FIA is a global federation of performers’ trade unions, guilds and professional associations. In a connected world of content and entertainment, it is committed to enhancing the social, economic and moral rights entitlements of performers worldwide.

President's Message

May 2021

My Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am Gabrielle Carteris, president of SAG-AFTRA, and I am thrilled to be able to write you today as president of FIA. I was elected during FIA’s 22nd World Congress, and I am proud to be the first American to fill the role.

Ours is truly a global industry, and the importance of an international federation such as FIA cannot be overstated. Actors and performers the world over — and indeed all workers — share many of the same concerns, and we can only effectively address those issues together.

I am pleased and humbled to help lead that fight. I say help because the fight to improve working conditions is and always has been a collective effort. As we start emerging from what may well be the most challenging year of our lifetimes, we have a lot of work to do together and vital roles to play. FIA has empowered countless working artists, and we’re not even close to done.

It’s important that workers have the right to collective bargaining, are free from sexual harassment and discrimination, and enjoy safe and inclusive workplaces. As the industry evolves, we must also make sure that technology serves artists rather than threatening their livelihoods. That’s why it’s so important we have strong protections for performers’ rights in their image, likeness and name, as well as other intellectual property rights.

The inequities laid bare by the pandemic have sparked an awakening and a noticeable shift in the discourse about the importance of workers. We must seize this moment to drive home the importance of organized labor, while at the same time rebuilding the vibrant live entertainment industry that has been devastated by COVID.

The stakes couldn’t be higher, but I am excited to work with my fellow members of FIA and unions around the world to protect and empower working people.

In closing, I want to acknowledge Ferne Downey for her steady leadership over the last nine years; we are so fortunate to have had her expertise and inspiration. The Federation is better for her service and we all owe her a debt of gratitude.

I am so excited to take on this new role, and I know that, with your involvement, we will make a profound and lasting difference.

I look forward to meeting those of you who are new members and seeing old friends.

Strength in unity,


Frequently Asked Question

To learn more about FIA, read the answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Question (FAQ):

What is FIA?

The International Federation of Actors (FIA) is a global federation of performers’ trade unions, guilds and professional associations. Founded in 1952, it represents several hundreds of thousands of performers with some 80 member organisations in more than 60 countries around the world. FIA’s main purpose is to voice the professional interests of actors (in film, television, radio, digital media, theatre and live performance), broadcast professionals, dancers, singers, variety and circus artists and others.

Internationally, FIA works on any subject matter that may impact on the working lives of the professionals it represents. It advocates primarily to improve the working conditions and advance the economic and social rights of performers, but equally also to campaign for the value of the cultural and creative sector in which they work.

When was FIA founded?

Set up in 1952 by British Actors’ Equity and the Syndicat Français des Artistes-Interprètes, FIA has today grown into a truly global organisation with affiliated members in every continent.

More about FIA history

Who runs FIA?

FIA’s current President is American actress, Gabrielle Carteris. She is assisted by six Vice Presidents from Sweden, Russia, France, Uruguay, the UK and Canada – together forming the FIA Presidium. The Executive additionally comprises members representing Japan, New-Zealand, India, Croatia, Morocco, Denmark, Argentina and Turkey. The FIA Executive Committee meets annually and Congress takes place every four years. The FIA Secretariat is based in Brussels.

More about how we’re run

What does FIA do?

FIA’s policy and activity agenda is broad and busy. Our work encompasses several fields of activity. Our main objectives include:

– Developing and promoting the organisation of performers worldwide and working with member unions to meet the challenge of organising in a fast-changing industry and employment landscape;

– Carrying out advocacy work at international level in order to bring the voice of performers into policy-making on topics as diverse as social security and taxation; health and safety; trade policy; artistic freedom; cultural diversity; gender equality; professional mobility; intellectual property and many others;

– Safeguarding and promoting the intellectual property rights of performers and working to ensure that they can deliver a meaningful return in an increasingly digitalized world;

– Promoting networking and solidarity among its membership: the exchange of resources and expertise between its members is one of FIA’s great strengths. The federation seeks to promote such networking through regular meetings, congresses, projects, capacity-building work and twinning agreements, as well as good communication in general. FIA has a key role in conveying and coordinating international solidarity to member unions involved in industrial disputes;

– Providing useful information to the membership on issues like mobility, employment standards in other countries, co-productions etc. Compiling expertise and resources on issues that impact on the lives of performers worldwide, such as, for example, the protection of child performers, the moral rights of performers, work-life balance in the live performance and audiovisual sectors, etc.;

– Advocating for the value of the cultural and creative sector; for freedom of artistic expression; for strong public policies enhancing cultural diversity and sustainable funding mechanisms for growth and jobs in the audiovisual and live performance sector;

– Representing its members in key international fora: as an NGO, FIA enjoys permanent consultative and participatory status with the World Intellectual Property organisation (WIPO); the International Labour Organisation (ILO); UNESCO, the OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie), the Council of Europe and the European Audiovisual Observatory, where it conveys the views and concerns of the performers it represents. At EU level, FIA is a recognised representative European social partner in both the live performance and audiovisual sectoral social dialogue committees, with a full mandate to represent its members.

FIA also includes several regional and linguistic groups, whose members meet regularly to discuss issues of common interest and also to feed into the global policy of the Federation.

Who are the members of FIA?

The members of FIA are unions, guilds and associations of professional performers representing actors, dancers, singers, variety and circus artists and others. FIA, together with its sister federation, the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), represents the vast majority of organised performers throughout the world in a labour capacity.

More about FIA members

Can Individual performers join FIA?

Membership of FIA is open to performers’ unions, guilds and professional associations only. FIA does not represent individuals other than through their respective representative organisations. Though we cannot provide advice or assistance to individual performers, we warmly encourage them to become members of a trade union in their country.

How many organisations belong to FIA?

Membership of FIA is about 80 organisations in more than 60 countries around the world. Exact figures may fluctuate from year to year. For an updated membership description, please see our list of members on this website

How do organisations apply to join FIA?

FIA is always glad to welcome new members and interested organisations may contact the Secretariat in writing or by any other means to find out more about benefits and services. An application page, including forms, the FIA Constitution and other relevant information is available on this website. The Executive Committee considers new membership applications annually. The Secretariat is happy to answer any questions about joining the Federation.

Join FIA

How is FIA funded?

FIA is funded by its member unions and is run with the membership’s full participation and representation in all areas of policy-making and activity. Occasionally, external funding can be sought from trade union centres, the European CommissionUNESCO or other sources to support specific projects. FIA also cooperates with a few collecting management organisations and occasionally derives additional funding for specific projects from this source.

Does FIA belong to any trade union centre?
FIA as such does not belong to any centre. It is independent and free to orientate its policy as its members see fit. However, together with sister federations FIM and UNI MEI, it forms the International Arts and Entertainment Alliance, which is officially recognised as a Global Union Federation by the ITUC (the International Trade Union Confederation). The ETUC (the European Trade Union Confederation) equally regards this alliance at European level as a European Industry Federation.
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