December 2017 IWG Member Newsletter
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Member Newsletter - December 2017

IWG 2018 Registrations are now open

Dear <<First Name>>,

In June 2016 the House of Commons of Canada passed Bill C-14 which now allows for medical assistance in dying (MAiD). The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill was passed in Victoria, Australia in late November, 2017. This movement is expected to ripple to other parts of the world. Coupled with the fatal natural disasters and terror attacks around the world, the topic of death and dying is becoming increasingly salient. Death educators, death-related practitioners and researchers are having prominent roles with these recent developments. Members of IWG will face new challenges as well as opportunities in their work. I am expecting the coming IWG meeting in London, Canada to be a solid platform for exchanging ideas and sharing practice wisdom in facing the changing horizons of thanatology. The registration for the London, Canada meeting is now open.

Following the Dublane’s meeting, the board is working on a number of priorities. We are reviewing the member nomination process, the criteria for membership as well as our vision and mission. At the same time, we are exploring ways we can meet the needs of our ageing members who might be unable to travel to our meetings. One of the ideas, which is initiated by the last board and implemented by our board, is the introduction of an Associate Membership. With the technological development, we can still stay connected even with the barriers of distance. Innovative ideas of linking long-time member with the new members are evolving. You are most welcome to contribute ideas to members of the board.

With the help of Chris Hall, the IWG is moving to an era of more effectively leveraging technology. The changes to our website and the addition of online dues payment is nearly complete. We are in the progress of putting online archival material and for those who join the workgroup in a later phase, these materials will be a valuable resource to get a better understanding of IWG and knowledge in the field of death, dying and bereavement. The presentation by the different subgroups in the meeting will also be uploaded to the member section of the website. Please make sure you renew your membership in order to get access to the website. Please let us know if you change your email or contact information. We treasure the connectivity. Virtual contact through technology can never replace face-to-face contact. I am indebted to Darcy, Susan, Phil, and many others from Canada for their work in preparing for the next meeting. I look forward to seeing all of you face-to-face in London in June, 2018.

Yours sincerely,
Amy Chow

30th Meeting of the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement
June 24 - 29, 2018 in London ON, Canada

with a pre-meeting conference on
Saturday June 23rd 2018
Dying Matters: Current Issues and Approaches in Hospice Palliative Care

Welcome to London, Canada!

It is our privilege to host the 2018 IWG meeting here in Southwestern Ontario. London is home to Western University and its affiliate, King’s University College, which hosted the meeting in 1986 and 1993 under the leadership of Dr. Jack Morgan. We are also very pleased to hold our meeting at the Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre, which is a part of Western University’s Ivey School of Business. “The Spencer” is housed in a magnificent historic Georgian manor on 30 acres of lush parkland and gardens adjacent to the Thames River, just north of the University. We hope you will enjoy this peaceful setting while exploring the “forest city.”

The land that we refer to as Canada was originally known as part of Turtle Island. We would like to acknowledge that the city of London is situated on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Lunaapeewak and Attawandaron peoples who have longstanding relationships to the land and region. The local First Nation communities of this area include Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and Munsee Delaware Nation.

In the summer months, London is lush and green, and there are opportunities to enjoy many cultural, historical, scenic, and professional offerings in the area. We have planned a variety of excursions for you to choose from; in addition, the meeting will include four excellent speakers who will address current issues in the field that also have special relevance for our Canadian context.

We wish to gratefully acknowledge the tremendous support that has been provided to us by the staff and administration at King’s University College for assistance with planning, organizing, and sponsoring both the pre-meeting conference day as well as the significant donation of time by the talented IT team at the College as they designed, created, maintained and monitored our meeting web site. King’s is home to the undergraduate degree program in Thanatology, and supporting education in issues related to end of life care, grief, and bereavement is an integral aspect of the College’s mission, vision, and values. 

We also wish to express our deep gratitude to the Grief and Loss Resource Committee of London and Area for the hours of volunteering in assisting with both the pre-meeting conference and the regular IWG meeting. Finally, we feel it is important to acknowledge the diligent work and preparation by the La Crosse, Wisconsin IWG committee. Their gracious spirit and camaraderie following the change in meeting venue was a reflection of good and true neighbours.

We wish you many meaning-filled moments when you are here in Canada. It is a time to treasure the friendships, stimulate the thoughts, tickle the senses, appreciate the accomplishments, and move forward on this journey together. 

Co-Chairs, 2018 Planning Committee

To register go to:

Registration for the meeting is protected by a username and password, so enter:
Username:  IWG2018
Password:   $IWG_2018_30

Nominations for the
Herman Feifel Award
are now open
The Feifel Award recognizes exceptional achievement in thanatology on the part of individuals (as opposed to organizations) who have made distinctive contributions to the field, usually of a longstanding nature. Criteria for such recognition of merit encompass all forms of achievement in the field, whether clinical, organizational or scholarly, in keeping with the spirit of our organization.

The award will consist of a tangible symbol of recognition, which may include a plaque or other meaningful object (e.g., engraved bowl or work of art) at the discretion of the award committee. Unless otherwise recommended by the award committee and approved by the Board, receipt of the Feifel Award does not carry with it waiver of IWG registration fees or travel expenses to attend the meeting at which it is received.

Nominees for the award may include persons who are members or non-members of IWG, a Board member who is actively serving at the time the award recipient is being selected may also be nominated. Non-members can reasonably be issued letters to attend the meeting as "Invited Guests," as per usual IWG Board policy.

Ideally, the award recipient should be chosen with consideration of her or his ability to receive the award personally at the London, Canada IWG Meeting (June 2018), thereby heightening the impact of the award for both the individual and our organization. Proxy acceptance of the award, however, might be considered in circumstances in which health or other practical obstacles prevent the recipient from being present at the meeting. The award ceremony, at which the nominator(s) announces the recipient and describes their contributions, has become an integral part of our Meeting and is a joyous and celebratory occasion.

Please give thoughtful consideration to this call for Feifel Award nominations and send a detailed statement/letter familiarizing the committee members with information on the nominee’s achievements by the deadline of January 15, 2018. Two nominators (primary and secondary), each providing a letter of nomination, are required. The deadline for receipt of nominations is January 15, 2018.

To help you in your consideration there is a dedicated Herman Feifel section on our IWG website. The website contains a list of past Feifel Award Recipients and a link to the video of their award ceremony where available. The statement of purpose, character of the award and a biographical sketch of Herman Feifel may also be found there. A more recent addition is a recording of a one hour interview with Herman which was conducted in 1992. Should you need any further clarification on the nomination process please contact Phil Carverhill.

Please forward nomination letters (2) to the Feifel Award Committee Members listed below:

Thank you,
Phil Carverhill
Convener - Feifel Award Committee

Are your IWG Membership Dues up to date?

Please ensure that you login to the website and check that your dues are up to date. You can do this by selecting My Account -> Purchase Your Membership. A step by step walkthrough of this process is available here

You will notice that when you log into the site the correct fee, determined by your type of membership, will be automatically calculated for you. This will be charged in Australian dollars. Payments can be made securely online using a VISA, MasterCard or American Express credit card.

A new membership category - Associate Membership

Following the meeting in Dunblane, Scotland, the Board decided to introduce a new class of membership - the Associate Member. Associate Membership is designed for those who because of infirmity, age or inability to travel are unable to attend IWG meetings however they still wish to remain connected to the IWG. An Associate Member pays no fees, however if they wish to attend a meeting they are required to pay the equivalent of two years membership in order to restore their Full Membership status.

If you wish to become an Associate Member of the IWG please email the Secretary/Treasurer at to make this change.
Dr. Alfons Deeken
Many members will recall Dr. Alfons Deeken, who up until the last few meetings had been a regular participant at our meetings. Alfons has had some health challenges but is now recovering and has indicated that he is unlikely to attend another meeting of the IWG.

Alfons does not regularly use e-mail or internet but will remain as an Associate Member of the IWG.

If you wish to correspond with Alfons his address is care of:

Jesuit Society Loyola House 
Kami Shakujiii 4-32-11 
Nerima-ku, Tokyo 177-0044 

Phone 81-33-594-2184
Dear Members of the IWG,

My name is Ky Henderson, and I'm a documentary TV producer based in Los Angeles. I'm reaching out regarding the new Amazon documentary series Trillion Dollar Planet, which follows a host as he travels the world telling fascinating stories about money and how it shapes people's lives in unexpected ways. Adam McKay, the Oscar-winning filmmaker who wrote and directed The Big Short, is an executive producer of the series.

We are putting together an episode about all the ways money shapes death and dying—from the huge fortune spent on end-of-life health care in America for often questionable results to a massive $57 million underground infrastructure project in Israel that will accommodate the dead without taking up any space above ground to the lengths people go to and money people spend in land-starved Hong Kong to find places for their dead so that their souls can rest in peace.

As experts in your fields and members of the International Work Group on Death, Dying & Bereavement, I would love to hear any stories you believe we should tell in this episode! Please don't hesitate to get in touch with me at or +1 917.204.3246.

Thanks so much.


Access the latest information and resources on our new website.

Recent additions to the site include copies of workgroup presentations from the Dunblane meeting; a video of Dr Charles Corr receiving the Herman Feifel Award; a new membership directory where you can search by name as well as country and meeting and venue details for IWG 2018. Visit the site at
Current IWG Board Members
Amy Chow
Hong Kong

Donna Schuurman

Christopher Hall

Leslie Balmer
Phil Carverhill


Nancy Hogan

Chikako Ishii

Astrid Ronsen

Jane Skeen
New Zealand

Ruthmarijke Smeding
The Netherlands
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