President's Blog

Posted: 29 Nov 2016 by Nancy Zalusky Berg

What an amazing meeting we had in New Delhi, India!  The Imperial Hotel lived up to its name and was truly glorious.  The rooms were lovely and spacious and all of the staff just amazing in their desire to make sure our every need was met.  The education program was amazing.  We were most honored be invited fellow Pinky Anand’s lovely home for an evening which was as breathtaking as an Indian wedding.  William has set the bar high indeed for events and additional tours!

I left India to return home briefly and then make my way to Reykjavik, Iceland for a final site visit in anticipation of our next AGM there September 13 through the 16th 2017.  Iceland is a must visit kind of place because words cannot fully describe the other worldly beauty of its topography.  Just as India was bright with color, intense in fragrance and, frankly, noisy (took-took horns) Iceland is serene and calming.  The entire island’s population is just over 300,000 and most reside in Reykjavik.  The population is youthful and fully engaged in all the outdoors activities possible from hiking and horseback riding to scuba diving.  Because of their enormous commitment to the environment you will find an ordinary glass of water worthy of comment!

I promise you have never tasted a meal so fresh or delicious.  Fruits and vegetables are grown in greenhouse farms (even producing bananas) and the beef and lamb grass fed.  And then there is the seafood – literally fished the day you eat it!

The tour everyone must take is the Golden Circle which include geysers, waterfalls, geothermal pools and the Thingvellir National Park.  The Icelandic general assembly, considered by some to be the first parliament, was established here around 930 AD.  It is also here where you will be able to walk the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.

I traveled to Melbourne, Australia to attend their biannual National Family Law Conference on October 18 to 21.  The conference was attended by 1,100 lawyers.  The education program was a brilliant in its organization and content.  I plan on stealing a few of their ideas for our future education programs – thanks to Damien Greer!

Ian Kennedy hosted a lovely lunch for the IAFL fellows, which numbered approximately 35, as well as the welcome reception.  Geoff Wilson took very good care of me and made sure I made lots of new friends. 

Then the first of November I attended the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers annual conference in Chicago along with the many IAFL US Chapter fellows and a few Brits!  William Longrigg celebrated his 10th year in attendance along with Simon Bruce who I believe has attended for as long.  Rachael Kelsey attended for her first time – I suspect she will be back!

Most recently, last week, I participated in the “mini-meeting” hosted jointly by IAFL and the European Chapter in Madrid. There were 139 lawyers in attendance, appoximently a third were fellows and the rest fresh young faces eager to learn all aspects of an international practice and meet IAFL fellows.

This year the IAFL will be working to continue our international expansion by hosting mini-meetings in various places.  The mini-meetings focus on recruitment of qualified fellows from additional jurisdictions as well as targeting topics of particular concern such as The Hague Conference treaties and surrogacy.  We will continue to have a presence at meetings all over Asia and Africa and will work to further our outreach to South America.  This year we have held mini-meetings in Moscow, New York City, Hong Kong and Madrid.  We are already planning another mini-meeting in New York City, thanks to Sylvia Goldschmidt, in April 2017 and a mini-meeting in Warsaw, Poland in November 2017.  So begin suggesting your associates, juniors and young lawyers consider attending these wonderful opportunities.

Perhaps the most exciting development for the IAFL has been enhancement of our relationship with The Hague Conference and other non-governmental as well as governmental agencies.  When we met in Amsterdam at The Hague we quickly learned of their meager resources.   US Chapter fellow Suzanne Harris has identified the need for funds by The Hague Conference to continue their good work on behalf of children and families and will be working to set up an IAFL foundation for them in the coming year. 

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