President’s Welcome in Pescara

Welcome everyone–

My name is Richard Beck, and I’m the President of our 21st IAGP Hybrid Congress.

Quite a journey for everyone these past four years, right? It is an honor to welcome everyone, both Online and In Person, to our very first hybrid Congress.

Groups for the World: Inspiration, Strength and Transformation.

IAGP is both ‘nimble’ and resilient!

We were scheduled to have our 21st Congress in 2021 in Vancouver, Canada, but the Corona Virus Pandemic had other plans for the world, not just IAGP. Allow me to thank some people for their hard work in putting together this complex event.
Our chairs, Mona Rakhawy and Cristina Martinez-Taboada deserve recognition for their dedication and competency in their roles.
Our consultants, Ingrid Sochtig and Esther Stone, Maurizio Gausseau and Eva Fahlstrom Borg have guided us through this process.
Our scientific committee and it’s members deserve a huge round of applause for their dedication to the enormous task that they undertook, even before the pandemic created the extra burden of the complexity of hybridity.
Our volunteers, coordinated by Letizia Musto and Drs. Daniela Simmons and Adriana Pitebarg, and the Rakhawy Institute, deserve much gratitude for the work that they will do for our online attendees.
The glue that held our scientific committees and our professional congress organizer, who has had the task of helping to coordinate everything both on line and in person, is Letizia Musto,
My life partner, Letizia and her son Alle’s work behind the scenes has been monumental and essential, deserves everyone’s appreciation as well as applause.

IAGP is most grateful to Carlo Masci, the Mayor of Pescara, for his generous support of our Congress.

Allow me also to publicaly thank Vincenzo D’Incecco, a Member of the City Council for his generous support of our Congress.
The President of the Regional Order of the Psychologists, Mr Enrico Perilli also needs to be recognized for his support of our Congress.
Let me also thank Alessio Sangiuliano, a Board Member of ROP and Vice President of the Local Organizing Committee.

Also, please let us also thank Licio Di Biase, the Director of the Aurum, for the use of the Aurum for our Congress

Last but certainly not lease, allow us all to thank Mimmo Agresta, the chair of the LOC for his tireless work in putting together the best onsite venue possible for our experience here in Pescara!

Grazie to all.

Allow me now to welcome and thank our Congress faculty, both online and here in Pescara. Their dedication, skill and wisdom will be felt long after our Pre-Congress and Congress are over.

Finally, let me thank all of you, our attendees here in Pescara, and our attendees on line, for attending and participating in this unique event.

We need each other.
We learn from each other.
We teach each other.
We share in our common humanity our belief in the beauty and power of helping people using the modality of groups.
Each and every one of us, whether attending this Congress online or in Pescara, is an important component of the tapestry of this event.

The very title of our Congress was a group effort in it’s evolution and creation.

Groups for the World: Inspiration, Strength and Transformation.

Your entire board worked on coming up with the best title, to capture our hope, not only for IAGP, not only for the world, but for each and everyone here in person and online.

We want you to find your inspiration, your strength as you transform your understanding of group therapy and group processes by attending, conducting or participating in the experiences you have chosen.

When I give my President’s report at the beginning of our General Assembly, I’ll go into more detail about the accomplishments of your board of directors during these past two intense years!

We are all indebted to the hard work of so many people.

We even were able to create our first Transcultural Book, under the leadership of Drs. Marcia Honig and Cristina Martinez-Taboada. Hope you enjoy reading this unique and precious book, a labor of love of all our authors and editors.

Let’s all say with pride that we attended the IAGP 2022 Hybrid Congress, either online or in Pescara and that we had wonderful experiences, with extraordinary human beings from around the world, just like our own version of the United Nations, only we are all united in our belief in the goodness of how groups can help people… how our theme Groups for the World: Inspiration, Strength and Transformation is more than a title.. is more than words, it represents our belief and hope for the future.. the future of IAGP, the future of the world for humanity.

Let us all to be open to find our strength and inspiration, and to help others find theirs as well,. Let us all to be transformed as a result of our choice to attend and participate in this Congress… and to know that ‘together we are better’… regardless of our clinical or organizational theoretical orientations ‘together we are better’

We have traveled together for the last four years, our term extended an extra year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

There is much for all of us to look back on and take pride in.

With respect to our Congress, it has been a true group effort by so many hard working, dedicated people that will culminate in everyone, in person or online, having the very best possible experience.

The amount of work that has gone into organizing the details of our hybrid congress is astronomical.
Four years working together;
four years learning to listen to, communicate and better understand each other;
four years to accomplish goals that were set out after our brief first meeting in Malmo and then our first full board meeting in Georgia.

What do I want everyone in Pescara listening to me speak in person; everyone on Zoom listening to me speak; and every IAGP member who can now hear my President’s Welcome?

Allow me to repeat the question. What do I want everyone in Pescara listening to me speak in person; everyone on Zoom listening to me speak; and every IAGP member who can now hear my President’s Welcome?
I want everyone to know that we have all worked very hard in the service of our members. Simple as that.

We have all worked very hard in the service of our members.
Nothing more… nothing less!

Throughout the past four years, in Keynotes around the world, I always mention how I’m not a psychodramist or a group analyst.
Just a few weeks ago, I was invited to give a keynote address by zoom for the second Balkan conference in psychodrama, sociodrama and other action methods with the topic of ‘the little prince and his magical journey to the universe’.

In that keynote, I stated:
What do I hope everyone takes away from listening to my Keynote address?
How we all need each other.. and depend on each other, in healthy, mature adult ways… in life, in groups, in the universe we live in!
Imagine the basic human need for connection we all have!

Groups supply those to us…

One of my mentors during my training in Analytic Group Therapy in New York City – NOT PSYCHODRAMA.. NOT ACTON METHODS,.. BUT TALK THERAPY… taught me that GOOD GROUP THERAPISTS ARE MORE ALIKE THAN NOT…

Colleagues, the same applies to all of us here at this Congress… that good group therapists and organizational consultants are more alike than not, regardless of theoretical orientation, regardless of country of origin or the language we speak.

In my recent Balkan keynote, i shared that-
We need and depend on each other, right? Action methods, non-action methods, I don’t think it matters how we think about leading groups… (and here in my President’s Welcome, allow me to add.. how we lead organizations) we need each other…
It is ok to need each other… it is ok to depend on each other… it is ok to lean on each other … and be leaned on for support, for comfort, for nourishment in return.
Same applies to have we have worked together on our IAGP Board for the past four years, dear colleagues –
Allow me to share a little more from that keynote, because it directly applies to all of us here in Pescara-

“Ironic, isn’t it, that someone who heads up the universe that is IAGP is neither a psychodramatist nor a group analyst… but I am a human being who simply believes deeply in the marrow of my bones, in the power and beauty of human beings helping other human beings in the modality of group!

We all have so much to offer each other… to give each other … to learn from each other … if our ears, hearts and minds are open to listening to ‘THE OTHER’

ALLOW ME TO REPEAT THIS.. BECAUSE IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT…
We all have so much to offer each other… to give each other .. to learn from each other … if our ears, hearts and minds are open to listening to ‘THE OTHER’
OUR DIFFERENCES CAN UNITE US AND NOT DIVIDE US.
HOW WE UNDERSTAND AND EXPERIENCE OUR DIFFERENCES IS THE KEY.
ARE WE OPEN TO FULLY HEARING ‘EACH OTHER’…
AND also LEARNING FROM OUR DIFFERENCES AS WELL AS Our SIMILARITIES.

THAT ACTION TAKES PLACE IN OUR HEARTS, OUR MINDS AND IN OUR SOULS.

A little more from that Balkan keynote:

For those of you who read the emails on the IAGP Exchange List RECENTLY, you might have seen a photo of me with two women from the United Nations to see how IAGP can be of help to UN staff around the world with their mental health needs! What I didn’t share on the Exchange List was that Therese Fitzpatrick, originally from Melbourne, Australia, is responsible for the GLOBAL SUPPORT OF UN STAFF’S MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES AROUND THE WORLD
AND THAT Kalhari Hewage, the other woman in the photo, HAS REGIONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR UN STAFF’S MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, INCLUDING THOSE IN THE UKRAINE… NOW.. DURING THE WAR THERE…

Therese wrote the following to me recently.

Allow me to share with everyone now with great pride:

Dear Richard,
It was lovely to meet you!
Thank you for all of this information. I will consider collaboration opportunities for any future projects and initiatives.
Wishing you a lovely July 4 weekend.

Warm regards,
Therese

With respect to the UN,
IAGP member from Turkey, DENIZ ALTINAY wrote this on our exchange list:

“Dear Richard,

We always support you for all these initiatives that Jorge
started and now you continue for UN and IAGP relationships.
If an action is just, sincere and genuine, it always gets the worth it deserves.
The important thing for IAGP is that we get positions and opportunities where we can offer help for mankind.

May luck be on your side.

Luck and good preparation are on our side!
Now we wait as the UN knows IAGP, knows what we can offer their staff around the world, and they can figure out how the UN can partner in a meaningful way with IAGP.

Here is the passage from the Little Prince that I’ll conclude my Presidents Welcome with:

To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of vou. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, vou will be unique in all the world. To vou, I shall be unique in all the world. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life . I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down vonder?
I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the colour of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when vou have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat…” The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time. “Please, tame mel” he said.
We are all humans among humans…
Our time on this earth is limited

NOBODY KNOWS HOW MANY HEARTBEATS WE WILL HAVE.

To everyone who hears the sound of my voice… please know that we all need each other, as human beings living on planet earth…
May this CONGRESS, enrich OUR hearts as souls as WE learn from each other,
lean on each other,
support each other
and then begin to say our goodbyes to each other…

Let’s all make memories that decades from now, we will be able to remember and share with family, friends and colleagues.
Let’s make memories here in Pescara and online that will last a lifetime!

Welcome everyone, to our 21st IAGP Hybrid Congress.

It’s BEEN a privilege and AN honor to be PRESIDENT OF IAGP DURING THE PAST FOUR YEARS ..
I am grateful to
each and everyone of you

with warmest wishes and best regards to all,

Richard Beck
IAGP President
2018-2022

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