International Commission on Couple and Family Relations

2014 Keynotes

Keynote 1:

Professor Nuria Chinchilla, IESE Business School
Professor of Managing People in Organisations and Director of the International Research Centre for Work and Family, IESE Business School.

Professor Chinchilla is an economist and lawyer by training. She holds a PhD and an MBA from IESE. Her areas of specialisation include women and power, corporate family responsibility (CFR) competencies, time management, interpersonal conflict and nonprofit organisations. Prof. Chinchilla is a business and government consultant and member of several boards. She has taught as a guest professor at universities in four continents. She is a co-author of several books, including Masters of Our Destiny (EUNSA 2013), Being a Family Responsible Company: Luxury or Need? (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006), Female Ambition: How to Reconcile Work and Family (Palgrave, 2005), Decision Criteria in the Selection Processes in Spain. Are women discriminated against? (Fundación Adecco, 2003), among others. Prof. Chinchilla is the only woman on Spain’s ‘Top Ten Management’ listing ( Spanish candidate to the CEDAW, UN 2012. In 2012 and 2013 she was recognized as one of the ‘100 Spanish women of the 21st century’ and one of the top ten leaders and thinkers. In 2008, Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer from Stanford University wrote a case study about her, which forms part of his course ‘Power & Influence: Nuria Chinchilla: The Power to Change Workplaces’. She is the founder and head of the ICWF, a research centre to help organisations, families and society to become more efficient and sustainable.


Keynote 2:

Hanne Bruun Simonsen, Health visitor, Certified PREP-teacher, Coordinator of PREP in Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune, Denmark

‘Working successfully with PREP programmes and couple therapy’

PREP programmes and couple  therapy have become a great success in Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune, with an ever growing number of applicants.’A transgressive eyeopener’, one participant wrote after the end of a programme. ‘You get high on this’, said another. ‘We have a much better atmosphere in our home now, and the kids are feeling much better’, said a third.

As a result of this success, Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune has managed to stem the growing tide of divorces, and now boasts the lowest number of divorces in the country. PREP is short for Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Programme, and is a preemptive and relationship-development programme. The form of the programme is dynamic and varies between classes and exercises. A programme for couples consists of 15 hours divided over three weekdays. The PREP concept is based on substantial research, primarily conducted at Denver University in the USA. The PREP programmes are values-driven, but independent of religion and politics. They consist of several relevant topics concerning relationships, for example communication. Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune is the first Danish municipality to offer free PREP programmes and couple therapy for couples with children aged 0-18. Before being able to offer this at a municipal level, a political process took place, which set up the financial basis for the programmes. Political backing was won partly out of an awareness of the sometimes painful reality of the lives of the people – and especially children – in the municipality. ‘It is better to prevent than to heal’ is a typical reason for signing up for the PREP programme, another is: ‘We needed better understanding and communication in our home; we had entered a vicious circle in which we fought a lot, and the children became unhappy and insecure.’ The couples who sign up for couple therapy have major problems in their relationship and are at great risk of divorce. Some couples end up separating after the therapy, but in a way that is much less problematic for the children.

Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune


Keynote 3:

Dr. Marc Callens is senior researcher and programme coordinator in the research team at The Study Centre of the Flemish Government.
Generations and solidarity

Solidarity occurs at different levels: the micro level, or assistance between family, friends, neighbours, … and the macro level, for example, transfers in the context of social security.

What forms of solidarity are visible in the combination of internal and external education of children aged 0-12 years, based on individual time-use data? For example, what is the role of grandparents in remote education? Is this the same role in the event of separation of the adult daughter or son?

Does generous welfare provision displace the help of private households/families? Does the strength of family ties lessen if the government takes over care for families? What do European citizens think is the responsibility of the government in caring for children, the elderly or the sick? Is there an important role for the state to play here?

The Study Centre of the Flemish Government (SVR) aims to support the Flemish government and its services in implementing an ‘informed’ policy. It explores the external environment in which the Flemish government wants to act. It also follows the results and impact of policy on the basis of indicators. The Study Centre also has a supporting role in relation to other policy services that have questions about statistics, monitoring, survey, policy and forecasting as technology and practical issues. Finally, the Study Centre is the hub for the supply and demand of regional public statistics about Flanders (to the municipal level). The Centre works primarily on behalf of the Prime Minister and other members of the Flemish Government. It also provides relevant information to the Flemish Parliament and local authorities, taking into account their information needs. The products of the Study Centre are free and open to all organisations, researchers and interested individuals.