Newsletter July 2024

Dear friends,

We are already at the gates of summer, but before enjoying a few days of rest, we at HRF have an important engagement, our sixth Experts Meeting ‘Nurturing Healthy Relationships at Home and Work’ this time in Barcelona at the IESE Business School on 8 -9 July.

This will be a joint meeting with the International Centre for Work and Family and the Social Trends Institute which provides the funding for the project. The aim is to explore with invited academic and professional experts the contribution of home to the workplace and the ways in which these mutual relationships can be fostered. Here is the Program. 

But let´s review the work done in the last months, you will find below details and content.

HRF AT THE UNITED NATIONS. We are very grateful for our presence at the United Nations to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the family with the opening speech of our director Professor Gamal Abdelmonem and the participation of our CEO Mercedes Jaureguibeitia. Reports, Videos and Pictures

HRF AT THE HOUSE OF LORDS. At the same time, but in the UK, our Director of Development, Susan Peatfield attended a discussion opened by the think tank Civitas at the House of Lords on parenting and the need for parents to receive help in this vital role.
Read the whole debate here

HRF ON TELEVISION. And, our Head of TV Communications talking about the importance of the home in the development of the person with the President of Aldeas Infantiles on the Spanish channel TRECE.
Click on here to watch the Tv Program

In our website we have two new working papers already published: 

1. Care in the Home, Care of the Common Home, presented by Mercedes Jaureguibeitia at the United Nations.  Read More

2. The Home: Places, Relationships and Care, written by Prof. Antonio Argandoña and recently published in the VII Best Practices Guide of the Family and Business Reconciliation Centre (CONFyE) of IAE Business School in Argentina.  Read the Paper 

May I take this opportunity to thank you for your continuing interest and support and to wish you and your families a very happy and restorative summer.

Kind regards,

Bryan K. Sanderson, CBE

HRF and ICWF Joint Expert Meeting

On 8 and 9 July in Barcelona, the Home Renaissance Foundation will hold its sixth Expert Meeting ‘Nurturing Healthy Relationships at Home and Work’ this time in partnership with the International Center Work and Family of the IESE Business School and the Social Trends Institute, which also provides the funding for the project.

The aim is to answer the questions of how the home plays a distinctive positive role in equipping people for the relational demands and opportunities of working life, and how these can be harnessed and nurtured. The intention is to hold an Expert Meeting to identify and discern the best ways to support and connect these mutually beneficial healthy relationships at home and at work.

Led by Prof. Mireia Las Heras, Prof. Yasin Rofcanin and Prof. Marc Grau, ten experts from six countries and different research areas will be invited to contribute to:

  1. Draw together evidence of how, within the home, personal and social virtues are fostered to build positive relationships.
  2. Examine how these attitudes and relational skills contribute beneficially to the culture of workplace settings and business expectations.
  3. Design practical instruments and interventions to nurture and enable the maximum mutual benefits of positive relational development at work and home.


On this occasion and due to the close relationship that this topic has with the professional field, two Endesa-Enel staff members will participate in this Experts Meeting as observers during the two days to get a real and tangible view of this merging of spheres in the debate.

More details shortly.

HRF participates in a Civitas event at House of Lords

On Wednesday, May 15th, our development director Susan Peatfield attended a Civitas event organised at the House of Lords to start up a public conversation about parenting. It was also overdue as the issues and research data discussed at the meeting spelt out in the open, as it were, a situation that has been self-evident for decades. There has been, and remains, a political reluctance at touching the role of parents. It is both encouraging and depressing that as some choices and behaviours are increasingly understood as having a measurably deleterious effect on children that this public conversation can be held.

Civitas is to be commended for commissioning the School Readiness Survey by Kindred Squared, to add research weight to the argument.

In summary, the survey of over 1000 teachers and 1000 parents revealed what many in the teaching and care professions have been aware of for many years. Too many children are behind before they begin Reception:

  • 46% of children are unable to sit still
  • 38% find it hard to play/share with other children
  • 37% are unable to listen or respond to basic instructions
  • 37% are unable to dress independently
  • 25% are not toilet trained

Alongside many findings comes this figure: 69% of school staff think parents should receive more guidance to help them understand their child’s development.

At the session, sponsored by Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts CBE, each member of the panel gave a short account of their context and their response to how best to support parents and prepare children. Broadly it was accepted that action is needed. No one present believed that continuing the current laissez-faire approach to parental responsibilities was possible or desirable. Given that, there were varying responses:

Baroness Blower cited the declining number of health visitors, the cost of living crisis and the closure of family-support centres as having a major contribution to the survey’s findings.

Keith Reed championed raising parents awareness of the critical developmental needs of children. His organisation, the Parent-Infant Foundation, has recently published A Manifesto for Babies, aimed at parents, to address the decline on child health and development.

Fiona Gillespie of Kindred Squared explained how her organisation’s research on school readiness is only one line of inquiry on the need for parental understanding. She welcomes projects from other interested organisations to add more survey data to the debate.

From the floor questions and statements underlined the variety of concerned groups and their specific insights. These included Anne Fennell, Chair of Mothers at Home Matter, who questioned successive government’s determination to provide childcare outside the home rather than making it economically viable for a parent to remain at home during their children’s vital early years.

Dr Samantha Callan OBE, described the work of the Family Hubs Network to support parents in gaining both support and guidance.

Miriam Cates MP summarised the current situation as one where the old model of parenting being “caught not taught” no longer operates. Smaller families, family breakdown, misapprehensions about family life have all contributed to this. Parents do need guidance on how to be parents, as the “osmosis” effect is no longer an option for many families.

Sally-Ann Hart MP explained her Private Member’s Bill she is putting through parliament: the Bill is intended to support a baby’s cognitive, emotional and physical development during the 1,001 critical days from pregnancy up the age of two, by making support information available easier to access.

Home Renaissance Foundation has a distinctive voice and vision to offer to this debate. HRF’s perspective is the need for the reskilling of the home with an emphasis on childcare and child development. For many reasons, as discussed during this event, the home has been deskilled and parents are less confident in how to best make a home that nurtures all its members, including the youngest and most vulnerable.

At HRF we are determined to continue this conversation and to add our experience of training for excellence in the home – the first steps to a healthier, happier and better prepared next generation.

Homes are the solution

HRF at the United Nations. The day came. 15 May 2024. The United Nations celebrated the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Families at its headquarters in New York and we attended the big party. Two days full of working sessions, presentations, data, arguments, debates with a clear conclusion: The family and the home are the solution to the problems facing society today.
Discussion of climate challenge does not describe a hopeful scenario, crises follow one after the other and it seems that people are forced to survive in a world in which instability and uncertainty seem to be the norm. In recent years we have seen: demographic crisis, educational crisis, climate crisis, housing crisis, geopolitical crisis.
As we know, people need a stable climate for their development, they need security, permanence, certainty and hope. All this is possible in the environment of a stable home and a strong and solid family. That was the aim of the different organisations, academics and policy makers gathered at 42nd Street 1st Avenue, to put on the table the vital importance of taking care of families and to suggest policies that protect and promote households.
Human beings are resilient and throughout history, we have managed to overcome the various challenges that have arisen. Foresight is key and so is knowing and caring for the environment.
From the Home Renaissance Foundation and after months of work, we present our proposals. Prof. Gamal Abdelmonem opened the day with the results of our Experts Meeting and the policies suggested by our experts.
Our CEO Mercedes Jaureguibeitia closed the two days with a presentation on the ethics of care, putting people at the centre, making them participants in the world in which they live, a common home for all, and proposing the home as an ally in the face of climate emergencies.


HRF on television

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