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Submitted by Sylviane Amiet on 10/06/20 – 13:19
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Letter from the Presidency                                                                                                                                                   

                                                   "Let's become the change we want to see"  
                                                                                           Mahatma Gandhi    
This last letter from the Presidency is a kind of legacy, a professional legacy dedicated to this International Federation of Modern School Movements (FIMEM) which has so much to offer but also has a lot of potential that has been little or poorly exploited.
After six years on its Board of Directors (BD), the time has come for "accounts/perspectives". I will therefore recall and share here some actions that have delighted, worried or disappointed me over the years. I will also take up some comments from Giancarlo Cavinato (Review of my last 6 years on the Board) and Pilar Fontevedra (Infor #65) because I share them and they are unfortunately still relevant.
As I have done throughout my term of office, it is on the internal functioning of FIMEM and its Board of Directors that I have focused my attention. The more our participation, mobilization and commitment are visible at this level, the more our external impact and influence will be unavoidable. considering that order, we can’t  make mistakes.
I will of course start with our stars... all our wonderful advancements that have " releasing the source " and "drawn" our "cooperation together".
 Since it is necessary, I will also propose wishes that the General Assembly (GA) and its Board of Directors (BD) will have to consider to find solutions for the coming years.
We are particularly proud of the 12 commissions that have already been launched and we would like to thank all those who have already committed themselves to them (often the same ones, however) for their countless contributions. Very appreciated!
Let us also acknowledge the extraordinary contribution of our group of "Wise Men" for their unfailing support. Without their in-depth knowledge of the functioning of the FIMEM, the Board, the accounting, the history, the reminder of the decisions taken,...), the continuity of the work would have been very difficult, if not impossible to ensure. All our gratitude and appreciation will be expressed in this Inf # 72.
We must also mention the international support team, which always displays "present" when the need to get involved is called into question. Since 2016, this spontaneous, talented and efficient team has been of great help before, during and after the Ridef   .
A shift towards more communication, efficiency and accountability has animated the Board in the recent years. An increasingly comprehensive set of organizational tools will hopefully facilitate the work of our successors.
The relaunch of old Fimem members and contacts with new countries have encouraged the creation of working groups that will eventually enlarge the Fimem family. We are delighted with this.
We have been more and more present in major international events by sending representatives of Fimem. We have also allocated financial aid to various training and research projects in the Freinet pedagogy.
Despite this good news, much remains to be done
The life of FIMEM is first and foremost the life of its movements. Their commitment is essential to the evolution and sustainability of Fimem. They still seem to us too silent and too little invested in their respective communities, with the other Movements and their Federation.
Fimem is much more than the Ridefs, much more than faithful and committed individuals; it requires Movements that support their members and make a contribution to their measure... however small it may be. Replying to emails would be a good start.
And the Board is not to be outdone: 3 resignations in 6 years.  Although stipulated in FIMEM's statutes, only one Movement suggested a replacement for their resigning member.
Unfortunately, it is often only after being elected that new members realize that the extent of work is difficult to reconcile with their professional, personal or family obligations. Each time this situation arises, the Board must take individualized steps to solicit volunteers and resume the distribution of files assigned to each. Sylviane Amiet (Switzerland) and Flor Zaldumbide (Mexico) joined the Board of Directors, respectively in 2014 and  the other in 2018. We thank them for their availability and motivation to contribute to the development of FIMEM and the smooth running of its Board.
Faced with this observation, which is often recurrent and always destabilizing, I hypothesize that the commitment, involvement, contribution and availability required for any administrative work within the Fimem, may not be sufficiently known, understood and accepted before the Movements nominate one of their own and the GA elects them.
As a result, it is often the case that taking charge of the work and the constant concern to move the work forward is based on only a few people.
As all attempts at solutions have been in vain, this problem was raised at the Dogbo GA. To my great surprise, the latter refused to enter into the matter. Is it not  the working of the class councils (here the GA) to welcome and deal with problems if the parties concerned have not succeeded in resolving the difficulty in a satisfactory way, upstream?
In 2020-2022, at the Canadian GA, only one elected member (Lanfranco) will remain who will continue his mandate on the Board until 2022. We hope that each Movement will pay special attention to the candidates they recommend to the GA because it is these people who will be responsible for managing and implementing the orientations that you entrust to your Board.
Of course, new candidates deserve time and effort after  their welcome and integration. At Ridef 2018, we invited future candidates to participate in the Monthly Skypes and work with us to prepare for the GA, 3 days before the opening of the Ridef. This opportunity was not seized in 2018 but will be repeated in 2020.
To move all files forward despite the distance and thus reduce the costs of live meetings, the Board has been holding monthly Skype meetings since 2014.
Unfortunately, we are almost never all online... connection difficulties, prioritization of other family problems, professional or personal commitments, health concerns,...
In addition, the rules of operation that are freely agreed, validated by all and repeated several times have little impact on behaviour. This made it difficult for us to deliver, in a satisfactory quality and within a reasonable time frame, the files for which we had accepted responsibility.
Despite the assistance, support, models and individualized accompaniment offered to the Ridef Organizing Committees, the last two Ridef (2016 and 2018) ended in a deficit. Huge gap between the energy granted and the results obtained.
I cannot conclude this letter without mentioning the course and structure of our GAs. In my opinion, it is necessary to rethink the way in which this key activity of Fimem is prepared and carried out. Leading large groups requires that the presidency of the Assembly has been given a greater share of procedural leadership. The operating mode should facilitate the expression and listening of all the contents contributed to the GA, within a reasonable time and to the satisfaction of the majority of the members.
The procedure suggested by the GA Presidency could therefore be prepared and proposed at the very beginning of the meeting. After validation (with or without modification), the presidency will thus be entitled to have it applied throughout the meeting. This procedural leadership of course has a service function and not an authority function.
This mode of operation could propose, among other things, that a delegate may not be appointed President of the Assembly, nor vote more than once on each proposal (e. g. one person, one vote).
I cannot conclude without affirming loud and clear the urgency of calling attention to the excessive discretion and almost inertia of several Member Movements of our Federation... especially between the Ridef.
To paraphrase the famous "How dare you? " Greta Thunberg's speech at the UN on climate change, I am launching today this urgent cry to all the Movements of our Federation so that each one of them can commit, to its own measure, to take concrete actions of communication, mobilization, training, support, accompaniment, promotion and fundraising with and for their members. The future of Fimem depends first and foremost on you!
A promising and sustainable future for FIMEM!
We'll talk about all this again in Canada, in 2020, it's an appointment!
Mariel Ducharme
President of FIMEM from 2016-2020,  Canada/Quebec - October 2019