« 17 September 2013
FROM: IFI President and the IFI Executive Board
Sent by the Office of the IFI Secretariat
IMPORTANT MESSAGE REGARDING the IDA – THE INTERNATIONAL DESIGN ALLIANCE
Dear IFI Member and Friend,
On behalf of the IFI Executive Board, I write to share with you the recent announcement of the intended withdrawal of Icsid from the International Design Alliance (IDA). This news comes on the heels of the last few, very difficult, months for all of the IDA partners with the cancellation of the IDA Congress in Istanbul – which, as you know, was made necessary due to the political unrest in Turkey.
For us at IFI, it is important to remember that while the IDA has officially been operating for a decade, IFI has been involved for only the past 5 years. With our member support at the 2007 General Assembly, held in Busan, South Korea, IFI was officially ratified to join the IDA.
The alliance was formed 10 years ago by the two founding partners, Icsid and Icograda, at which time, they signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) stating that should one of the partners withdraw, the IDA would no longer exist as an entity. Upon IFI joining this alliance, we worked hard to be recognized as equal along with the two originating partners, and to form a collaborative union of International bodies. Given their already established working relationship, it became IFI’s role to often act as mediator. It was, however, always the case that the IDA operated by unanimous consensus (not by majority vote) and under the originally set terms of the MoU.
During these short five years, we, at IFI, have worked very closely with our IDA partners to ensure that we support the partnership as an alliance for the common good, and in the manner that we came together in “doing together that what cannot be done alone”. This has proven to be a tough task given the individual partnership cultures, structures, protocols and resources. We were always particularly mindful of keeping a balanced view to support both our sisters and our own objectives in this very important partnership, which we joined in good faith. Like all new and untested ventures, it came with inherent challenges of procedures, policy and finances. While the establishment of the correct procedures for collaboration was always one of the core challenges, it was also this same idea of cooperation that was truly inspirational. This dream was worth pursuing while we collectively tried to comprehend the progressive spirit of the IDA initiative.
A primary IDA project agreement was for us to, together, accomplish the biennial IDA Congress. With the same customary consensus agreement, the IDA Executive Committee, in trust and support of our partners, delegated the responsibility of our internal IDA’s Project Management for the IDA Congress to Icsid, for a number of good reasons, and primarily because we all believed that Icsid had the experience to handle this task. This responsibility was allocated with the necessary remuneration for staff time and effort, which was made payable to all partners from the levy fees (paid by the congress host). With our massive collective effort, the internal IDA’s project management and Taiwan Design Center’s (TDC’s) expertise and capability, the inaugural IDA 2011 congress in Taipei was a resounding success. Unfortunately, due to other and unforeseen reasons, this was not able to be replicated with Turkey.
Of course, Icsid’s announcement is extremely disappointing for IFI. This is especially disheartening for all who have unequivocally believed in the possibility of the IDA and have spent dearly in order to help make it successful. While we still have much to do to resolve the logistical and outstanding issues of the 2015 and 2017 IDA Congresses, we know that we will keep all channels open for future collaborative opportunities with our valued IDA partners.
As you know, during our five years with the IDA program, IFI has participated fully for the success of the IDA’s mission to raise the profile and relevance of the Design professions on behalf of our sponsors, partners, members and friends. During this time, we at IFI, have focused equally sharply and remained vigilant, in our communications and determination to serve our specific and global Interiors membership.
In this same time frame we have grown in numbers and as a community, all the while envisioning and implementing additional new initiatives and programs that engage, coalesce and raise the visibility of our discipline. We have successfully delivered vital and relevant professional developments which have raised general public awareness and the bar for excellence for design and Interiors worldwide. The adoption of the historic Interiors Declaration (now embraced by some 70 cities), and the implementation of the IFI Global Interior Educators Open Forum (GIEOF), have been big highlights for us. As a follow-up to our significant IFI DFIE (Design Frontiers: The Interiors Entity) initiative, the GIEOF participants, along with hosting the 2013 IFI Asia Region Education Symposium in Sydney, Australia (October 2013), are distilling the wisdom of the Declaration and are now beginning to implement this in the pedagogy of the educational institutions globally. This is a testament to the significance of this declaration and denotes its worthy celebration in our fiftieth year. The IFI WING (World Interiors for the Next Generation) initiative – both an international student workshop and also now launched as an International student competition, (this year sponsored by Teknion) – is helping us to build a stronger awareness amongst our future designers and leaders. With your help, support and the bigger-than-ever-before participation in World Interiors Day (WID) 2013, we are very proud to have accomplished so much within our extracurricular purview.
While we are deeply saddened with Icsid’s decision to dissolve the IDA, on a positive note, the IFI Executive Board and I stand firm in our knowledge of this exceptional experience with our IDA partners. This same experience has helped us, at IFI, to more clearly understand the uncontested need, nuanced distinction and exemplary value of both our important design profession and of IFI. Certainly, in consideration of future collaborations, we have grown exponentially and remain grateful for the invaluable experience and the friendships forged. We remain open to new ideas and projects for future collaborations targeted to accomplish all of that which we know that we cannot do alone.
IFI President 2009 – 2013