International Commission on Couple and Family Relations

Malta February 2018: Conference Programme, Reports, Presentations and Handouts

We are pleased to report the success of our most recent conference:

COUPLE RELATIONSHIPS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: EVOLVING CONTEXTS AND EMERGENT MEANINGS

which was held in cooperation with PFWS, the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, in Valletta, Malta, 7-9 February 2018

During the conference, leading scholars from East and West, including the US, Europe, China, India, the Middle East and North Africa, presented on how couple relationships are unfolding in different contexts. The presenters discussed cultural trends in their respective parts of the world, and the various ways in which power and closeness serve to shape relationships across cultures. The romantic ideal and the current meanings of love, intimacy and sexuality for couples in the 21st century were explored. The realities of intercultural couples, LGBT couples and couples who live “apart together” were also addressed. The impact of children on the couple relationship was given importance, as was the use of technology. The conference helped us reflect on the direction that couple relationships are taking, what couples themselves are telling us and the theoretical frameworks that can best inform our thinking. At the same time, we reflected on the current rise in singledom and what it means to live on one’s own in today’s world.

The conference was presented in an interactive style with expert colloquia and participatory workshops and discussion groups.

It took place in the capital city of Valletta in the sumptuous Presidential Palace, built by the Knights of Malta between the 16th and the 18th century. Workshops, panels and discussion groups followed at the Valletta campus of the University of Malta.

Participants expressed their satisfaction with the conference with comments such as:

  • Friendly, inclusive, intellectually coherent, stimulating.
  • Conference was very enriching and the different countries’ presence was very interesting.
  • Very professional and informative and fruitful conference. Well done.
  • Thank you for this fantastic conference.

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