IFI President's Message:
Inspiring the Future

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”
George Bernard Shaw


Around this time last year we at IFI, sought to understand your experience as an IFI member. This we did via an independent survey conducted in the context of the then appointed IFI Strategic Planning Committee (IFI SPC). Included in that survey were questions pertaining to the value IFI presents to you, our members, and your expectations of such a global disciplinary body as IFI. With that criteria firmly in mind, the IFI Strategic Planning Committee (IFI SPC) moved forward on assembling a proposal for the future generations of IFI.

Appointed by the 2011-2014 Executive Board, the IFI SPC consisted of three of the most recent past presidents of IFI, including Madeline Lester (Australia), Desmond Laubscher (South Africa) and Young Baek Min (South Korea). Other members of the IFI SPC , comprised of the incumbent President, Shashi Caan, representing th board’s viewpoint at that time, along with IFI regional leader and recent past board member from Europe, Iria Degan, and from Asia, Yao Cheng Chung. Also pivotal to the team was an independent member, Bill Richards, a long standing Business Consultant to IFI from South East Asia and Oceania. After a lengthy and carefully considered selection process, this group of seven (7) was determined based on several criteria:

IFI SPC Presentation of their Proposal to the Membership

Chair IFI SPC Madeline Lester


  1. A heavy participation of the past presidents (3 recently past and one current president), to ensure that we brought along all the good from the past. We also wanted to open mindedly embrace a compelling and appropriate to the profession – therefore IFI - future structure for IFI
  2. A concerted effort to include the voice of the next generation and upcoming leadership of IFI
  3. As always, a carefully balanced group for regional input, gender and age consideration and professional diversity
  4. Along with these measures, we made sure to solicit and carefully listen to your – our members – input throughout the almost year long process.

Left-Right: Desmond Laubscher (South Africa), Iria Degan (Switzerland), Young Baek Min (South Korea), Shashi Caan (IFI board liaison), Bill Richards (Independent)

Unanimous member approval of the IFI SPC Proposal at the 2014 IFI General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


As most of our voting members know, the IFI SPC made an independent and stand alone presentation during the recent and IFI’s 50th anniversary General Assembly held at the beginning of May in Kuala Lumpur.

Also, as you know, while this GA was relocated at the last minute due to the demise of the IDA, with the generous and big support of our Malaysian members, MIID, this most successful of our GA’s, was planned and organized within a 6 month period. We mention this because despite the last minute changes, we were proud to count the largest number of voting members present (not to be confused with the largest quantity of people) at any GA in IFI’s history, which in of itself is a testament to the increased membership and the community of IFI worldwide.

With their research and consideration of appropriate structures and governance models possible for IFI, the IFI SPC presented their suggestions that were focused on helping to develop, elevate and globally coalesce the Interior Architecture/Design discipline. Following a detailed presentation, those members present engaged members of the IFI SPC in a healthy and robust discussion. This resulted in a unanimous (100% vote) approval of the regional – or world areas – structure of the IFI. Again, with careful listening to all members, we carefully recorded the following motion, jointly crafted by all present, and unanimously voted on by the membership in attendance.

“We move to give the new board the authority to present a new model based on the world regional structure, to be presented for approval and implementation at the 2015 General Assembly”

Since the General Assembly, with this mandate firmly in place, the current IFI board has been hard at work to deliver a new model for IFI that will be sustainable – in both it’s vision and financial structure- for the next generations.

At the most recent meeting of the current board, energetic discussion took place which led to a much broader conversation that goes back to the origins of IFI and its description of “the UN of Interiors”. With a vision re-iterating this and past discussions of a unified desire for the interior profession to have a stronger alignment with the “quality of life” and “well being” focused values of the UN, board members, have initiated a short and targeted “Blue Sky” taskforce, who, in parallel with the financial modeling team, will develop a stronger rationale related to IFI’s core purpose and vision. As this work begins to bear fruit, we will, as always, we sure to share all necessary information with you in the coming weeks.

The membership’s valuable input and opinion has helped to deepen our understanding and we are determined to continue the dedicated work of past administrations to present a proposal before the next general assembly that will be an inspiration to us all.


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