I have just listened to the wonderful interview hosted by Paulette Bethel in her global teleseminar series, in which she talked to Kilian Kröll about FIGT, the annual conference and the process of submitting a presentation proposal. As ever, Kilian was articulate, erudite and passionate in input, but one thing that really struck me was a comment by Paulette.
She referred to her own RFP (Request For Proposal) submission, and how she didn’t expect to be selected. Which made me laugh out loud, because that was exactly how I felt when I put in my first proposal. The goal was to complete the paperwork and submit, never thinking that a global organization like FIGT would be interested in hearing what someone like me, a so-called ‘trailing spouse’ had to say.
One of the unique things about FIGT is the diversity of its community, not just in terms of cultures, geographical locations and backgrounds, but in terms of experience. Yet it manages to greet each individual with a warm welcome and find value in every voice, every experience and every journey.
It’s one of the reasons you should consider submitting a proposal to present at the 2014 annual conference. This year’s theme, The Global Family: Redefined, aims to unite the expertise of those serving the expat community with those who are living a life in global transition, from the perspective of thought leaders, authors, researchers, educators, cross-cultural trainers, destination service providers and expats and their families themselves.
For me personally, it was a voyage of discovery. Past conferences have showcased the talents and tales of diplomats, corporate employers, parents, partners, Third Culture Kids, talking around topics from resilience to repatriation, mental health to moving on, and everything in between. But what I gained was confidence; both in the validity of my story and my ability to participate in shaping the transition experiences of people I will never meet.
There is only one thing missing; you and your story. Whether you want to share insight, innovation, inspiration or information, here’s your opportunity. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.
Listen to Paulette and Kilian discuss their FIGT experiences here.
Contributed by Rachel Yates, a so-called “Trailing Spouse”, who gave up her own career as a lecturer to relocate her life, her family and her dog on her partner’s first international assignment to Kenya, supposedly for a year. Ten years and three continents later, she is now in San Francisco, re-establishing her identity. She is currently serving as an FIGT Board member and writes at Defining Moves.