President's Blog, May 2021
Posted: 7 May 2021 by Marlene Eskind Moses
IAFL Global is doing exceptionally well. Our membership is strong and our numbers are good.
We currently have 892 Fellows in all classes. In the year from February 2020 to February 2021 we only lost 25 members mostly due to retirements and health reasons.
The IAFL is fiscally sound with a healthy cash balance.
The monthly webinars have been most informative. They have provided a good way to stay current with international issues and to stay connected to one another. They have been brilliantly facilitated by Ali Massey by Zoom.
IAFL conducted an Africa outreach CLE which had nearly 700 people attend from 16 jurisdictions in Africa. Rachael Kelsey, Jorge Cestero and their committee are to be thanked for their tremendous efforts in creating and conducting this webinar.
IAFL had a remote mini-meeting which took the place of a live Kyiv meeting. It was very successful under the leadership of Suzanne Todd and William Healing.
We will have a Latin America Family Law Conference scheduled for May 14, 2021 which will include 16 different speakers from 8 different Central, South American and Caribbean countries with four panels. Many thanks to Jorge Cestero, Carolina Marín Pedreño and their committee for organizing this conference.
We have had monthly chats which have been extremely well attended. Nancy Berg continues to expertly host the chats and plan for them each month for the USA Chapter and beyond. The European, Canadian and Asia Pacific Chapters have all successfully produced monthly chats as well.
Our reference group met for the second time under the capable leadership of Cheryl Hepfer and assisted by William Longrigg. It is composed of senior leaders in the IAFL. They have developed suggestions regarding preserving our history, mentoring, and further exploration of topics such as same sex-marriage, stateless children, medico-legal issues, ethics, transgender issues, court based and other sources of resolution, displaced children by war etc and international adoption.
STRATEGIC PLANNING SESSION
Leadership of the IAFL had a strategic planning session which was skillfully facilitated by Tom Sasser. The areas identified for the focus were determined from the survey Fellows completed previously. As a result of the strategic planning session among other action items, a request for special interest groups was generated.
Thus, our newest project is the kick off of special interest groups. We are starting with three which are:
- Inter-country Child Abduction and Protection Measures (broadly the 1980 and 1996 Hague Conventions and related areas) led by IAFL Counsel, Katharine Maddox.
- Contracts in International Family Law matters (prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, cohabitation contracts and trust structures for example) led by Jonathan Mok.
- Taxation and its interplay with family law led by Brian Vertz and Claire Blakemore.
All chapters are very active and are doing well.
The Asia Pacific Chapter produces a newsletter and has regular chats including timely topics and introduction to new Fellows. In March, they ran a well-attended introduction to international family law chat which was well-attended both by Fellows and potential new Fellows.
The Canadian Chapter has regular chats and is having their Annual General Meeting on May 29, 2012.
The European Chapter is soliciting self-nominations for their leadership positions. They conduct regular chats.
The USA Chapter recently completed their chapter meeting. President Reneaux Collins hosted the meeting virtually. It included a virtual dinner with a famous Wolfgang Puck Chef (arranged by Jason Naimi), Kentucky Derby festivities including a hat contest for women (judged by Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman), an attire contest for men (judged by Ric Roane), a mixology demonstration (by Kiilu Davis), Thoroughbred Horse talk (presented by London Fellow and horse breeder Jane Keir) and Bourbon tastings by Joy Feinberg and Jorge Cestero. President Reneaux had hand-packaged boxes delivered to the attending Fellows with treats from Kentucky to go with the Kentucky Derby weekend. Many thanks to the Solution Group for handling all of the logistics and technology so expertly. With little notice Dot Miller, Valerie Smith and Courtney Hamm jumped in and immediately begin helping so the meetings and festivities could take place.
Our committees are working hard and producing great results.
The Communication with Fellows Committee is keeping us all informed and working on our Social Media policy. We will have an Instagram account to add to Facebook, Linked In and Twitter. They are also discussing hybrid events which will include both live and remote options for when we can return to in-person meetings.
The Amicus Committee under the direction of Ed Freeman respond with amicus briefs when requested and approved.
The Investment Committee is deciding upon the financial institution with whom to invest money. This committee consists of Jorge Cestero along with our IAFL Treasurer Heather Hostetter and Assistant Treasurer, Jason Naimi and the Treasurers of the Chapters.
The LGBT Committee is currently working on their third IAFL webinar and various IAFL Committees have spoken about their work during USA Chapter Chats. If any of the committees would like to present to Fellows through a webinar or chat, please let me know.
NEW FELLOWS HANDBOOK
IAFL now has a handbook that goes to all new Fellows upon joining the organization. The Handbook informs the new Fellows of our customs, practices, helpful hints and opportunities for involvement.
Data protection and all of the requirements that are involved are hard for many of us to understand. Donna Goddard is on top of it. Basically, the theory is that a person is entitled to privacy and, unless they agree to be contacted or we have a valid reason to contact them, we cannot contact them. The rules in Europe and elsewhere are very strict and we have to comply with them.
Donna Goddard has been working diligently on putting into words and flow charts what she does for the IAFL. Her work is extensive and very detailed. The importance of this is to preserve the functions necessary to administer our organization for existing and future contractors. We are grateful to Donna for taking on this project while she is ably fulfilling her day-to-day duties.
LONG OVERDUE TRAVEL
One of the best parts of my report is announcing our upcoming in-person meetings where we can meet and greet each other after being separated too long.
- New Orleans, Louisiana, USA - February 16-20, 2022
- Athens, Greece - May 11-15, 2022
- Bangkok, Thailand - July 27-31, 2022 (dates to be confirmed)
- Marrakech, Morocco - November 30-December 4, 2022
- Venice, Italy - February 1-5, 2023
Many thanks to Ali Massey for working on meeting oversight, planning and reporting.
I remain eternally grateful to each of you for your support of the IAFL during these difficult times. I appreciate the energy and devotion that you have for our premiere international family law organization.
I am honored to work with you to achieve our objectives.