Conference celebrates Year of the Family anniversary

Organizers of the bi-annual meeting of the International Federation for Home Economics (IFHE) want people to know that the study of home economics is alive and well. In fact, 200 people are congregating at Brescia University College until July 24 to discuss the health of the profession in lively discussions and presentations and to hear a well-known keynote speaker.

Shirley Jones and Joanne Mackie, co-chairs of the IFHE Council Organizing Committee 2014, say of their attempt to reshape people’s view of Home Economics.

“When people ask me what my profession is, their eyes frequently glaze over when I tell them that I am a home economist. Or they tell me that they didn’t know that home economists were still around,” Jones said. “At the IFHE this year, conference delegates will meet in the glorious new Clare Hall at Brescia University College to learn from 60 research presenters at the symposium, attend meetings to decide on the direction of the organization itself and meet old and new friends.

“And through their lively dialogue they will be proving the relevancy of home economics today.”

This is only the second time that Canada has hosted the IFHE. Ottawa played host in 1976.

This summer’s gathering has special meaning under the theme The 20th Anniversary of the Year of the Family. In 1982, the Canadian delegation to the IFHE Council presented a resolution that IFHE recommend to the United Nations that they designate an International Year of the Family. Ultimately, the UN approved the resolution and designated 1994 as the International Year of the Family.

The visiting Home Economists from 26 countries include practicing or retired teachers at the elementary, secondary or tertiary levels; graduate students; dietitians and food scientists; business owners; and family resource, hospitality and institutional managers.

Alicia Garcia, Foods and Nutrition Divisional chair at Brescia, brought greetings from Brescia to the assembled delegates. Renata Kaczmarska, a spokesperson on family issues for the UN Secretariat in New York, gave the opening address.