13/06/2014

The first international association AIP(L) was born in 1997 mainly with the aim of financially supporting the Pikler Institute in Budapest. It was one of the moments when the existence of the Institute was threatened, and the first occupation of the newly founded Association was to make the Hungarian authorities aware of the international importance of the work done in Lóczy Street and to raise money for a significant financial support that would ensure its continuation. The two initiatives were successful and we must thank Istvan and Agnès Szanto for their commitment and talent, to whom the Pikler Institute owes the possibility of continuing its work. The Hungarian state changed the status of the Institute into a foundation. The financial participation of the state decreased sharply, so the Institute was forced to seek its own funds for its activities - mainly because of the training - and concentrated all its energy on finding money from the AIP (L). This was never an easy task. The Foundation's Board of Trustees, on which the AIP(L) had two seats, always operated in a precarious and strained financial situation.

 

The Board of the AIP(L), composed of the representatives of the different countries, struggled to attract members and patrons, to inform each other about the successes and the business of the association in general. France, where the headquarters of the Association was located, always provided the most members. But Switzerland, Belgium, Spain and the German-speaking countries also made their contributions.

 

Thanks to the commitment of one and another, and especially of the Secretary General Istvan Szanto, it was possible during the first years to achieve the desired goals and to collect substantial amounts for the Pikler Institute. However, this became increasingly difficult. The momentum that arose from "Save the Institute" waned and making an annual contribution is another matter - for some a less visible one. A similar thing was seen with membership. A certain number lost interest or desire to participate over the years. On the part of the Board, the desire to be replaced did not materialize.

 

The very existence of the AIP(L) created needs: Information and documents, written or filmed, had to be distributed, meetings had to be organized, training had to be reconsidered, and so on. ... The forces of the board allowed only partially to meet these needs, for example by means of the website.

 

Since 2009, the board of the AIP(L) has been working on the continuation and expansion of the international activities. A first survey by questionnaire to Pikler Associations around the world showed that there was a real interest in contacts, information and meetings between the different countries, but that no initiatives had been taken in this direction, nor was any movement perceptible in this direction. In order to follow up and deepen the initiative, the Board gave Catherine Durand a mandate to contact the different associations and Pikler groups and to meet them, if possible.

 

From these contacts and findings, the confidence grew that it was time to "do something", that is, it would be possible to create a new international association. Apart from the possibilities of informing one or the other about the different activities, publications and documentations that have emerged in the different countries and of initiating meetings and exchanges, it seemed important that there should be a union around the Pikler ideas. Indeed, as soon as ideas spread, circulate, are studied, commented on and put into practice, there is a great risk that they will develop in different directions, whether they become rigid and become dogmas, or whether they are watered down and softened - in short, falsified. The Pikler Institute was and remains the point of reference, but Pikler's ideas are - fortunately - spreading widely and experiencing different applications. For those who carry the idea into the world, it is important that they find a structure where discussion, debate and deepening are possible.

 

To answer the call for a new international structure, a first meeting was held in Budapest in November 2011, attended by about thirty people from eleven countries. Working groups were formed on topics of common interest and a provisional board was also appointed. The latter was charged with drafting the statutes of a new association. At a new meeting in the fall of 2012, the new association was founded under the name "Pikler international".

 

The Association international Pikler (Lóczy), AIP(L), which ceased its activity, did not leave a gap, but contributed to the emergence of the new structure with its broader base and wider objectives, which can better respond to the needs of those who fear an inappropriate transmission of Pikler ideas and a rigid application.

 

Raymonde Caffari

Member of the Board AIP(L)