ICAI Winds and Waves – facilitating new directions

This article was first published in ICAI Winds and Waves, April 2013.

Winds and Waves April 2013Welcome to this new issue of Winds & Waves, the online magazine of ICA International, on the theme of change and new directions.

Inside you will find stories of some of the change that ICAs around the world are enabling in the communities and organisations that they work with, including in the USA, Spain, Ukraine, India, Guatemala and Chile.  Also you will find stories of some of the change that ICAs themselves are undertaking within their own organisations, including in Togo, the UK and Peru.  You will also find news, reviews and feature articles, including from the new book of long-time ICA colleague Jean Houston. I hope you will find plenty to interest you, and to spark ideas for your own work and change in your own locations and in collaboration with others elsewhere.  I am grateful to the virtual global editorial team, and to all of our contributors, for so generously sharing their time, expertise, experience and ideas with us all.

ICA International is itself entering a period of significant change and development, with a new global Board in place since January and a new business plan for the new year.   I am grateful also to my predecessor as President Larry Philbrook of ICA Taiwan, and to other ICAI Board members past and present, for volunteering their time and leadership to help to shape and guide the development of our global network.  As a result of their sound management and leadership over the past years, the ICAI Board has been able to engage with members and colleagues over recent months to develop ambitious plans for strengthening and growing the ICA worldwide network this year.  You will find news of these developments also inside, and the Board would welcome your questions and feedback, and most of all your involvement.

Since my own ICA work has been mostly focused on the UK context in recent years, it has been exciting and energising for me to reconnect and re-engage internationally with ICA colleagues more in this new role, especially when I have had the opportunity to do so face to face – at the ICA global conference in Kathmandu last October, and at the ICA European Interchange in Paris in March.  Our virtual connections are also growing ever stronger. Our first online regional gatherings of the global network this year, in March, were also a real highlight for me.  Do please join us for the next regional gatherings in July.

The role of ICAI in the ICA global network is to facilitate and communicate ‘peer to peer’ support and collaboration among ICAs and ICA colleagues – in pursuit of our shared mission “to empower, through methods and values, an authentic and sustainable transformation of individuals, communities and organizations.”  I hope that this magazine may do something to help strengthen your international connections and collaborations.  Please do let us know how it does, and how it might better do so.

ICAI online regional gatherings facilitate peer to peer support and collaboration

This article was reprinted in ICA:UK Network News, issue 49 and ICAI Winds and Waves, issue 3.

fuller world mapICA International is the international body for the global network of the Institute of Cultural Affairs, with member organisations and related organisations and groups in over 40 countries worldwide.  Increasingly online gatherings are playing a key role in facilitating peer to peer support and collaboration among ICAs and ICA colleagues, within and across regions.  ICAI convenes online regional gatherings three times per year, for three regional time zone groups – Asia/Pacific, the Americas, and Europe/MENA/Africa.

These regional gatherings are open to all ICA members, staff and volunteers worldwide, and people are welcome to attend another region’s gathering if they cannot attend their own.  The first gatherings of 2013 were held March 25 & 26, and attracted 25 people from 17 countries.

The aims of the gatherings are to connect ICAs and ICA colleagues with each other, and help to build & strengthen relationships between them; to share information and facilitate peer-to-peer support and collaboration among ICAs and ICA colleagues; and to hold ICAI accountable to its members, and seek input & support to strengthen our global network and advance our global mission.

The agenda this time included introductions, activity reports with questions and discussion, a brief review of the new 2013-14 ICAI business plan and a preview of draft plans for a global ICA network survey, and a closing reflection.

Topics of discussion emerging from the reports shared this time included:

  • New groups emerging in France and Colombia, and ICAs re-emerging in Guatemala, Croatia and Brazil
  • Peer to peer support & collaboration between UK & Spain, Taiwan & France, Japan & India, Tanzania & Canada, Cote D’Ivoire & Japan, Taiwan & China, Chile & Colombia, Guatemala & Chile, UK & Togo, Brazil & Colombia…
  • New projects and achievements in Ukraine, Spain, Kenya, Zimbabwe, USA, Nepal, Peru, Guatemala…
  • The face-to-face annual ICA European interchange held in Paris earlier in March
  • Translation of curriculum and materials into French and Russian
  • The impact of financial constraints on programmes and operating structures , and the challenge of sustaining core funding & sales of services
  • Challenges of defining and communicating identity, mission & strategy, sustaining focus on both local and global priorities and managing skills development & transition of people
  • Developing relations between ICA and IAF
  • Global co-ordination on ToP facilitation and training, as more and more markets overlap
  • A proposed new ICA Americas network for sustainable development
  • Proposals for international ToP facilitation training of training initiatives in Europe and in Latin America
  • Confirmation that  ICAI’s UN consultative status remains valid with ECOSOC, FAO and UNESCO
  • Draft plans and questions for a thorough survey of the global ICA network, to gather & share basic information as a platform for expanding peer to peer support & collaboration

Reflections from those participating in the gatherings included:

  • Very good facilitation
  • Great conversations before and during the call
  • Ran smoothly – a good survey of what others are doing at their ICAs
  • Appreciated quick introductions with what people are currently doing/thinking about
  • Great to connect with you all
  • The ICAI business plan is broad enough ,and yet specific enough to measure what you plan to be doing
  • Great UN status report and actions already moved forward
  • Adobe Connect is excellent
  • Great to hear what is going on, and to think about potential partnerships
  • Great to talk, listen and exchange ideas
  • The technology is great and ever easier to use.  VERY well organized meeting!
  • It would be nice to have more present, especially from other countries – please all invite others to join next time!
  • Maybe a little more next time on brainstorming regional activities- what are clear regional next steps?
  • Need to look at topics across the regions as well as within regions – host meetings on ToP expansion, IToPToT etc.
  • Please all continue to connect with each other between meetings
  • THANK YOU all, good night, hasta luego!

A full transcript of the gatherings has been circulated – please ask if you’d like a copy.

The gatherings also provide a valuable opportunity for us all to develop our expertise in virtual meetings and virtual facilitation, to the benefit of our work with clients and partners as well as with each other.  They are held using Adobe Connect online meeting software, which has been adopted as the platform of choice for many virtual ToP facilitators.  Each meeting is preceded by some time for orientation to the technology for newcomers, and for additional technical support for those that need it.

ICAI is grateful for the technical support volunteered by the US-based Sisters of Virtual Facilitation in developing and hosting these gatherings over recent years.  The online training in virtual ToP facilitation offered by ICA USA (the ‘bootcamp’) is highly recommended for anyone interested in a more thorough grounding in the tools and skills – details are at www.ica-usa.org.

If you weren’t able to join the March gatherings, please do look out for the next in July and try to join us then.  Please also let me or another ICAI Board member know if there is anything that we can do to make these online regional gatherings more valuable and accessible to you.

Café, croissant and facilitation – and balancing the social process in Paris

This article was reprinted in ICA:UK Network News, issue 49 and ICAI Winds and Waves, issue 3.ParisThe annual ICA European Interchange is an informal face-to-face gathering for networking and mutual support, open to everyone with an interest in the Institute of Cultural Affairs in Europe. A total of 14 people from six countries participated in this year’s event, held from March 15-17 2013 in Paris.

The gathering was kindly hosted and led this year by Lan Levy, Technology of Participation (ToP) facilitator of www.coactiv.fr, in her office in central Paris. Lan also kept us well fuelled with café, croissant and pain au chocolat! Also from Paris were Lorraine Margherita, Pascal Dubois and Marc Enguix, recent graduates of Lan’s ToP training courses and members of her local facilitation community of practice. From Luxembourg was Elisabeth Wille, long-time Associate of ICA Belgium. From ICA Spain were Catalina Quiroz and Iman Moutaouakil. From ICA:UK were Alan, Shelley and Oliver Heckman, plus Derek McAuley and me (mostly this time from ICA International). Joining us briefly by Skype were John Miesen of ICA Australia and Linda Starodub in Austria.

We shared introductions, and reports on our last interchange in Vienna, and on the ICAI global conference and meetings in Nepal last October. In sharing reports on our ICAs and our own activities we noted many instances of beneficial past collaboration and mutual support, arising from previous interchanges and otherwise.  Among these were two joint EU-funded 5-day courses of ICA:UK and ICA Spain in the past year. After attending last year’s interchange and one of these courses, former ICA Croatia director Zlata Pavic has now begun work to re-activate ICA Croatia. Michael Pannwitz & Mia Konstantinidou of ICA Germany had facilitated strategic planning with ICA Netherlands, who have ToP courses now coming up in April.  Larry Philbrook of ICA Taiwan had led ToP courses in Paris with Lan, and will lead an Imaginal Learning course in Paris in June. I reported on my own collaboration with ICA Ukraine and ICA Tajikistan, in preparation for my ToP training at the IAF Russia conference in Moscow in April.

We looked in some depth at ToP training materials used in France and the UK, and how ToP had been applied to religious diversity training by ICA Spain in its EU-funded Belieforama project. We were excited to learn of Elisabeth’s work with EU institutions in Brussels and Luxembourg, and the opportunities she sees emerging there. We looked at the ICA International 2013-14 business plan that I had circulated globally a few days before, and reflected on the state and direction of our global ICA network and the role of Europe in it. We shared our own involvement and experience with IAF, the International Association of Facilitators, and our aspirations for that. We also enjoyed snails, tripe and other classic French dishes at dinner at a delightful local restaurant next to Lan’s apartment! Most of all, we drew from all of these discussions to identify numerous opportunities for further practical collaboration and mutual support.

A key thrust of our plans for future collaboration are to revisit previous plans for a European international ToP training of trainers programme, informed by our now greater experience of successful fundraising from the EU for such work.  We agreed to share and publicise our own and each other’s training schedules and training of trainer opportunities. We agreed to explore ways to engage further with ICA International, and with IAF, and to collaborate to deepen our understanding of ICA and ICA methods beyond ToP – for example by means of an online Courage To Lead study group.  We agreed to use the longstanding ICA Europe yahoogroup as a means of communication and a forum for exchange, so as engage as well with other ICA colleagues in Europe and beyond who were not present in Paris.

Although fewer ICAs were directly represented at this year’s interchange than in recent years, I myself was very excited by how the gathering seems to draw in new and returning people each year – and how each year we hear of more collaboration and support going on, and even greater appetite for more in the future.

A key insight for me in my role as ICAI President came in a side discussion with one of our new Paris colleagues, who seemed quite intrigued by what they learned of ICA.  I had briefly explained our historic global mission, and our name the Institute of Cultural Affairs, in relation to ICA’s Social Process Triangles model – as seeking to bring balance to the social process by strengthening the cultural, meaning-giving dynamic in society.  We had earlier been reflecting that perhaps too much of our attention, together in Paris and more broadly, was at the level of the business of facilitation and facilitation training rather than at the deeper level of mission, values and spirit. It occurred to me that in our own global network we might well conclude that we have allowed our economic dynamic to become dominant, the political to be allied to the economic, and the cultural to be collapsed. In contrast I suspect that in the 1970s and 80s, at the height of ICA’s global reach, we might conclude that the cultural dynamic was dominant and the economic collapsed in relation to it.  In recent years at the global level we have necessarily devoted much of our collective attention to the economic and political dynamics of our international network, and there remains much still to be done to put these on a strong and sustainable footing.  If we are to collaborate and support each other effectively to have impact at the global level, however, it will be the cultural dynamic that mobilises and sustains us in doing so. Details of ICA’s Social Process triangles can be found in ICA Canada’s ‘The Courage To Lead’.

We were all asked to write a few lines of text for Winds & Waves before we closed the meeting.  Reflections included:

  • Good time together, Stronger connection with ICA Europe. Practical actions to take forward. Thank you for coming! – Lan, Paris
  • Saturday I went to Paris and participated in part of the European Interchange. It was really a very inspiring day, lots of interesting project and nice to meet people from UK, Spain and France. Quite a lot is actually happening in France, very interesting! – Elisabeth, Luxembourg
  • First of all, I’m very glad and pleased to be in my first ICA European Interchange. It was really exciting and very interesting, gathering where we could know about each other in a personal and professional level. The most exciting point is that we created a great network in order to collaborate and participate all together.  There were a lot of new ideas and projects that were born in this gathering! I’m looking forward to start co-operation with all ICA members – Iman, ICA Spain
  • As a recent ToP student/trainee, I was invited to join the participants of the ICA European Interchange meeting for the 3rd and last day. I was happy to hear what other chapters of ICA in Europe are up to, and to learn more about the story of the organisation, its mission and values. It was great being part of the conversation about the ways ICAs could co-operate. We came up with practical ideas. I’m looking forward to sharing more ideas and insights with other ICA members throughout Europe – Lorraine, Paris
  • We had fun hanging out, building and sustaining relationships. We learned from and were inspired by each other. We made practical and realistic plans to keep doing things together and supporting each other – Alan, ICA:UK
  • It has been a very inspiring Paris gathering. Key information shared and reviewed for well-informed future decisions on a European and international level. Key questions raised about our mission and values beside the added value of ToP in our network. Great step in having ICAI’s ‘Plan de Trabajo’ in different languages! Very nice having French colleagues joining on Sunday and letting all of us refresh and learn more about ICA and our history – Catalina, ICA Spain
  • It was very interesting to see so much enthusiasm for learning and exchange in Europe for ICA values and ToP methods. Nice to see concrete actions coming out of three days of talking! – Shelley, ICA:UK
  • A very positive and action-oriented ICA Europe gathering in Paris.  Good to meet new people and look to the future – Derek, ICA:UK
  • A great day with wide open minds and ideas to contribute to an enthusiastic human-oriented project! With enthusiastic people and a lot of energy. Big action plan and quite exciting possibilities
  • Meeting nice people. Impressed by the process to handle the implementation part of the meeting. Long way to go…

Many thanks indeed to Lan and everyone for a great event!

Anyone wishing to connect with the ICA European network is invited to email ICAEurope-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

ICA International Board update, March 2013

ICAI Global BuzzThis post was first published in ICAI’s monthly bulletin, the Global Buzz.

The ICAI Board has met three times in January & February. Much of our time has been spent developing our new 2013-14 business plan, in consultation with numerous members and volunteers.  This is now about to be circulated in English, French & Spanish – please ask if you would like a copy, and please let us know if you have any questions or feedback.  In the process of these meetings we we have been establishing our meeting practices, including use of technology and formats of agendas, reports and minutes.

We have been able to use the @ica-international.org domain to establish new ICAI email addresses for all Board members and an email list for the Board.  We have now also established an ICAI email list for the global network of ICAs, with over 100 ICA represenatives in over 40 countries, to facilitate dialogue among and between ICAs.  Having overcome some technical hurdles, we are now in a position to establish lists also for the conference teams wishing to continue their dialogue by email after the Nepal conference.

We have submitted overdue reports in order to maintain and update ICAI’s UN consultative status with ECOSOC, and we have confirmed that ICAI’s consultative status remains valid with FAO and UNESCO as well.

We have agreed with ICA Nepal to make it’s new book Changing Lives Changing Societes available globally on a print-on-demand basis via Amazon and other channels, and will be arranging that soon.  In the meantime copies are available from the USA via Ebay.

We are now making preparations to survey the network over the coming months in order to update basic data on the current status and activities of ICAs worldwide, as a baseline for further supporting peer-to-peer activities within the network.  As we do that we will also be inviting ICAs to pay annual dues for 2013 to renew their membership with ICAI, and to participate in the first online regional gatherings of the year, on March 25-26.

Martin will be attending the ICA European Interchange in Paris, March 15-17, and hosting online sessions for those who would like to connect virtually – if you are interested to do that please contact Martin.

We are also beginning to work with ICA Canada to prepare the annual audit report for 2012.

Transformational Strategy: Facilitation of ToP Participatory Planning

Transformational Strategy - coverNow available worldwide from Amazon, as well as directly from ICA Associates in Canada.

Author Bill Staples gave us a sneak preview of this new book from ICA Associates at the ICAI Global Conference on Human Development in Kathmandu last October.

The Art of Focused Conversation and the Workshop Book, authored by Brian Stanfield of ICA Associates, covered the two foundational methods of ICA’s Technology of Participation (ToP) facilitation methodology.  This new book covers the ToP Participatory Strategic Planning method in similar depth – from the history and development of the method through to the theory and practice, including numerous case studies.

Much anticipated by ToP facilitators everywhere, this book will be of immense value to all those who are looking for ways to mobilise the transformational power of shared commitment to create their desired future.

And if reading the book is not enough for you, it is not (quite!) too late to register for the ICA:UK Participatory Strategic Planning course that I shall be leading myself next week in London.  See you there!

Changing Lives Changing Societies

Changing Lives Changing SocietiesICA’s experience in Nepal and in the world

ISBN 993725358-1 – Edited by Tatwa P. Timsina and Dasareth Neupane

[June 2013: now available online via Amazon and other retailers]

The Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) is a global network of non-profit organisations advancing human development worldwide. This new book, published by ICA Nepal, was launched at ICA’s 8th Global Conference on Human Development in Kathmandu in October.  The book and the conference were among a series of initiatives celebrating ICA’s 50th anniversary in 2012. The Table of Contents and Preface may be downloaded here.

Editor Tatwa Timsina is Chair of ICA Nepal and former President of ICA International, and an Associate Professor of Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu. Tatwa and his co-editor Dasareth Neupane, and the many ICA colleagues from around the world who have contributed as authors, have done a great service to ICA’s global mission with this book.  It should be required reading for all those involved with ICA worldwide, as we seek to renew and strengthen our global network and extend our global impact through peer-to-peer collaboration.  It should be required reading also for all those who share ICA’s concern ‘for the human factor in world development’.  Facilitators, development practitioners and policy makers alike may benefit from the 50 years of collective experience that have contributed to these inspiring stories – stories of practical approaches that work in changing lives and changing societies, through facilitating change with people, in communities and in organisations.

Bill Staples of ICA Associates in Canada opens the book with an overview of those 50 years of ICA experience in human development worldwide. In doing so he traces the roots of ICA’s ‘Technology of Participation’ (ToP).  This powerful suite of facilitation methods and tools is perhaps the most visible manifestation of ICA’s shared philosophy, values and approach, in what has become a diverse global network with an equally diverse range of programmes and activities.

Robertson Work, former global policy advisor with the UN Development Programme in New York and keynote speaker at the Nepal conference, draws on social philosophy, systems analysis and many years of worldwide experience.  He shares an approach to transformative leadership and innovative governance that builds on Ken Wilber’s integral theory, Jean Houston’s Social Artistry and ICA’s ToP facilitation methodology.

Larry Philbrook, Director of ICA Taiwan and also former President of ICA International, describes awakenment, engagement and formation as three core strategies for human development at the individual level – about living a disciplined life of choice.  He describes facilitation as a pathway to such individual transformation, as well as to organisational and social transformation. Bill Staples goes on to outline perhaps the most powerful of the suite of ToP methods, known as Participatory Strategic Planning, and its human developmental impact at both the individual and social level*.

Following chapters describe the practical experience and profound impact of facilitation and human development around the world, in a variety of contexts representing the diversity of ICA’s global network.  Among these, Ana Maria Urrutia tells the story of ICA Chile’s Participative Leaders Training Programme with young people with and without disabilities in Santiago. Catalina Quiroz and Luz Marina Aponte relate ICA Spain’s experience of virtual facilitation with worldwide religious groups to promote more collaborative planning and working practices. Terry Bergdall of ICA USA draws on experience in Africa and elsewhere to describe ICA’s participatory approach within the contextual framework of Asset Based Community Development.  Jonathan Dudding draws on worldwide experience to reflect on the potential and limitations of ICA’s ToP facilitation methods in addressing conflict, and how this has contributed to the work of ICA:UK and partners in developing the innovative new Kumi method for conflict transformation in the Middle East.  Jan Sanders, Tatwa Timsina et al share the experience of ICA Nepal’s Decentralised Transformative Approach to HIV & AIDS in partnership with UNDP, UNAIDS and others.  Mohammad Azizur Rahman and Md Mohsin Ali of ICA Bangladesh reflect on the experience and implications of ToP methods in learning and research in Bangladesh. Tatwa Timsina and Kushendra Mahat reflect on ICA Nepal’s experience of the Civil Society Index action research project in Nepal, and its role in development and democratisation. Wayne Ellsworth describes ICA Japan’s approach to awareness, education and transformation in humanitarian emergency situations in Chile, Haiti, Cote D’Ivoire, Aceh, Japan and elsewhere.

Even after reading regularly of many of these initiatives in recent years in ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz and quarterly magazine Winds and Waves, and after learning of them directly from colleagues at the Nepal conference and otherwise, I was profoundly impacted by reading this book.  After 25 years of involvement with ICA worldwide, I found myself almost as excited by these stories as I was by the stories of ICA’s worldwide network of Human Development Projects that I first encountered as an international volunteer in the 1980s. Certainly the same philosophy, values and approach shine through, although the practicalities of implementation may have changed as much as the world around us has changed since then.  The internet is a case in point. Although there have been numerous books authored by ICA colleagues in recent years*, I think there has been no such global compendium to illustrate the scope and depth of ICA’s experience and approach since Beyond Prince and Merchant – launched at ICA’s 4th Global Conference on Human Development in Cairo in 1996, ‘the Rise of Civil Society in the 21st Century’.  I hope to make it a responsibility of the new ICAI Board to help to ensure that this one is widely read.

That being said, readers should be forewarned that the structure and style of the 20 chapters are almost as diverse as the authors and the contexts of their experience.  The quality of reproduction of the photographs, and some minor typos particularly in the opening chapters, might I hope be addressed in a second edition for worldwide distribution by a print-on-demand service such as Lightning Source.

Read the book yourself, and please let us know what you think!

* Transformational Strategy: Facilitation of ToP Participatory Planning by Bill Staples is also recently published and now available from Amazon, and directly from ICA Associates.

Reflections on a term as IAF Chair

the International Association of FacilitatorsThis post was first published in the IAF newsletter the Global Flipchart, January 2013.

After a little over four years on the IAF Board and a two year term as Chair, my term is now over.  I have had a tremendous time – I have learned a lot, and I have very much enjoyed working closely with many talented and dedicated colleagues among our membership. I am delighted to have passed on the baton to our very capable new Chair Kimberly Bain, along with the symbol that was passed on to me by my predecessor Gary Rush two years ago – a beautiful glass globe engraved with the IAF logo.

I would like to share some of things I find myself proud of and sorry about, as I reflect on my term and on the accomplishments of the Board, and of IAF as a whole, relative to the Board’s strategic priorities for these last two years.  These were:

  1. Marketing & Communications ( branding, online and regional) to position IAF as ‘the International Association’ for professional facilitators and all those who have an interest in facilitation
  2. Increased member retention and membership growth, particularly through chapter development & support and transformation of affiliation to new partnership relationships
  3. Diversification of income sources for financial strength & sustainability
  4. Growth & diversification of certification programmes, to strengthen global pathways to CPF
  5. Good governance & management, including succession planning and role definition

I am proud that we have the new Board role of Marketing & Partnerships Director to bring a new emphasis to this priority area, and that the new Board is embarking on this New Year with that post filled and with marketing as a central and cross-cutting theme in its business planning.  I am sorry that the role remained vacant for most of last year, and that we have not been able to invest as much energy in repositioning IAF as we had planned.

I am proud of the much improved visitor experience of the new IAF website introduced two years ago.  I am sorry that the functionality of the membership database behind the new website has proven inadequate to our needs, and that this has been an obstacle to serving our members as well and as easily as we would like.

I am proud that total membership has increased slightly over the past two years, in spite of severe economic recession in parts of the world where many of our members are located – we have 1,269 members today as compared with 1,210 at the end of 2010.  I am sorry that we have yet to attract back or replace many former members – the total was 1,453 when I joined the Board in October 2008.

I am proud that IAF chapters have seen such growth these past two years, after development of the model had taken such great investment of Board time and attention the previous two.  Since the first IAF chapter was established in 2010 the Board has approved 18 new chapters around the world and many more are in development, and local activity and membership are growing in many places as a direct result.  I am sorry that we are still not yet as clear as we would like on the principles and the practicalities of how local chapters and regional teams should expect to relate with each other and with IAF at the global level.

I am proud that IAF’s financial strength and sustainability are much improved, to the point that the Board is increasingly concerned by how to spend money wisely rather than how to conserve it.  I am sorry that income sources are not yet significantly diversified (they are still mainly membership dues, certification fees and to some extent conference surpluses), and that membership dues remain the only significant source of finance for membership services.

I am proud of the fantastic learning communities that IAF conferences continue to provide, and of the many successful and increasingly innovative conferences that have been held the past few years – not least the two that I attended myself last year in Halifax and in Geneva.  I am sorry that I did not manage to attend any IAF conferences as Chair in regions other than Europe and North America.

I am proud that the Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF) programme has grown to over 100 candidates assessed worldwide in 2012, as compared to 69 in 2009, and that the new recertification programme has now become well established these past two years.  I am proud that a model for accreditation of facilitation training programmes is now out for consultation among members and training providers.  I am sorry that certification is still available only in English and Dutch, and that the cost of such a rigorous assessment process continues to be an obstacle for many.

In terms of governance, I am proud that IAF has completed its third year of online Board elections and now its first online Annual General Meeting, accessible to all members.  I am proud that the Board has been ready invest in a substantial face-to-face Board planning meeting early each year, and of the impact I think that has had on the culture and performance of the Board.  I am sorry that participation in this year’s election was so much reduced compared to the last two years – most likely I think as a result of problems with our email blast not reaching some members.

Most of all I am proud of the extraordinary talent and energy that is volunteered by so many of our fellow members every year in so many ways, for the advancement of our global profession and its social impact worldwide as well as for the learning and growth of ourselves and each other.  I thank you all.

In some ways I am sorry that my time on the Board is at an end.  I am looking forward to remaining an active member in other ways, however, and I am enjoying a major fall in my daily email traffic since transferring the IAF Chair’s account to Kimberly!

Also I am already enjoying many opportunities to apply learnings from my time on the IAF Board in my new volunteer role as President of ICA International, and as a newly independent CPF Facilitator, Trainer and Consultant as well. You can now find me at www.martingilbraith.com, and I look forward to staying in touch with fellow members online and I hope occasionally face to face.

I would welcome any reflections from you on changes that you’ve noticed in IAF in recent years, for better or for worse – you can reach me now at martin@martingilbraith.com.  I expect Kimberly and the Board will also welcome input and suggestions for their 2013 business planning meeting, taking place the week of 21 January in Tokyo – you can now reach Kimberly at my old address chair@iaf-world.org.  I wish them all the very best, with my support and confidence.