Speech by Stéphane Deschénes in the last session of the Global Naturist Forum, under the theme “Working together as a global community”.
Canadian Stéphane Deschénes owns the Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park Naturist Campground in Ontario, Canada. He held the position of Vocal of non-European countries of the FNI (assumed by a person not residing in Europe) and is presenting the candidacy for President of the FNI for the next World Congress. Other panelists in the fourth and final session of the Forum were Gregers Moller , current member or spokesperson for non-European countries and founder of the Naturist Association Thailand , and Edwin Kilby , international relations member of the British Naturist Federation, BN . Jon Williams coordinated the interventions, Vice Chairman of British Naturism (BN).
Intervention by Stéphane Deschénes
In November 2020, British Naturism held the Global Naturist Forum on the Internet. I was a panelist in the last session of the second day which was titled “Working together as a global community”. This naturally put the focus on the International Naturist Federation (INF-FNI), which is an organization that has been the subject of much criticism in recent years. Many question its relevance and some have called for its dissolution.
There is no doubt that the FNI has not moved with the times. But my point of view during my speech was that the organization is worth saving because, with some reforms, it could still play an important role in the naturist world.
There are two main reasons why I believe the FNI should continue to exist. First, an internationally established body gives credence to naturism. Each member of the FNI can feel and present themselves as part of a worldwide movement. Having an international representation gives the impression of a united and organized movement (although that is not always accurate). Additionally, there is accumulated value and credibility stemming from the fact that the FNI has been around since 1953.
Second, with globalization and the Internet the world is getting smaller, which means that people are searching for information beyond the borders of their country. The FNI can provide a way for federations to share information and learn from each other. The FNI can collect information internationally, analyze it and then disseminate it.
It is at this second point where the current FNI has lost its way. The organization is not a governing body, and yet it sometimes acts that way. It was created by the federations of all countries to be their international association. It is a federation of federations, and it exists to serve and support them.
The main objective of the FNI should be information. It should be the central point where federations share information with each other. It should facilitate and encourage communication between countries. When you address naturists, the people, the government, the media, you must do so on behalf of the federations. It should be an amplifier for your voices.
The FNI has been confused for many years about its role. He has frequently tackled projects that bypass federations, reaching directly to naturists. A few decades ago he started publishing his own magazine. The FNI tried to make the magazine look like a tool to support the federations. But I suppose it will come as no surprise that federations saw it differently, as direct competition with their own magazines, which at the time were important sources of income. And they refused to distribute it among their members. When the FNI tried to distribute it directly to naturists it failed, also perhaps because the articles were too generic or so localized that they were irrelevant to most readers.
The FNI fails every time it tries to convey a single message, because there are too many differences in naturism between different countries. The culture and history of the movement differ so much in each society that the message must be adapted to each location. We can’t even all agree on whether it’s called “naturism” or “nudism.” Any attempt to create a homogeneous international message is irrelevant at best, or offensive at worst.
Source: Spanish Federation of Naturism
Original publication 31 December, 2020
Posted on NatCorn 15th January 2021
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