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President's Blog, March 2021

Posted: 8 Mar 2021 by Marlene Eskind Moses

Even though our travel is limited, it has not affected what we have been able to accomplish. The IAFL has been very busy with chats, webinars, chapter meetings, special projects and events to welcome new Fellows.

NEW FELLOWS HANDBOOK

Among the projects that have been completed is a “New Fellows Handbook.”

This handbook was created by Nancy Zalusky Berg, William Longrigg and Tom Sasser with input from the Chapter Presidents and Donna Goddard. We are delighted to have this material available not only for new Fellows but for those members who want some helpful hints about their membership, attending meetings and how to become more connected to the organization and others within the organization.  See Handbook.

IAFL BROCHURES 

We have also competed the translation of our IAFL brochures into French thanks to Rahima Nato-Kalfane. We have the brochures available in English, Spanish, Chinese and French. See Brochures.

OUTREACH TO AFRICA 

The IAFL partnered with the Commonwealth Lawyers Association on February 5 holding an open webinar on “Hot Topics in Family Law in Africa.” Nearly 700 people attended, with participants from 16 jurisdictions in Africa.  The IAFL Expansion to Africa Committee of Pepsi Samukelo Thuto, Rachael Kelsey, Esther Susin Carrasco, Zenobia Du Toit, Susan Abro, Adelaide Benneh Prempeh, Rita Keevil, Caroline Harnois, Pat Moodley, William Longrigg and Nancy Berg plus Jorge Cestero deserve many accolades for this most successful joint venture.  

The sessions covered, Marriage: the status and consequences of customary, religious and same-sex marriage; Resolving family law disputes: litigation, arbitration, mediation and other consensus-based resolution and The Day of the African Child: 30 years on, where are we now?

In addition to the many IAFL Fellows, the webinar’s audience included CLA members and practitioners from jurisdictions in Africa. We all enjoyed learning from the panels. 

REFERENCE GROUP

The advisory Reference Group consisting of past presidents and leaders of the IAFL met for the second time. The first meeting took place in Melbourne, Australia. Cheryl Hepfer is the outstanding Committee Chair. She set up two sessions so times would be as convenient as possible for our participants.

The lively discussions centered around: preserving the history of the IAFL, mentoring for leadership, forced marriage, international surrogacy, same sex marriage, stateless children, medico-legal issues and other potential initiatives.

Many thanks to Cheryl for leading the extraordinary sessions and to all of the participants and members of the Reference Group including:  Mia Reich-Sjögren, William Longrigg, Ian Kennedy, Nigel Nicholls, Nancy Zalusky Berg, James Stewart, Suzanne Kingston, Joy Feinberg, Alfred Kriegler, Winnie Chow and Alain Berger.

EUROPEAN PRESIDENT’S CONFERENCE 

Mia Reich-Sjögren, Dr. Alfred Kriegler and I attended the 49th European President’s Conference on February 12. It is a meeting that historically takes place in Vienna, Austria. This year the conference was virtual. The topic was “The Rule of Law.” There were fascinating speakers discussing how countries honored the Rule of Law to varying degrees and the impact it has on the practice of law as a result.  

UPCOMING PROGRAMS AND WEBINARS

On Friday, March 19, the European Chapter is hosting a virtual webinar which was scheduled to take place in Kyiv. The topic is “IAFL Introduction to European Family Law.” It is being brilliantly coordinated by William Healing and Suzanne Todd.  You can register for the seminar here.

NEW ORLEANS 

Our next in person meeting will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana. It will be a USA Chapter meeting but all are invited. The program is on the website and can be found here. President Reneaux Collins is doing a wonderful job finalizing the arrangements. Do save February 16-20, 2022. In addition to being educational, it will be a party we will all enjoy after being apart for so long.

CONTINUED THANKS 

Our continued thanks go to our contractors who do the important work of keeping our global organization and our chapters organized and on track.

Many thanks to Susan Stafford and Jennifer Dooley for their leadership with the USA Chapter. After they stepped down, Valerie Smith with The Solution (and her team) is on board as the new USA National Director. Welcome Valerie! 

Donna Goddard stays on top of all of the business of the IAFL and keeps us all on the proper path to success. Ali Massey has done an incredible job of mastering technology enabling us to hold our virtual sessions in addition to leading the administration of the European Chapter. Thanks to Sarah Lenoir, Sarah Broadbent and Daphne da Rosa for their assistance as well. 

MORE THANKS 

I am grateful to serve as your President. If I can assist a chapter or a Fellow in any way, please do not hesitate to call on me.

Stay healthy, happy and safe.

Warmest regards and hugs,

Marlene


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