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2015 International Parents’ Conference & Embassy Walk

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Wednesday, March 25
 

9:00am

iStand Parent Network Meeting with the U.S. Dept. of State Office of Children's Issues
This meeting is by advance registration and invitation only. Contact conference organizers at istandparentnetwork@gmail.com for more information. 

Wednesday March 25, 2015 9:00am - 10:00am
U.S. Dept. of State

11:00am

iStand Constituent Calls
After our meeting with the U.S. Dept. of State Office of Children's Issues, we will travel as a group to Capitol Hill for Constituent Calls to parents' U.S. Represenatives and Senators.  In addition to pre-scheduled meetings with key staffers, we will go to the offices of each conference attendee's home state to urge support for legislative reform to bring children home. 

Wednesday March 25, 2015 11:00am - 2:00pm
Capitol Hill

2:00pm

U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Hearing: The Goldman Act to Return Abducted American Children: Reviewing Obama Administration Implementation
The parent community, including conference participants, should gather in full force for this hearing on the implementation of the Goldman Act in the U.S. State Dept.  Six months later, there few discernable signs of change since this important law was enacted. 

The Honorable Susan S. Jacobs, Special Advisor for U.S. Dept. of State Bureau of Consular Affairs Ofice Children's Issues will testify about implementation of the law. 

Participants should arrive early to secure seats in the hearing, demonstrate our strength of numbers, and to support our own fellow parent, friend and conference presenter Jeffery Morehouse, Mochi's Daddy, BACHome Executive Director, who will offer testimony.


Wednesday March 25, 2015 2:00pm - 5:00pm
2172 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515

8:00pm

Board of Directors Annual Meeting
The inaugural meeting of the iStand Parent Network Board of Directors is an open business meeting. Transparency is a hallmark of our organization, and all participants are welcome to attend this business meeting where the 2015-16 budget, projects and special initiatives will be discussed.  The board will also elect officers and conduct other official business. 

Wednesday March 25, 2015 8:00pm - 9:00pm
Conference Room - 1st Floor

9:30pm

From the White House to Our House: Candlelight Vigil
This is our pre-conference "warmer".  Please join your fellow parents in the lobby of the Hotel Harrington at 9;30 pm for the short walk to the White House. We will light candles on the way and speak the name our children and others who are held abroad.  Join us as we Light Their Way Home.  After the vigil, we will gather at a local establishment for a time of relaxation and getting acquainted. 

Wednesday March 25, 2015 9:30pm - 10:30pm
Lafayette Park
 
Thursday, March 26
 

8:00am

Continental Breakfast Meet & Greet
Enjoy a continental breakfast while getting to know fellow conference attendees. 

Thursday March 26, 2015 8:00am - 8:30am
Conference Room - 1st Floor

8:30am

9:00am

International Parental Child Abduction: It Starts at Home
Long before most international parental child abductions occur, there are signs to indicate the possibility. Despite the varied ways in which abductions occur, the common denominator is that they nearly always start at the local level. FBI Victim Specialist Bruce May will discuss with conference participants the work his working group has done regarding prevention, local, state, federal and international response, and barriers and opportunities to address the problem in this candid session.

*This is a closed session. No recording or photography please. 

Moderators
avatar for Scott Berne

Scott Berne

Upon the separation of his parents, Scott Berne’s entire world turned upside-down.  When an ugly custody battle ensued, Scott became an innocent pawn in his mother’s attempt to destroy his father.  As the mental health of Scott’s mother deteriorated, her behavior turned increasingly erratic – burning down their family home, hiring a hit man to kill Scott’s father, and finally, abducting Scott and his... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Bruce May

Bruce May

Bruce May, LCSW, is Victim Specialist in the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the largest field office in the nation. He also coordinates the New York Committee on Child Abduction by a Parent, a consortium of law enforcement, judicial entities, social services, nonprofit organizations that addresses the problem of parental child abduction. The Committee is tasked with identifying best practices for handling such cases... Read More →


Thursday March 26, 2015 9:00am - 10:00am
Conference Room - 1st Floor

10:00am

Risk Management: Reducing the Time from Abduction to Return
The first few days after a child has been internationally abducted are critical.  It is essential for parents to focus through the fear and frustration to take certain steps that potentially can reduce the time between abduction and return. 

This session offers tips for strategic action from the onset of an abduction and also helps attendees understand how to operate within emerging geo-political contexts, and navigate cultural, religious and economic contexts to facilitate thier children's return.  

*This is a closed session.  No recording or photography please. 

Moderators
avatar for Randall Murphy

Randall Murphy

Board of Directors - Founding Member, iStand Parent Network
I like to say "I'm just a DAD"! My children, Hannah J. Murphy and Ryan L. Murphy, have been my consistent focus since 2008, when their mother abandoned them by moving to Canada. I was awarded primary custody. I gave Hannah and Ryan irrefutable and loving care. Yet this nightmare continued on June 30, 2012, when their mother took the children to Port Coquitlam, BC on the pretense of a family visit. My story of what is an International Child... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Sam Blackstone

Sam Blackstone

CEO, Consultant, Blackstone Inc.
Blackstone Inc.  is led by Samuel Blackstone, a crisis management executive and graduate of the FBI National Academy, who spent over twenty years as a special agent with the United States government as a foreign intelligence officer and criminal investigator involved in counterintelligence, counter-terrorism, and criminal investigative activities. He directed and supervised dignitary protection operations globally for two Secretaries of... Read More →


Thursday March 26, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am
Conference Room - 1st Floor

11:15am

Break
Thursday March 26, 2015 11:15am - 11:30am
TBA

11:30am

Resources Matter: Finding Help to Bring Them Home
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is an important resource for parents from abduction to reunification.  This informative session will help participants learn the array of NMCECtools available to help parents find and return their children. 

Moderators
avatar for Scott Berne

Scott Berne

Upon the separation of his parents, Scott Berne’s entire world turned upside-down.  When an ugly custody battle ensued, Scott became an innocent pawn in his mother’s attempt to destroy his father.  As the mental health of Scott’s mother deteriorated, her behavior turned increasingly erratic – burning down their family home, hiring a hit man to kill Scott’s father, and finally, abducting Scott and his... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Preston Findlay

Preston Findlay

Counsel, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Preston Findlay is Counsel for the Missing Children Division of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). In this role he provides legal technical assistance and training to law enforcement, attorneys, family members, and the public regarding international and domestic child abductions – including children who have been abducted by a parent or family member. | | Mr. Findlay edited and co-authored NCMEC’s... Read More →


Thursday March 26, 2015 11:30am - 12:15pm
Conference Room - 1st Floor

12:15pm

Keynote Conversation with Maura Harty, President and CEO, International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children
Ambassador (Ret.) Maura Harty is our honored guest for this keynote conversation.  As the new President & CEO of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, Ambssr. Harty looks forward to a dialogue with conference participants about the history and intent of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction, U.S. efforts to return children and the importance of relationship building to accomplish that goal. 


Harty formerly served as Assistant Secretary of State Bureau of Consular Affairs. An expert in crisis management and issues affecting the welfare of American citizens abroad, Ambassador Harty created the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues (OCI) to address the challenges of intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.  

This conversation is not to be missed!

 

Moderators
avatar for Noelle Hunter

Noelle Hunter

Board of Directors -Founding Member, iStand Parent Network
Dr. Noelle Hunter is co-founder and member of the iStand Parent Network Board of Directors.  For nearly three years, Noelle fought for the return of her daughter, Muna, who was abducted to Mali, West Africa in 2011. | | Muna came home on July 12, 2014 on the prayers, strength, passion and energy of Dr. Hunter, her family, and Mission4muna supporters all over the world, and with the cooperation and assistance of the U.S. and Mali... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Ambassador (Ret.) Maura Harty

Ambassador (Ret.) Maura Harty

Ambassador Maura Harty (ret.) | President and CEO | Ambassador Maura Harty is President and CEO of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), an Alexandria, VA-based not-for-profit organization working worldwide to advance child protection and safeguard children from sexual abuse, exploitation and abduction. Through research-based advocacy, training, technical assistance and a collaborative approach to addressing these... Read More →


Thursday March 26, 2015 12:15pm - 1:30pm
Conference Room - 1st Floor

1:30pm

Break
Thursday March 26, 2015 1:30pm - 1:45pm
TBA

1:45pm

Persistent Pressure: Educating Congress for your case and for our Cause
Bring Abducted Children Home (BAC Home) is the leading parent organization advocating for American children kidnapped to Japan. BAC Home Executive Director and Mochi's daddy Jeffery Morehouse offers a brief history of the issue as it's been addressed in Congress, shares updates on recent legislative developments and suggests essential tips for identifying and communicating with key players on Capitol Hill and in the State Dept.  Participants also can gain tips for advocating the issue at the local, state and federal levels. 

Moderators
avatar for Noelle Hunter

Noelle Hunter

Board of Directors -Founding Member, iStand Parent Network
Dr. Noelle Hunter is co-founder and member of the iStand Parent Network Board of Directors.  For nearly three years, Noelle fought for the return of her daughter, Muna, who was abducted to Mali, West Africa in 2011. | | Muna came home on July 12, 2014 on the prayers, strength, passion and energy of Dr. Hunter, her family, and Mission4muna supporters all over the world, and with the cooperation and assistance of the U.S. and Mali... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Jeffery Morehouse

Jeffery Morehouse

Executive Director, Bring Abducted Children Home (BACHOME)
In addition to being an award-winning filmmaker, Jeffery Morehouse, volunteers much of his time as Executive Director of Bring Abducted Children Home (BACHOME.org). Over the past four years he has participated in over 100 meetings on Capitol Hill on international parental child abduction. He has worked as an advocate for S.Res 543 (112th Congress) and federal legislation such as and the Sean and David Goldman International Child... Read More →


Thursday March 26, 2015 1:45pm - 2:30pm
Conference Room - 1st Floor

2:30pm

Social Media 101: Using Technology to Locate, Advocate and Celebrate!
Robert "Bob" Pfeifer utilized social media to raise the alarm and keep pressure on to locate his abducted son, Jerry. As a direct result of social media, a vigilant citizen in France spotted his son and set in motion a series of events that would lead to their reunification.  Join the Jerry's Army founder for an informative session on effectively utlizing Facebook, Twitter and other social media to share your children's stories, build and maintain support communities and incorporate, not alienate, potential supporters in the country of abduction. 

Moderators
avatar for Alissa Zagaris

Alissa Zagaris

Founding Member/ Parental Advocate, I STAND Parent Network
My son Leo was wrongfully retained in Greece by his father after summer visitation in 2011 against a mutually agreed upon divorce and custodial decree allowing international visitation, that was filed in Indiana (2009). My ex believed that my lack of knowledge and lack of financial means would give him the ability to successfully kidnap our American born permanent resident 10 year old son. Nikos Zagaris , the taking parent believed his... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Bob Pfiefer

Bob Pfiefer

Bring Jerry Home
Two American boys, my son, Robert 'Jerry' Pfeifer, and, his half-brother, Sasha Hummel, were kidnapped to Central Europe by their Slovakian mother. | | he story below of the abduction of my son Jerry and his half-brother Sasha, the 18-month journey, the people I have met and the lessons I have learned are the catalysts for Chapter 2. | | We have a happy ending. Jerry and Sasha are gratefully, now home safe. But I cannot forget those who... Read More →


Thursday March 26, 2015 2:30pm - 3:15pm
Conference Room - 1st Floor

3:15pm

Avoiding Scams
Parents of internationally abducted, wrongfully removed or wrongfully retained children often try to identify different strategies for recovering their children. Scam artists prey parents' frustration and desperation, often promising to locate and return children from large sums of money.   In addition to fake recovery specialists, other 'bad actors' attempt to collect donations in the name of the cause or, worse, in the name of an abducted child. Parents don't have to be "revictimized" by scammers. 

Join iStand parent and board member George Petroutsas for an opening discussion on some of the known scams  and tips for avoiding them. 

Moderators
avatar for Alissa Zagaris

Alissa Zagaris

Founding Member/ Parental Advocate, I STAND Parent Network
My son Leo was wrongfully retained in Greece by his father after summer visitation in 2011 against a mutually agreed upon divorce and custodial decree allowing international visitation, that was filed in Indiana (2009). My ex believed that my lack of knowledge and lack of financial means would give him the ability to successfully kidnap our American born permanent resident 10 year old son. Nikos Zagaris , the taking parent believed his... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for George Petroutsas

George Petroutsas

Board of Directors - Founding Member, iStand Parent Network
My son, Andoni, now 9 yrs old has been abducted by his non-custodial mother to Athens Greece twice! | The first abduction, November 2005, was when my ex, Despina Asvesta, took Andoni to Greece for a small 3 week trip, when she arrived safely, she called to say she was not coming back. | After a long court battle, in December 2005, I was granted sole legal & sole physical custody of Andoni by the Superior Court of Santa Cruz and Despoina was... Read More →


Thursday March 26, 2015 3:15pm - 4:00pm
Conference Room - 1st Floor

4:00pm

Surviving Parental Alienation: Healing at Home
iStand Board Member Scott Berne is a parental abduction survivor of an infamous case which received national and international media and legal attention. Scott's story was the test case for the first federal legislation to address international parental kidnapping.

Today, Scott shares his experiences to help promote a true understanding of the relevance of parental abduction in our society, as well as the harmful effects on the children. Scott's motto is Awareness + Education = Prevention.   

Moderators
avatar for Noelle Hunter

Noelle Hunter

Board of Directors -Founding Member, iStand Parent Network
Dr. Noelle Hunter is co-founder and member of the iStand Parent Network Board of Directors.  For nearly three years, Noelle fought for the return of her daughter, Muna, who was abducted to Mali, West Africa in 2011. | | Muna came home on July 12, 2014 on the prayers, strength, passion and energy of Dr. Hunter, her family, and Mission4muna supporters all over the world, and with the cooperation and assistance of the U.S. and Mali... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Scott Berne

Scott Berne

Upon the separation of his parents, Scott Berne’s entire world turned upside-down.  When an ugly custody battle ensued, Scott became an innocent pawn in his mother’s attempt to destroy his father.  As the mental health of Scott’s mother deteriorated, her behavior turned increasingly erratic – burning down their family home, hiring a hit man to kill Scott’s father, and finally, abducting Scott and his... Read More →


Thursday March 26, 2015 4:00pm - 4:45pm
Conference Room - 1st Floor

4:45pm

Closing
Thursday March 26, 2015 4:45pm - 5:00pm
TBA
 
Friday, March 27
 

9:45am

iStand Parent Network Embassy Walk

Back by consensus of 2014 participants, the 2015 Embassy Walk is our direct action demonstration to the nations that we love our children and seek cooperation for reunification. Participating parents will travel as a group to the embassies of countries wherein our children are/were held. Last year, we walked to five embassies-- approached five nations--for our kids. Parents met with embassy officials about their cases, some for the first time.  

This year, we expect to cover more ground as we go to the embassies of Canada, Mexico, India, Great Britian, Mali, Greece and Cyprus. Join us as we 'knock on doors of nations' to seek cooperation in returning children home. 

 


Friday March 27, 2015 9:45am - 12:00pm
Embassy Row

1:00pm

Congressional Education Day (Optional)

Conference participants who can stay through Friday will go to Capitol Hill to advocate for our children and the issue.  The parent community has many friends among legislators and key staffers in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. 

Join us as we share our Congressional Agenda, especially our Exit Controls Initiative, with federal lawmakers.  Participants should meet in the hotel lobby after checkout to travel to Capitol Hill. Wear comfortable shoes!


Friday March 27, 2015 1:00pm - 3:00pm
U.S. Capitol Hill