French naturist Armand Jamier was on Saturday 19 November 2016 elected as new President of the International Naturist Federation, replacing Sieglinde Ivo, who has served as the INF President for a number of years. The outcome was emotional for some, one delegate even broke into tears when the result of the secret balllot was announced.
Armand Jamier, the new INF President, is 51 years old and currently President of the French naturist association. His candidacy was announced only minutes before the vote was about to take place In contrast, Sieglinde Ivo had followed the bylaws and distributed her details and intentions to all the heads of delegations thtee months ago in three languages.
In the future, this practice of last minute fielding of candidates can no longer take place. A motion was proposed and accepted that from now on, if there is a candidate that has been lawfully proposed, a contestant can not be proposed in the last minute before the vote.
Armand's decission to accept the nomination was influenced by the general sense among even the countries controlling the majority of the votes, that it was time to shift gear and work more aggressively for naturism also in the online world of news and social media. Something the past leadership team had not seen as very important.
In the photo above, French Armand Javier, the new INF President, is seated as number four in the front row - next to Gregers Moller, the delegate from Thailand, who despite his single vote several times during the Congress took to the floor and urged the INF leadership to speak up and be seen and heard more as the defender and promoter of naturism world wide.
As treasurer, the old office holder Rolf Beat Hofstetter was challenged by the young dynamic President of the New Zealand fraction, Wendy Lowe. But in this vote, the majority of the votes went to Rolf Hofstetter. Sending a signal that wheras change was needed, drastic changes was not desirable.
The delegates clearly spent much time during the three day congress fiddling about with minor statute adjustments and the like. However, looking back, a bunch of good motions were approved which makes the future for INF look very promising.
- It was decided that the Leadership of INF will be expanded from currently the Executive Committee (EC) which is a triumvirate of the President, the Vice president and the Treasurer to fully include also two members from the Central Committee (CC) who are a bit old fashioned named Assessors. One of the two, Huub Gieser, is Assessor for EU countries, the other is Kay Hannam from New Zealand who was reelected as the Assessor for Non-EU countries.
- Another decission was to introduce two new leadership positions to promote and protect naturism. The two people that the INF will start looking for soon must be familiar with both traditional and new media public relations. Their jobs will be to coordinate the PR efforts of all the member federations to work as one orchestrated body to disseminate in the media, the social media and the general public that naturism as fun, harmless, good for you and practised by millions world wide.
- It was also decided that the INF must communicate statistics about how many users take benefits form the INF passportshould and where benefits are offered to cardholders.
- Member federations now also have the right to request a statement from the Leadership of INF on any matter to be used in influencer activities like press releases on the local level, showing international support and awareness about a local issue.
- A shared library of marketing plans and other business development projects will also be established, allowing for instance Naturist Association Thailand to download and modify for local use a marketing initiative that was successful in for instance Australia.
- Making up to 5000 euros available yearly for support of indisputable scientifìc research into the benefits of naturism including compiling available research already undertaken and updating results of previous research projects.
On the first day a proposal to allow naturist federations in individual US states access to become membersuccessful of the INF was accepted by majority, but the delegates were later informed that as the proposal would mean changing the statutes of the INF, simple majority was not enough. It would have needed 2/3 majority and it did not obtain that many votes.
The new President declared, however, that he would focus hard on bringing the US naturist organisations back. There are mainly three players, the AANR representing most resorts and clubs in the US, the Naturist Society and the dynamic Young Naturists of America.
It is not known where the next INF congress will take place. The statutes were changed to stress that at least every tenth year, the Congress should take place outside of Europe. But it could be more frequently if proposals for hosting elsewhere were accepted.
The session ended with a nude photos session with all the delegates. Some observers were also invited, which allowed Malaysian Chew Tok Wha and American Claudia Kellersch to join in.
The evening was set aside for a stylish dinner in black and white. After the dinner, a female band filled the dance floor and not too far into the evening the stylish outfits dissolved into black socks and bare buttocks. With the local hosts leading on.
From all sides there was praise for New Zealand as wonderful hosts. A tremendous job well done!
The INF Congress was attended by 28 delegates representing naturists in 33 countries.
Worldwide, an estimated 16 million people practice naturism. Of these, 5,8 million naturists live in Europe.
France alone earns an estimated 300 million euros on naturist tourism every year with 3,5 million naturists vacationing in that country.
INF is financed by 160.000 paying naturist members of Naturist clubs or Naturist associations around the world with the exception of the United States of America.
Naturist Association Thailand was given 1 vote at the INF World Congress in 2016 - the lowest number of votes among all delegates, based on its 2016 number of 100 paying members.
In comparison, Holland commands with 60.000 naturists 34 votes.