FIGT comes to the Netherlands

24 Nov 2015 | Emily McDermott

« Back to Features


FIGT comes to the Netherlands

As an expat, what do you miss most? Your close circle of friends; people who understand you without the need to explain who you are. Being understood without saying where you’re from and most importantly, why you’re a fish out of water. You miss the camaraderie, empathy and sense of value you feel amongst your nearest and dearest.


image: Lois Bushong 

At Families in Global Transition events, people have long felt at ease and at home. Most will agree that the moment they walked in they felt acceptance, belonging, and a sense of shared experience. It has been described as “a roomful of friends I have yet to meet”.  


Families in Global Transition (FIGT) originated as a kitchen table conversation in 1998. Ruth van Reken, a pioneer in research on what are now known as Third Culture Kids (TCK’s), brought together a group of like-minded expatriate women familiar with the realities of global transition and raising families abroad. Together they imagined a conference where globally mobile families and the people who worked with them could discuss issues facing their community, share resources, and discover best practices.


Today, FIGT hosts three-day conferences that include thought-provoking keynote speeches, insightful concurrent sessions, and intimate “kitchen table” conversations to honor the legacy that started FIGT seventeen years ago.


For those who are not familiar with the organisation, Families in Global Transition provides a welcoming forum for globally mobile individuals, families, and those working with them. They promote cross-sector connections for sharing research and developing best practices that support the growth, success and well-being of people crossing cultures around the world. This “welcoming forum” includes individuals from a variety of sectors including corporate, diplomatic, NGO, academic, the arts, mission, and military. FIGT is a membership organization and offers a variety of informational services throughout the year such as webinars, newsletters, and opportunities to develop networks and share research on themes critical to globally mobile families such as identity and belonging.


This coming Spring, it won’t be just the expatriates that are on the move! The FIGT Conference is stepping out of the US for the first time.


Its new home? Amsterdam! This year, the conference will be held at the historical de Bazel building from March 10-12, 2016.

De Bazel

"Moving the annual conference to the Netherlands after seventeen years in the United States was an intentional decision to help engage our community in a new way, and to bring additional awareness of FIGT to a country with a large expatriate population” said Kilian Kroell, FIGT Board President. “We are thrilled to bring the connection-building, cutting-edge research, and insightful discussions that attendees have come to expect at FIGT conferences to the Netherlands for #FIGT16."


This conference is already shaping up to be a popular one - with record-breaking numbers of presenter applications and a wealth of registrants from across the globe. The theme Moving Across Cultures: Bringing Empathy and Expertise to the Evolving Global Family resonates across all sectors and promises to bring together perspectives from global corporations, military and diplomatic services, academia, missions, cross-cultural service providers and the expatriates themselves. This inclusivity and diversity of voices is part of what makes FIGT so unique, and leaves each attendee with a sense that they have found a group of people that truly understand them, regardless of whether they’ve lived in one country or 50.


Registration for the 2016 Annual Conference is now open and can be found on FIGT’s website:


For those wanting to get involved there are two additional opportunities currently open for applications: Pollock Scholarship and Parfitt Pascoe Writing Residency. The David C. Pollock Scholarship Fund pays tribute to international educator, sociologist, minister and author David C. Pollock’s legacy. It aims to attract, involve and educate emerging intercultural leaders by providing them the opportunity to attend the FIGT conference. The Parfitt Pascoe Writing Residency offers four budding writers partial scholarships to the 2016 FIGT Conference. The name has been chosen to honour the trailblazing writing work of Expat Expert Robin Pascoe and the ongoing commitment to supporting new writers of Jo Parfitt of Summertime Publishing.


A collaborative, creative, empathetic community of innovators and thought leaders awaits you at FIGT16NL.


About the author

Emily McDermott is the Communication Chair for Families in Global Transition, a global non-profit dedicated to providing a welcoming cross-sector forum for shared knowledge and the best practice in international mobility. She's enjoyed attending FIGT conferences and sharing the unique experience with so many 'friends you've yet to meet'.



Share with