A showcase of FIGT Members' written work, focusing on the issues we study, the best practices we share, and the strategies we provide to support expatriates and cross cultural individuals and their families. Contributions are a privilege for Small Business and Corporate membership levels only and you can submit up to 3 posts per year. Please use our online form below to submit a blog for consideration or contact blogeditor@figt.org.

  • 29 Nov 2018 9:07 PM | Anonymous

    As many of you who support Families in Global Transition will know, October and November are periods of huge transition, both for the organization’s Board of Directors, but also for the Board Members moving into their new roles.

    Last month, we had the privilege of saying a fond farewell to our dedicated outgoing Board, and this month we get to welcome the equally talented incoming Directors.

    Joining our current Board Members -  Rita Rosenback, Todd Cress, Trisha Carter, Kate Berger, Kyoung Mi Choi, Linda Janssen, Jody Tangredi and Deborah Valentine - we are delighted to add Dawn Bryan, Valérie Besanceney, Vivian Chiona, Anne Lessle, Megan Norton and Ginny Philps.

    So what inspired these great people to take on the task of navigating FIGT’s onward journey, and what do they hope to get out of their deeper involvement? Wonder no more, because we asked them - and here are their answers!

    Affiliate Director

    One person who is truly able to understand the benefits of the FIGT Affiliates is Vivian Chiona. She is already a Co-Chair for both the Netherlands and the Greece Affiliate, and is looking forward to “building our network of affiliates and to take our efforts at FIGT to the next level, as well as to develop greater awareness of the important work we do here for the international community."

    As someone who is passionate about bringing FIGT to local communities, Vivian’s personal motivation is clear. “Knowing that I am giving back and contributing all I can to the international community, I feel a great sense of satisfaction working with an organization like FIGT, whose values are very much in line with my own.”

    Communications Co-Directors

    We are delighted to benefit from the combined expertise of Ginny Philps and Anne Lesslehttps://www.figt.org/Anne-Lessle, who will be Co-Chairing the Communications Team. While Anne is managing her own global transition, Ginny notes that she is:

    most looking forward to building on the amazing work that FIGT members have done before me. I am also keen to respond to the call made by Ruth van Reken to 'widen the tent' and  see who is 'not at the table' ...helping ensure that FIGT is widely appreciated for the great community that it is. On a personal note, I’m hoping to add value across the Communications sphere through utilising my relevant corporate, NGO and international school experience.”

    Nominations Director

    As a previous conference Speaker and Panel Moderator, Megan Norton brings a wealth of experience and a great enthusiasm to her role as Nominations Chair. That is reflected in her commitment to

    “advocating for an expanded perspective, drive, and reach to continue conversations surrounding diversity, equity, privilege, CCK/TCK identity, transnational mobility, culture, and faith. We are a community of thought-leaders, game changers, and curious minds that lead these challenging and intersecting conversations in our ever increasingly interconnected and intercultural world. On a personal level, I would love to see young adult CCK/TCKs to find their sense of belonging both professionally and personally in this community.”

    Program Director

    Valérie Besanceney was an integral part of the Program team for last year’s 20th Anniversary Conference, and so has a first hand understanding of the impact of her role.

    “It is a tremendous honor to replace Daniela Tomer in the role of Program Chair. For the past two years, I have really enjoyed seeing the program come to life, together with the rest of the program committee. Being able to experience this process now as a member of the Board adds a whole new dimension. On a personal level, I am looking forward to becoming even more connected to others who share a passion for helping others thrive through transitions. It’s been intensely rewarding to have been part of this community for the last five years, and I cannot even imagine life without FIGT in it. The connections with others is where I find myself at home at FIGT.


    Our final words go to Dawn Bryan, our talented incoming President, who captures the spirit of community, commitment and the shared values of everyone involved in Families in Global Transition. She reminds us what we can achieve when we come together...

    “I'm really excited to see the 2019 conference come together. I've only been on the board just over a month but I'm already thoroughly enjoying watching a team of volunteers pull together to make this conference happen. It's pretty extraordinary! I love being around so many dynamic, like-minded people who see the world through a global lens. I'm also looking forward to having a front row seat on all that's happening in FIGT!”

  • 20 Nov 2018 2:59 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    FIGT is fortunate to have supportive sponsors. This is the sixth of a short series of articles highlighting those whose invaluable financial and professional support has helped keep FIGT growing this year.

    Introducing 2018 Conference Silver Sponsor American Psychologist.nl

    Another first-time FIGT sponsor in 2018 is American Psychologist.nl, owned by Mark Burdick. A graduate school of The American School in Lugano, Switzerland and an educational consultant and psychologist with multiple degrees and licenses recognized in the US, UK and EU, Mark has dedicated his life to developing a global practice helping individuals and their families find the right education and treatment programs addressing mental health and other challenges.

    Services include program referral tailored to each client; sobriety services; assessments and interventions; parent sessions and classes; and aftercare support upon program/school completion.

    He has spent the past forty years traveling extensively, helping families and investigating schools and programs worldwide. Given that both his clients and the best solution recommendations for them may be located around the world, Mark recognizes a natural affiliation with Families in Global Transition. In fact, it is what attracted him to sponsor FIGT.

    “FIGT is a community appreciative of the novel and creative outcomes provided by living outside of one’s familiar territory.”

    When asked what it is about his and his small number of trusted associates’ services he would most like the FIGT community to be aware of, he didn’t hesitate.

    “We are practitioners who are licensed to do our testing, counseling, and placement. We can provide an ‘insurance friendly’ invoicing across the United States, United Kingdom, European Union countries and others. We are all Third Culture Grown Ups ourselves.” Later, he expanded on this answer, noting that their services are “ethical, non-harming, moving family forwarded, and successful.”

    Mark spent significant time in The Hague at FIGT2018 conversing with attendees, listening, asking questions, reassuring, helping. If you’ve met him, it’s no surprise that, when asked the value of attending the annual conference, he joked about having “a day off” and loving “the photo bombs with others.” Then, quickly becoming serious, he added, “Truly, it is about unity in purpose.”

    Mark is also the founder of Burdick Psychological & Placement Services. 

  • 13 Nov 2018 12:06 PM | Deborah Valentine

    Those familiar with FIGT and past conferences will know, this is the time of year our AMAZING Program team is busy reviewing the proposals to speak, reaching out to speakers and finalising the content for our next Conference. As you will have also read in past newsletters, there were an outstanding number of submissions received. This makes the work of the Program committee more intense but it ALSO means there will be much in store for us - conference attendees and the FIGT community at Bangkok FIGT2019.

    As we await, in anticipation, perhaps this is a good moment to reflect on what we have, in the past, covered, discussed, shared and learnt from past conferences. Now available, for all to review, an summarised overview of FIGT2016, FIGT2017 and FIGT2018. Of course, our members can read and explore further, and have access to many presentations which were made. But, even if you are not yet a member, you will certainly get an impression of FIGT conferences - and perhaps this will encourage you to join, consider attending or simply, provide you with some insights.

    To remind you of past conference themes:

    At FIGT2016, in Amsterdam - the first conference outside of the USofA - we explored “Bringing Empathy and Expertise to the Evolving Global Family”

    At FIGT2017, in The Hague - we discussed “Building on the Basics: Creating Your Tribe on the Move”

    At FIGT2018, in The Hague - we celebrated FIGT’s 20th Anniversary by exploring “Diverse voices celebrating the past, present, and future of globally mobile lives”

    To whet your appetite, a reminder of what we will be covering at FIGT2019, in Bangkok: “Connect. Lead. Change. Welcoming new perspectives to inspire and support people in transition”
  • 12 Oct 2018 9:31 AM | Deborah Valentine

    A message from our Social Media team and announcement for our members.

    In an effort to help our members to be better found - online, we have created the opportunity to update your profiles with your social media platforms/pages. Whether you are a member listed in the Public Directory or only behind the Membership wall, we hope this will be a way for others to find, connect, share, learn from you. So, do take a moment to login to your profiles and add yours if you are on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

    And then, as recently shared by the FIGT social media team in the members group on Facebook, an invitation to FIGT Members. "The FIGT social media team would be happy to share any member news and/or interesting articles you've written that would be relevant and useful to the greater FIGT community. We can't guarantee we'll share everything on all our social media channels, but feel free to add your news to the Facebook Members Group - look for the Announcement pinned to the top. Tagging FIGT in relevant posts is also another way to get the attention of the team, and highlight our community further."

    There are Bonus points if you've written a blog article related to FIGT (i.e. why you're going to #FIGT2019, why you applied to be a speaker, etc) then that will definitely be shared.

    Let’s get social #FIGTmembers, and share and support one another along the way. And, while we are at it, have you grabbed your FIGT hashtag? Are you an #FIGTMember #FIGTSponsor #FIGTScholar #FIGTvolunteer? Why not grab it and wear it proudly.

  • 10 Oct 2018 1:15 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Join Us in Recognising and Celebrating Our Outgoing Board Members

    October is not typically the season of new beginnings, but here at FIGT, it’s the time of year when we are excited by the new and exciting voices that are joining our community.

    Not only are we being inspired by the many wonderful RFPs and scholarship applications that have been submitted for the Conference, we are also welcoming our incoming Board members.

    But, as anyone familiar with our world will know, every great transition begins with a good goodbye. So before we introduce our new arrivals, we’re taking time to honor and celebrate the immense contributions of our outgoing Board Members, Kristine Racina (President), Daniela Tomer (Program Chair) Amanda Bates (Affiliate Chair), Carolina Porto (Nominations Chair) and Donnyale Ambrosine (Communications Chair)

    We wanted to capture and share what inspired these hard working, dedicated and talented people to become involved with FIGT, and learn a little bit more about what they are most proud of. So here, in their own words, they share their own highlights.

    What are you happiest about or proudest of your time on the FIGT Board?

    Kristine: Having contributed to a challenging transition for FIGT moving its conference to Europe, establishing itself in Europe and now moving to Asia. Having been part of building the Board’s resilience during such a major change. The FIGT 20th Anniversary conference was a big accomplishment as well. It required a lot of work from the Board, committees and volunteers and became a true celebration of knowledge, friendship and togetherness.

    Daniela: It’s hard to pick one thing. I am proud of many things - the conferences, the program content, the diverse voices that we included. The most important thing for me was to keep building systems into our work so that as people change, this work can continue. And especially to build up a team that I am very proud of - that is important to my heart.

    Amanda: I am happy that we’ve expanded the number of local Affiliates and given people further opportunities to stay connected to FIGT. I love the fact that we now have a FIGT presence both in Asia and South America. FIGT is an international organization and it should always be reflective of that diversity.

    Carolina: Happiest and proudest at the same time; the moment when we got the slate ready to be presented. I felt a sense of accomplishment and was SO happy to see such strong and amazing names together.

    Donnyale: I’m proudest about successfully promoting the 20th Anniversary with record participation in our social media activities, social crowdsourcing, RFP submissions and attendance.

    What did you enjoy most about being on the Board?

    Kristine: Getting to know so many talented and dedicated people, to effectively work with, manage and lead them, as well as learn from them. Being professionally challenged on so many levels and still be able to see the big picture in the ocean of changing elements and pieces.

    Daniela: I’m proud of being one of the non-native English speakers who brings another accent and background to an organization that was originally very American. I think it’s wonderful that we have this past and that we are welcoming people who are a bit different and I hope that it will continue to change and keep on growing.

    Amanda: The best part of the Board was certainly its members. There’s such a high level of dedication and commitment that is somewhat indescribable, especially when you consider these are not paid positions!

    Carolina: I have truly enjoyed the learning curve, a mixture of using my skills with doing something I have not done before. And above all, I had the pleasure of working with a group of different people walking towards the same goal. I was always inspired, sometimes challenged and often had a lot of fun!

    Donnyale: Creating and developing our team. Save one person, every Communications team member was new, and I was thrilled to work with them and develop new vision for the positions. Our team was engaged, excited and fun - the best part of my time on the Board!

    It’s always hard to say goodbye to people who have become such an integral part of our lives, work and our community, so we want to say a heartfelt ‘Thank You!’ to them all, and look forward to staying connected online and (hopefully!) in person at #FIGT19. 

    You will all be missed!

    Be a part of FIGT’s journey - volunteer for a committee! Head to https://www.figt.org/Get-Involved to find out more about the opportunities available.

  • 07 Oct 2018 12:42 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    It's very encouraging, in our first year of moving the FIGT conference to Asia, to announce that we have received an outstanding number of proposals from potential presenters.

    As in recent years, many of these came in during the final week of the RFP period so were a welcome surprise.

    The Program Director from the FIGT Board of Directors, Valérie Besanceney says,

    “We are thrilled to receive such a great number of proposals from presenters around the world. Our committee of readers are currently evaluating the proposals.  Given the number of outstanding proposals, from new and familiar voices, it is a challenging task.

    However, it is exciting to know that from their evaluations and the final selection to be made by the program committee, we will be able to develop a wonderful and rich agenda for #FIGT2019 that will appeal to audiences from all sectors.”

    We are looking forward to learning more about the agenda and the presenters in the coming months!

  • 09 Sep 2018 8:32 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Another month of exciting news of #FIGTMembers has come across our news feeds.

    David Hodson #FIGTMember and partner of the International Family Law Group, who are 2018 #FIGTSponsor, becomes one of the first fellows of the Asian Institute of Alternative Dispute Resolutions.  Congratulations David! The AIDR will benefit from your knowledge and experience.

    It was also exciting to see notifications across social media that three of our #FIGTMembers including our founder Ruth Van Reken are joining together to present at the International Association for Counseling Conference in Rome.  Ruth along with Shellee Burrows and Daniela Tomer will be leading a panel discussion about TCK and CCKs. This was a collaboration which developed at #FIGT18NL.  You never know what might happen from attending an FIGT conference!

    Kate Berger showed up on LinkedIn being congratulated for an excellent video interview with the Financial Times speaking about the choices and challenges of international schools.  It’s a beautiful video with great content.

    Also showing up on Linkedin with a picture of a newspaper article was Florence Chabert d'Hieres, #FIGTMember and volunteer in our Communications Team. The newspaper had written about her new book “I’m a citizen of the World”  This book was also starring with many congratulations for Florence on the French speaking expatparents FB page.  The book is available in both English and French and a great resource for parents, counselors and international schools.

    In the Summer 2018 edition of their magazine, Access, #FIGTMember and #FIGTSponsor for 2018 wrote about us!  They congratulated FIGT on our 20 year celebration and called us a “Global Sister” organisation. Awww.

    We loved reading Julia Simons blog about the 19 Reasons to come to #FIGT2019 in Bangkok. My favourite is number 10 but it's hard to choose.

    Many of you will have completed Vivian Chiona’s survey on living an international life.  Well the results are in!  What do you think we miss the most? Read the interesting findings from Vivian's survey.

    Big Congratulations go to Elizabeth (Lisa) Liang whose amazing film, "Alien Citizen: An Earth Odyssey" won the Outstanding Achievement Award in the Performing Arts category at the Calcutta International Cult Film Festival!  The showing of the movie was a hit at our last conference.  If you get a chance to see it, don't miss it. 

    Again this month there were some amazing #FIGTMembers writing about their current transitions.  Our own Lillian Small (PPWR writer at #FIGT18NL and our Social Media Team Lead) writes about an unexpected move to Cairo and a few other exciting pieces of news!

    Marilyn Gardner is writing (beautifully as always) about leaving ‘home,' the journey, and the arrival in Ranya, Kurdistan.  We wish her and Cliff all the best in this amazing new location.

    If you are an #FIGTMember and want to share your news for future editions please email us.

  • 09 Sep 2018 12:15 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    We are happy to share that the FIGT Board of Directors has approved the launch of a new, shared-interest FIGT affiliate:

     The Counseling and Coaching Network.

    Counselors and coaches have become a growing subgroup in the FIGT community.

    As a result, the Program Team of #FIGT18NL decided for the first time to have an Early Birds session on Counseling and Coaching. The session was well attended and confirmed the need to have a platform to share ideas and information within this subgroup during the whole year cycle and not only during the yearly Conference.

    Communication, connection, and collaboration are at the heart of this initiative.

    We see it as an opportunity to create a platform of communication and to share information that is relevant to our niche in the field of global counseling. It can be the place to go when you are moving countries and you have to find your Counseling professional way again. A place where relevant professional education opportunities can be shared. A place for peer supervision and much more. 

    The leading team of the C&C Affiliate are all FIGT members:

    Daniela Tomer, Tami Nelson, Shellee Burroughs, Jacqueline Herbstman and Kelli Jones Sanness

    We are looking forward to hearing from you.  Please contact us at counseling@figt.org.

  • 06 Sep 2018 6:18 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Your voice is needed for our first ever Asia conference!

    Jody Tangredi, who has held the position of Scholarship Chair on the Families in Global Transition Board for two conferences now, describes the process of selecting and hosting previous scholars: “I’ve had the pleasure and honor of reading many well thought-out applications and seeing keen scholars arrive at each conference, representing the year’s theme through their passion and purpose.”  

    She has also received feedback from them on the impact of becoming a David Pollock Scholar and attending the conference. “As first-time attendees to the conference, no-one knows exactly what to expect but in talking to some of the 2017 and 2018 scholars the resounding outcome is a form of delighted surprise and intense gratitude. They particularly enjoyed:

    • The strong level of interest in their topics.  From the experiences of non-privileged, forced expatriation of Hazara women living in liminality between Iran and Afghanistan; to families with special-needs children in Taiwan and beyond; to non-white, non-Western, non-Global North voices; to family abuse within the expat context; to Japanese-TCK experiences; to theater expressing TCK/CCK experiences; to the experiences of black migrants; to telling stories through art and puppetry for children to effectively manage relocation issues - the list is large over the years!  
    • The broadening of their  minds to possibilities they hadn’t previously realized with their work (volunteer work included)/studies/business/book and non-profit start-up ideas
    • The connections to others who became their mentor, their champion, and in many cases their new BFF (Best Friend Forever) in just 3 days
    • A new network of people who have intersections with their passion or work in ways they never considered
    • A refreshed sense of determination
    • ·A focus
    • No need to explain yourself
    • Perhaps most priceless of all: A place to belong and be heard at long last.”

    The David C Pollock Scholarship honors a legend in the field of global mobility whose story became legend not through TV appearances, popular podcasts, internet postings or business schools touting successful global leadership skills, but through his work as a missionary in Africa, raising a family there, serving a greater purpose, and seeing the human impact of lives lived globally.  He spoke, and wrote, passionately about the human impact on families and individuals in transition.  He was able to make sense of the experiences and bring a voice to the voiceless, “to make the implicit explicit”, and always wondered who are we leaving out?  Who is being left behind?  And critically, he did something about it. 

    With the David C Pollock Scholarship funds raised every year at the conference, FIGT seeks to move his work forward and memorialize his mission by continuously asking not only “Who is missing” from the FIGT table?  But also, how can their passion help others in global transition?  What can be gained by lifting their voice and giving opportunity to attend?

    Successful applicants receive

    • free conference registration ---they will attend the conference for free
    • a partial stipend to defray travel costs ----they will receive a  stipend for travel expenses
    • the opportunity to contribute to families in transition and those who serve them
    • contacts, networks, ideas, resources, and friendships garnered at FIGT Conference.

    Next year’s conference will be held for the very first time in Asia, in Bangkok, from April 26th -28th 2019.  Applications for the David Pollock Scholarship (and the Request for Proposals to present) are now open and close on September 30th.  

    For more information and to begin the Application Process click here.

  • 06 Sep 2018 4:47 AM | Deborah Valentine

    The excitement is mounting, my colleagues in Communications, Program, Scholarship, Sponsorship and Logistics are in full swing, and all Board members are preparing to on-board our new in-coming fellow Board members. Truly amazing what we are able to accomplish working together - and exciting to be a part of.

    Moving into the next phases of our new membership strategy I am also happy to share, that with Communications we are working hard to find ways to ensure our members’ news, accomplishments, events and highlights receive the attention they deserve. We do, however, need your help as well. We cannot keep track of all our growing memberships news and updates ourselves, so we invite you to let us know what you are up to, which you feel our community could benefit from. And, by all means, if you are a member,

    Have a blog to submit for consideration? You can do so here.

    Have some news to share? The launch of a book, a conference you are attending/speaking at? We will be starting a blog dedicated to ‘our members in the news’ so do please keep us posted. But DO also share your news, updates, questions in the Member Only Facebook group - we were happy to see so many join it. Also, feel free to hashtag #FIGTmember when you are posting - on your pages or posts.

    New to FIGT, considering becoming a member? We invite you to explore some of the Resources available to everyone: our Public Directory if you are looking for a service, support, locally based contact/resource; our Resource Center for an overview of articles, books, news items, blogs and more. All, supporting and related to our mission to be a welcoming forum for globally mobile individuals, families, and those working with them.

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