President's Blog, December 2021

Posted: 7 Dec 2021 by Marlene Eskind Moses


The IAFL Annual Meeting of Fellows and Annual Meeting of Board of Governors took place on September 17, 2021. New officers and governors elected at those meetings will take up office after the New Orleans Meeting in February.


The IAFL European Chapter Annual Meeting took place on October 1, 2021.

  • A webinar education programme was presented alongside the meeting
  • Rachael Kelsey completed her most successful term as President and handed over the gavel to Alberto Perez Cedillo who is well-prepared to lead
  • New officers elected were: Sandra Verburgt President Elect, Emma Hatley Vice President, Renato Labi Secretary and Julia Pasche Treasurer
  • Vice-President Isabelle Rein-Lescastereyres was re-elected. Congratulations to the new officers. Your Chapter is in excellent hands.


The Asia Pacific Chapter delivered a very meaningful and well-attended webinar in association with LawAsia "Remembering Anne-Marie Hutchinson" on October 11, 2021.


The IAFL supported the Hague Conference on Private International Law at their HCCH Approach Initiative Event on October 19, 2021, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1996 Hague Child Protection Convention. A number of Fellows participated in the day’s meeting including: The Hon Justice Victoria Bennett AO (Australia), Carolina Marín Pedreño (England and Wales and Spain), Edwin Freedman (Israel), Prof. Olga Khazova (Russia), Melissa Kucinski (USA) and Rachael Kelsey (Scotland). The IAFL also provided support for an essay competition open to all legal professionals, law students, and law academics or researchers under the age of 35. The competition was won by Tanner Wardsworth, a J.D. student at Columbia University, New York. The winning essay which was entitled “Growing Up: The 1996 Hague Child Protection Convention and Age Assessments” looked at the issues that arise globally when it comes to states’ procedures for assessing the age of refugee children, when they do not have paperwork to demonstrate their birthdate.


Through the hard work and close oversight of Donna Goddard, backdate calendars are now in place for IAFL Administration, IAFL Meetings and all Chapters' Administration.


The USA Chapter had a recruitment drive at the AAML Annual Meeting in Chicago on November 12, 2021 which resulted in a number of requests for application forms. Wendy Crew graciously hosted a cocktail party to which many potential applicants were invited to attend. It was a delightful and productive event.


A Central/Latin American outreach dinner is planned for New Orleans on February 17, 2022. Cheryl Hepfer is in charge. She has organized others of these gathering which have been well-received. Many thanks, Cheryl, for your on-going dedication to the IAFL.


Jorge Cestero and the Investment Committee are working on plans to invest some of IAFL's reserves with Merrill Lynch. It is helpful to have our funds working for us so we can make our treasury go further as we fulfil our mission.


Jason Naimi is working hard to revive the IAFL Sponsorship Committee and develop IAFL's global sponsorship policies & processes.


The Communication with Fellows Committee has recently delivered proposals for promotion of existing Fellows via social media and an expression of interest form for IAFL Committee membership.


IAFL Special Interest Groups have been up and running for seven months. There will be further discussions about how the members of the interest groups can communicate with each other. Their successes and opportunities for improvement will be reviewed.


On the agenda for the December Executive Committee Meeting is the review of IAFL Studentships and how they should be carried out in the future. Liability has become a major issue which must be addressed.


I am happy to report that dues collection for 2022 is running smoothly. Thanks to all of you who have renewed your membership. Our organization is as strong as its membership and we are blessed to have outstanding Fellows.


The best part of my report is a return to in-person meetings. We look forward to gathering with existing and potential Fellows in 2022. Please mark your calendars as you are all invited to each of these meetings.

  • USA & Canadian Chapters Meeting in New Orleans, February 16-20
  • European Chapter Meeting in Athens, May 11-15
  • Asia Pacific Chapter Meeting in Bangkok, July 27-31
  • Introduction to International Family Law Conference in Ibiza, October 13-14
  • IAFL Annual Meeting in Marrakech, November 30 - December 4


At this time of year, I am mindful of how quickly the years pass and how fortunate I am to have you as my friends and colleagues. Being a Fellow in the IAFL is most meaningful to me as a result of the close friendships that we maintain across the world and the care and concern that we show in numerous ways. I wish you much good health, continued happiness and peace as we move into 2022.

Warmest regards and love,


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