FIGT UK Affiliate

Year Established: 2018
Type: Geographical
Gathering: In-person and video conference
Language: English
Facebook Group

The UK Affiliate is one of the newest additions to the FIGT organization, which started operating in its current form in 2018. Our early challenge has been working out how to serve the vast territory of the whole of the UK.

The solution was found in organizing small face-to-face gatherings in London and inviting FIGT members from the the other parts of the country to join us through a video conference call.


Our mission is to:

  • promote FIGT across the UK
  • build a network of members interested in sharing their expertise, insights and support for globally mobile individuals and families
  • continue the work of FIGT beyond the annual conference
  • offer resources and support for families in global transition.
  • collaborate with groups sharing FIGT’s vision of supporting global citizens.


To find out about what we do, please join our mailing list.

We hold regular meetups either in person in London or via a video-link which you can attend from anywhere. In the meetups we get to know each other by shining a spotlight on the work and life of UK Affiliate participants.

The topics and meeting times are posted on the FIGT website events section and on our UK Affiliate Facebook group, as well as emailed to our mailing list members.

Contacts and Communications

  • The best way to be in the know is to join the FIGT UK Mailing List
  • Our events are published on the FIGT events page
  • Facebook: we have a Facebook Group called “FIGT UK” 
  • LinkedIn: you can find the co-chairs on LinkedIn

Did you know? If you are a FIGT member, you can find other members by location and you can contact them directly through their individual page in the Member Directory. Now, that is useful.

The Story

We'd like to acknowledge the inspirational work of Wendy Wilson and Claire Snowdon who set up the original FIGT UK in 2012-2015. Thank you for the great groundwork, Wendy and Clare!

The current FIGT UK affiliate started in 2018 with Joy O’Neill and Soile Pietikäinen as co-chairs. Back then, Joy was part of FIGT’s Scholarship Committee and Research Network Affiliate, and Soile got in touch with FIGT to ask about setting up an Affiliate for London.

London being such a global hub of mobile families, it seemed only logical there should be FIGT activities in London. Both Joy and Soile had a desire to create a space for globally mobile families to come together as a community for support, research, discussions and training. That’s when FIGT UK was reborn with the ambitious goal to serve the whole of the UK, rather than just London.

In autumn 2019 Joy O’Neill took some time off from leadership after a tremendous amount of great work in getting the new UK Affiliate off the ground. We thank her with all our hearts and admire her achievements in amazement.

In 2019 experienced FIGT members Louise Wiles and Elizabeth Gillies joined Soile as the new co-chairs. Louise has been a FIGT member since 2013 and also serves on the nominations committee. Elizabeth has been a member of FIGT since 2012 and has attended 4 conferences. 

The first FIGT UK virtual meet-up via a Zoom conference took place on 6 February 2020, with Bonnie Wims from the New York FIGT as our special guest. We had 7 participants from all around the UK, and even one from Mexico.


Soile Pietikäinen is a sociologist of family and migration. Soile is the founder of Bilingual Potential, an ethical enterprise dedicated to every child’s right to learn and use their parents’ language – this right is defined in Article 30 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the world’s most ratified international treaty. Soile is known for her Bilingual Speech Activation methodology. She helps families when children who live abroad have problems with the parents’ native language. Her Bilingual Fluency online course teaches parents how to bring back their child’s fading language in a few months. Soile is Finnish but has now lived more of her life abroad than in Finland. She lives in London with her trilingual (Finnish-Italian-English) family. Website:

Louise Wiles has over twenty years of international experience as a consultant, coach, trainer, teacher and expat working and living in France, Spain, Portugal and the UK. Her areas of professional expertise include occupational psychology, coaching through change and transition, and the design and delivery of corporate and individual training and coaching programmes. Her programmes focus on supporting international employees and their families through the adjustment experience; building resilience, cultural agility, strengths, career confidence, independence and well-being abroad – facilitating successful relocation outcomes for both the individuals and organisations. Louise is the author of Thriving Abroad: The definitive guide to professional and personal relocation success and the host of the Thriving Abroad Podcast. Website:

Elizabeth Gillies is an Educational Psychologist based in London. She has worked in schools as a psychologist at the individual, group and systems level for 30 years. Her published work centres on solution focused and strength-based relationships. She has been fortunate to live, work and raise her family in America, Japan and Australia so, unsurprisingly is keenly interested in identity, belonging and transitions. On return to the UK several years ago she continues to focus on mental health in times of change and challenge. LinkedIn:

Visit the Events Page for upcoming activities. 

Contact the UK Affiliate leadership team at

Join our Facebook Group! 

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Mailing address:
Families in Global Transition

C/o Campbell Rappold & Yurasits LLP
1033 S Cedar Crest Blvd
Allentown, PA 18103

+1 (703) 634-7400
Skype: figt.administrator

© Families in Global Transition, Inc.