HRF to present at the UN 30th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family

HRF to present at the UN 30th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family/International Day of Families observance

On 15 May, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family at its headquarters in New York. This year the panel discussions and presentations will focus on Families and Climate Change a theme that we have been working on with them and Nottingham Trent University (NTU) for more than a year: Home/Family and Climate Change.

In September 2023 we met at NTU with experts from across disciplines and from around the world to discuss how the Home can be ally in the face of climate emergencies. From that Expert Meeting, attended by Renata Kaczmarska UNDESA Focal Point on Families,  we produced an executive summary and a policy report that our director Gamal Abdelmonem will present at the International Day of Families on 15 May in New York.

Until then, we cannot give details of the policies proposed by our experts, but we can tell you that expert round tables will be held to discuss demographic trends, the intergenerational perspective, the sustainable design of cities, technology as an ally in the face of climate change and the role of governments, institutions and civil society in this task.

Among the associations and institutions invited to the debate are the Doha International Family Institute (DIFI), the International Federation for Family Development (IFFD), the Institute for Family Policy Analysis (IAPF), Generations United and the Consortium of Family Institutes in Asia (CIFA) among others.

It was an honour to accept this opportunity proposed by the United Nations and we are sure that the sessions on the Expert Group Meeting to be held on the 15th and 16th of May in which we will participate with the presentations of Prof. Gamal Abdelmonem and our CEO, Mercedes Jaureguibeitia will have a great impact.

Newsletter March 2024

Dear friend,

As Easter approaches we bring to a close the first quarter of 2024. We began the year with our AGM in London celebrating in person our Director Sophia Aguirre’s appointment as President of Catholic Distance University and our Director Gamal Abdelmonem’s new position as Chair of Architecture and the Founding Director of Research at York School of Architecture at the University of York.

Over the last few months, we have been working hard on the Executive Summary and Policy Report that we shall present on 15-16 May in New York at the UN Headquarters as a result of our Expert Meeting in Nottingham on Home and Climate Change.

We have confirmed the experts who will be part of our Expert Meeting ‘Nurturing Healthy Relationships at IESE Business School in Barcelona in July and we will soon share with you more information.

We also have the first draft of what will be our next book with Routledge on Home and Displaced People:  ‘The Search for Home among Forced Migrants and Refugees: People on the Move.’ We will soon be able to give you a launch date and further details.

In February, we had the opportunity to present our book ‘Happiness and Domestic Life’ at the European University Miguel de Cervantes in Valladolid and we went back to the classroom with 3rd degree students of International Relations at the European University of Valencia to explain how a think tank works and to introduce our research topics.Most recently we attended at the invitation of Nuria Chinchilla, Professor of Managing People in Organisations at IESE Business School, a session given at IESE in Madrid by Doctor in Education and Psychology Catherine L’ Ecuyer on educational currents that you can read here.

I hope to see you soon, as we continue to engage in this important work of giving a voice to households.

Warm regards,
Bryan K. Sanderson

Session with Catherine L’Ecuyer at IESE Business School

Have you ever wondered what lies behind the educational methods used in schools?

For example, are you one of those who defend an education based on training in basic skills and blind acceptance of what is transmitted by authority? Do you prefer your child to construct his or her own learning because he or she is a seed that does not need guidance and is therefore autonomous to learn by doing? Do you think that school is a place for the socialisation of its pupils but that there should be no intermediation since learning takes place through cooperative or project work, with the tablet as a tool to find answers? Do you believe in bilingualism and multiple intelligences above the subject/content? Do you choose the school for your children because of the social trends of the moment or do you prefer an education of unilateral direct instruction?

The answers to these questions are not simple; we are not talking about buying skimmed or whole milk, we are talking about a fundamental right. We are deciding for our children the philosophical stream in which they will be educated with its own methods of application. Therefore, finding answers requires reflection and discovering what lies behind these methodologies that may seem traditional or innovative but which lead us to a complex educational eclecticism.

At a meeting organised by Prof. Nuria Chinchilla at IESE, the Education expert Catherine L’Ecuyer presented a brief summary of the two philosophical currents that mark the current educational panorama: the behaviourist-mechanistic and the romantic-idealist based on constructivism. She suggests a third theory, realist-classical, centred on virtues that will allow us to achieve wisdom, in which the pupil undergoes a true transformation as a result of learning in which he or she is a co-protagonist alongside a teacher who is an authority insofar as he or she educates from truth and freedom.

To this end, the quality of teachers must be above all, advocate guided knowledge with prior instruction from the teacher and be based on the reading of the classics, and on a responsible use of technology. Her book ‘Conversaciones con mi maestra’ delves into the different currents explaining their origins and clears up doubts and certainties about education, at a time when the absence of reflection has given free rein to the witticisms of educational gurus who are allowed to play with such a transcendental reality as the school.

Home & Happiness: how we relate | Book Launch in Valladolid, Spain

A few days ago, we had the opportunity to present ‘Happiness and Domestic Life’ at the European University Miguel de Cervantes in the Spanish city of Valladolid. Three of their professors are authors of one of the chapters of the book and invited us to talk about Home and Happiness at their University.

Professor Raquel Martínez, PhD in Psychology and specialist in Positive Psychology, explained from this discipline that a person’s happiness or well-being is studied through different indicators that are proposed by different models, such as: self-acceptance, purpose in life, autonomy, personal growth, mastery of the environment, the ability to commit to oneself… But there is one that is repeated and that has to do with relationships.

Undoubtedly, how we relate to others is fundamental when it comes to assessing whether we are happy or not… Prof. Martínez stated that our future depends on how we learnt to build relationships at home. We will know how to relate, better or worse, depending on how we develop our attachment as children. Attachment is the affective bond that is formed in the first year of life thanks to our interaction with our caregivers or attachment figures. When attachment figures are unconditional and attend to the child’s needs, the child generates the expectation of being worthy of being loved and will build future relationships with security.

Professor Celia Martín, PhD in Business Organisation from the University of Valladolid and an expert in Human Resources, looked for parallels between the company and the home, understanding both as two key spheres in a person’s life and in which it would be essential for our happiness to achieve a positive natural transfer, i.e. that one nurtures the other and vice versa. Both cores are places of development for the person at different stages of life, both have very similar structures on a small and large scale. Moreover, nowadays, the boundaries of separation are becoming increasingly difficult to establish, so it would be great to transfer this human component from the home to the workplace.

On the other hand, one of the motivations that employees often value when choosing a company or staying with it is the personal relationships with their colleagues, superiors and the rest of the working environment. How are these relationships within the human group within a company? Is there communication, do we take care of each other, how is the support?

Elena Gordo and Ricardo Pindado, family delegates of the archbishopric of Valladolid, insisted that the home is the place where you are loved for who you are and where there is a keyword that does not understand percentages: dedication. Ricardo said that it is in the home that we learn to relate to each other, where we learn to give thanks, ask for forgiveness, respect others…

Finally, Prof. Joaquín Esteban PhD in Philosophy from the University of Salamanca and PhD in Theory of Education from the University of Valladolid, reflected on the current concept of home… and compared the sedentary, restful, timeless home with the new ‘liquid homes’ we find today, in which everything is the fruit of speed, in which there is no timeline and it is more difficult to put down roots.

The ‘liquid home’ is what anthropologists call the “non-place”, modules of connections, but not prepared for nesting, for inhabiting. If we think of the house, a house is not a home, unless it is a lived-in house. But what is living? Is it biological inertia? The house has to be hospitable for the sacred essence of human life to be realised. But is it necessary to build to inhabit, or is inhabiting prior to building?

We shall soon be devoting a whole post to the contribution of philosopher Joaquin Estaban, to this important debate to discover an increasingly predominant reality that is worth exploring in depth.

Nurturing Healthy Relationships

Newsletter Dec 2023

Dear friends,

It seems like only yesterday that we were in Rome presenting our latest book , but a year has gone by. A year full of activities, research, new projects and reports.

A year in which we have presented the first conclusions of the study we are carrying out with ICWF, with whom we shall hold our next Experts Meeting in Barcelona in 2024.

A year in which the draft of our next publication ‘The Search for Home among Forced Migrants and Refugees: People on the Move‘ was successfully presented to Routledge, so that in spring of next year we shall have a new book to launch.

A year in which, at the request of the United Nations, we teamed up with Nottingham Trent University to investigate how homes can be allies in the face of climate emergencies. The report resulting from the dialogue between more than 10 experts will be the cornerstone of the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Families in New York next May.

A year in which we have asked ourselves over again in the directors’ meetings what we do, how we do it and what impact it has. We are sure that we are on the right track with our vision which has sustained HRF for almost 20 years now, but we would like to see a still wider and greater interest in households by other institutions and social agencies.

So in 2024, we will continue working so that more people get to know us because it is clear to us that without stable homes society does not move forward. Together we are stronger as champions of the home!

I hope you can enjoy a few days of rest with your family and in your home this Christmas and that 2024 will allow us opportunities to meet as a part of the many plans we have for the coming year,

Warm regards,

Bryan K. Sanderson

Please, nominate us!

In conversation with… Rosa Lastra

HRF & NTU & UN Experts Meeting in Nottingham

Newsletter September 2023

Dear friend,

Greetings to you all from Nottingham. This newsletter, the third of the year, finds us at the beginning of one of the most important events of 2023 for our Foundation, the Expert Meeting ‘Home, Family and Climate Change’.

A year ago, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs contacted us to commission a report to serve as a reference in the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Families (IYF+30). This day has been celebrated since 1994 every 15 May with sessions and round tables at the UN headquarters in New York.

With our director Professor Gamal Abdelmonem and his institution, Nottingham Trent University, as a partner, we have organised two days of meetings in which experts will discuss, based on their research, how households can be allies in combating the climate emergencies we are facing. More than 15 experts from different disciplines, from Europe, the United States and Asia are meeting from today to provide answers to the great unknowns that we are facing. You can see their profiles here.

Next week’s Be Home Blog post will highlight the main ideas and little by little throughout this quarter we will be unpacking the most significant conclusions.

From this third quarter of the year, we are very proud to announce that our director Sophia Aguirre, distinguished Ordinary Professor of Economics and researcher in the field of finance, family, and economic development, was appointed President of Catholic Distance University on July 1, 2023. Dr Aguirre has been part of our board since HRF began. She led our latest Expert Meeting in Washington on Home and Displaced People. She has also participated in several conferences and contributed to our publications. We congratulate her and wish her well in her new role.

In these summer months, we have continued to work to give the home a voice. In July we participated in the Tenth Congress on Family and Work at IESE. Dr Stephen Davies, representing HRF, presented our book ‘Happiness and Domestic Life’ and shared his expertise on the architectural evolution of the home in relation to social trends.

Our Communications Manager Ángela de Miguel attended the Conference on Care, People and Society celebrating the 25th anniversary of the International University of Catalonia. Please see here to revisit the post we published on this event. 

Taking advantage of the excellent climate of the city and the generosity of our directors, we met in Barcelona to discuss issues and establish the pillars to make this Expert Meeting, which starts today both a successful event and a significant contribution to IYF+ 30.

The years may go by but at Home Renaissance Foundation we have the same enthusiasm and the same desire to put homes at the centre of the story. Last month I reflected on what motivates me to continue leading an institution like this, which you can read here.

Wishing you and your families a good and fruitful autumn,

Bryan K. Sanderson

Family and Media | Does technology help or inhibit the development of children´s five sense? See here: Article 
McNight’s Senior Living | Live-in intergenerational programs combat loneliness, ageism, study finds. See here the article