President's Blog, June 2020

Posted: 15 Jun 2020 by Marlene Eskind Moses

Many thanks to all of you for your vote of confidence as I ascend to the office of President of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. I appreciate the coronation I received. My crown, sceptre and badge will be placed in my bookcase in my office for all to see and admire. Joy Feinberg, Wendy Crew and Reneaux Collins surprised me with the regalia which they had my children and grandchildren bestow upon me.

My first official duty in our virtual Oslo meeting was to congratulate Mia Reich-Sjögren on her very successful two-year term as President. And while I am not a true poet as is our former IAFL award winning President, Ian Kennedy, I gave it a try as you will see below.


She is the epitome of charm and grace
A powerhouse with a gorgeous face.
Quietly competent and powerful too
Our Mia is a jewel through and through.

She started her presidency in 2018
With a goal to keep the IAFL keen
To move forward in a positive way
And make our organization stronger every day.

Her first meeting was in Melbourne
And it was a huge success.
The Asia Pacific Chapter was born
With the aim to make it the best.

Then on to Palma which was also a treat
The sea, the CLE, and the wine could not be beat.
The AAML Meeting in Chicago had Mia attend
To present to the Fellows as our international friend.

Her husband had a femoral fracture but she did not slow down
In fact, she went to Vienna with all of the Presidents in town.
With plans for Bangkok, Kyiv, Amman and Oslo
Until COVID-19 came and we had to say no

To travel and meetings and group gatherings
But Mia kept on with IAFL business through other means.
Zooming here, zooming there and zooming everywhere
The work of the IAFL went on with love and care.

So today we toast you Mia supreme
And thank you for your efforts for the IAFL regime.
You are a treasure and are adored by us all.
Feel proud of yourself for rising to the call.

The IAFL is better having had you at the top
I hope I can follow you without a flop.
I will do my best to honor you and those who came before
To keep improving the IAFL and our Fellows whom we adore.

Thereafter, I was able to present Mia with a baroque pearl ring set in silver and an engraved Beatriz Ball tray which I have sent to her in Sweden.

Thanks to all of the IAFL Presidents who brought the IAFL to this prestigious place in our history.

Congratulations to our newly elected officers and especially former Treasurer for nine years President Elect, Tom Sasser, who has been instrumental in building our IAFL coffers such that we are in a healthy financial position in spite of the pandemic.

In addition to Tom Sasser, I look forward to working with all of the new in-coming Executive Committee members including:

  • Carolina Marin Pedreño, Vice President
  • Suzanne Todd, Secretary
  • Katharine Maddox, Counsel
  • Heather Hostetter, Treasurer
  • Jason Naimi, Assistant Treasurer
  • Jason Walker, Parliamentarian
  • Corinne Remedios, President of the Asia Pacific Chapter

along with all of those who will remain on the Executive Committee including: Vice President Sandra Verburgt, European Chapter President William Massey, USA Chapter President Jorge Cestero, Canadian Chapter President Sarah Boulby, and Immediate Past President Mia Reich-Sjögren

It is very hard to say goodbye to William Longrigg who has competently and brilliantly served the IAFL on the Executive Committee for 14 years. Of course, he was the Secretary, President of the European Chapter, President Elect through Immediate Past President of the entire IAFL and most recently Parliamentarian.

Also, Rachael Kelsey after 6 years as Secretary (although she will soon return as European Chapter President), Nancy Berg after 2 years as USA Chapter President and later 6 years as President Elect through Immediate Past President.

We are also grateful to Counsel Fredric Renström, Vice President Pierre-Hugues Fortin and Asia Pacific Chapter President Nigel Nicholls for their commitment and visionary leadership.

Thanks to all of the Board of Governors who have served and will serve with distinction including newly elected David Lister and Zenobia Du Toit. Also newly elected Chapter delegates Robert Arenstein, Cynthia Diggs, Tim Amos, Marie Baronin von Maydell, Oren Weinberg and Amanda Humphreys.

Thanks to Past President Cheryl Hepfer for her encouragement and guidance on my behalf for decades and for being a role model and mentor to me.

Huge thanks to Donna and Ali for planning 8 meetings that were cancelled, rescheduling 5 of those meetings, skillfully, changing budget and financial commitments and taking us virtual so we can continue on with our business, CLEs and staying in touch with each other. Thanks to Susan Stafford and Jennifer Dooley who cancelled two USA Chapter meetings and rescheduled 1.

In spite of all of the challenges we have faced and will face in the coming year, we as an organization know families matter and all components of families need to be treated with respect and dignity without racism and prejudice.

We all work diligently to improve the practice of law and administration of justice in the area of divorce and family law throughout the world.

I will focus on three areas:

Connecting Colleagues, Cultivating Knowledge and Creating Solutions.

I will do so with vigor and determination. Little did we know when we created our mission, how even more relevant and necessary it would become today.

Connecting Colleagues

While we cannot travel the world and be together in person, we will use this challenge/opportunity to connect even more frequently.

Thanks to USA Chapter President Jorge Cestero and our superior moderator Nancy Berg for the weekly Wednesday Chats to which all IAFL Fellows are invited. Additionally, in our usual expansion efforts, we will continue to recruit new Fellows from under-represented and unrepresented areas of the world.

Cultivating Knowledge

Free webinars are planned to take place twice a month. All are invited as a benefit of membership. The webinars will be scheduled at varying times so that all parts of the world can attend at reasonable hours from time to time.

Creating Solutions

Our committees continue to look for ways to find solutions to pressing problems such as our Dispute Resolution Committee, our Forced Marriage Committee, our Hague Committee and our Amicus Committee just to name a few.

My next President’s Blog will announce the formation of the committees for the coming year along with the chairs and the membership. 

Please save the date for our in person Annual Meeting of the Fellows combined with the European Chapter Meeting in Prague from June 9-13, 2021. I cannot wait to see you then!

Again, heartfelt thanks to each of you for making the International Academy of Family Lawyers a preeminent legal professional organization highly revered all over the world.

Your humble President,

Marlene Eskind Moses

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