGO, academic, the arts, mission, and military. FIGT is a membership organization and offers a variety of informational services throughout the year such as webinars, newsletters, and opportunities to develop networks and share research on themes critical to globally mobile families such as identity and belonging.

This coming spring, it won’t be just the expatriates that are on the move! The FIGT Conference is stepping out of the US for the first time.

Its new home? Amsterdam! This year, the conference will be held at the historical de Bazel building from March 10-12, 2016.

"Moving the annual conference to the Netherlands after seventeen years in the United States was an intentional decision to help engage our community in a new way, and to bring additional awareness of FIGT to a country with a large expatriate population” said Kilian Kroell, FIGT Board President. “We are thrilled to bring the connection-building, cutting-edge research, and insightful discussions that attendees have come to expect at FIGT conferences to the Netherlands for #FIGT16."

This conference is already shaping up to be a popular one - with record-breaking numbers of presenter applications and a wealth of registrants from across the globe. The theme Moving Across Cultures: Bringing Empathy and Expertise to the Evolving Global Family resonates across all sectors and promises to bring together perspectives from global corporations, military and diplomatic services, academia, missions, cross-cultural service providers and the expatriates themselves. This inclusivity and diversity of voices is part of what makes FIGT so unique, and leaves each attendee with a sense that they have found a group of people that truly understand them, regardless of whether they’ve lived in one country or 50.

Registration for the 2016 Annual Conference is now open and can be found on FIGT’s website:

This article first appeared in ACCESS magazine:

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