BROOKFIELD, WIS. – The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) announced that it was taking another step toward uniting funeral professionals around the world by organizing a new global committee.
“As funeral directors strive to serve an increasingly diverse population, it’s vital that NFDA create opportunities for funeral professionals and suppliers worldwide to come together, learn from one another, solve common challenges, and collaboratively find ways to ensure that each grieving family receives exactly what they need, regardless of their traditions or where they call home,” said NFDA CEO Christine Pepper. “This committee will help NFDA continue to be the global leader in the profession and help raise the bar on professional and ethical standards around the world.”
The committee, which will be comprised of NFDA members representing various countries and regions of the world, will:
• Provide input on the development of a new NFDA international certification program
• Promote NFDA membership and participation in events, such as the International Convention & Expo and Asia Funeral and Cemetery Expo & Conference
• Discuss trends in funeral service and strategies for successfully managing them
• Encourage compliance with the NFDA Code of Professional Conduct
• Discuss and help establish universal standards for the profession, particularly as it pertains to international shipments of human remains
• Present an annual report to the NFDA Policy Board
The following individuals have been appointed to the NFDA Global Committee by the NFDA Executive Board:
• Africa: Lehlohonolo “Lawrence” Konyana, Koyana Funeral Directors, Sebokeng, South Africa
• Asia: Ang Ziqian, Mount Vernon Sanctuary Pte Ltd. and ACM Foundation, Singapore, Singapore
• Australia: Diane Luccitti, Elite Funeral Directors Ltd., Canterbury, New South Wales, Australia
• Canada: Alan Cole, MacKinnon & Bowes Ltd., Toronto, Ontario, Canada
• Caribbean: Keith Belgrove, Belgroves Funeral Home Co. Ltd., San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago – Committee Chair
• Latin America: Benito Flores, Capillas Benito M. Flores, Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico
• Europe: Gus Nichols, Nichols Funeral Directors, Dublin, Ireland
• South America: Christian Montes de Oca, Memorial International LLC, Quito, Ecuador
• United Kingdom: Graeme Easton, Dunure Funeral Home, Bonnybridge, Scotland
• United States: Jzyk Ennis, Carr Funeral Home – Guntersville, Guntersville, Alabama
Each committee member will serve a two-year term that commences following the NFDA International Convention and Expo in October 2014; however, the committee will commence its work prior to the NFDA Convention. Deborah Andres, NFDA vice president of International Relations, will serve as staff liaison to the Global Committee.
NFDA’s International Presence
NFDA’s international influence continues to grow every year, as reflected in membership numbers and annual Convention participation. International membership grows by approximately five percent each year; NFDA currently represents 565 main locations and branches, representing 43 countries and territories.
Since 2009, there has been a 22.4 percent growth in international convention attendees. At the 2013 NFDA Convention in Austin, Texas, 372 registrants from outside of the U.S. were in attendance, representing 43 countries and territories.
“NFDA is well-respected globally for its efforts to create meaningful dialogue through events like our International Convention & Expo and the annual Asia Funeral and Cemetery Expo and Conference,” said Andres. “These efforts have made NFDA the top resource for funeral professionals outside of the U.S. on global issues impacting funeral service including professional and ethical standards.”
Andres went on to explain that the international relations department also provides information and assistance to NFDA members in the United States, such as information about shipping human remains abroad and funeral customs from around the world.
“As our world gets smaller and the number of immigrants increases, NFDA members in the United States frequently find themselves serving families whose funeral traditions may be very different from their own,” Andres said. “We frequently connect members in the U.S. with NFDA members in other countries. Our international members are always willing to help their colleagues in the United States better understand funeral traditions and rituals so they can provide the best possible service to families.”