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Marriage and Family

Conference in Canada on the Restorative Power of the Family

Canada-2014-10-25-Family conference

Toronto, Canada - UPF-Canada and the Women’s Federation for World Peace held a joint district conference on Oct. 25, 2014.  The conference was focused on the family entitled, “Deepening our understanding of the traditional family and exploring its restorative power." The conference had joint MCs Paul Musembwa and Eveline Stewart, who were vibrant and kept the day moving with vitality.

The conference opened with two minutes of silent prayers for the two armed forces officers who had been assassinated earlier that week in Montreal and Ottawa at Parliament Hill. They were Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. These were deemed as terrorist attacks. Imam Abdul Hai Patel made a notable appearance at the conference, offered his sincere condolences to Canada, and said he is working to calm people because of the escalated hostility toward Muslims after these attacks.

The conference continued with an invocation from Rev. Earl Smith of the Church of Scientology, followed by "O Canada," the national anthem. Dr. Moonshik Kim, UPF chair in Canada, opened the conference with welcoming remarks and shared a bit of Dr. Sun Myung Moon’s vision for peace. Rev. Franco Famularo, UPF-Canada secretary general , spoke about the five principles of UPF, Renewal of the United Nations, Interfaith peacebuilding, Peace and security, Marriage and family, and Culture of peace, noting and that this conference was focused on family.

Although the content was about family, it was obvious that the conference was focused on interfaith as well, seen through the diversity of faiths, religions, and races in attendance. About 70 people were in attendance, including people of various races and representatives from Unificationism, Christianity, Islam, Latter Day Saints, Scientology and Hinduism.

The conference consisted of two videos, three panel presentations with four presenters each followed by questions and answers, and a spirit-filled keynote address by the Rev. Dr. Don Meredith, senator of Canada.  The conference covered topics on the family. The key message delivered was, “Let’s work together to strengthen the family in Canada.”

Panel 1: How to maintain a harmonious life as a couple and family in today's cultural environment?

In a nation where the divorce rate hovers around 60 percent and parental authority has been undermined, what personal, moral and religious values have been helpful in keeping couples/families together? What factors contribute to family disintegration and what are formulas for success? How can a “culture of the family” be promoted in the city, province and nation?

Erroll Gibbs, a motivational speaker and author, related how he and his wife made a point to be present and put the electronic media away for family time; he also emphasized the importance of the parents of the husband and parents of the wife building a relationship that will help assure the success of their children’s marriage.

Yvette Shank, president of the Church of Scientology, shared about their tradition of sharing openly between spouses and parents and children. Such “family confessionals” contribute to good communications and trust, she said.

Dr. Tyrone Childs, counselor and author, shared about his Internet Relationship Course, which he designed and developed to sustain principles of purity, love-honesty and unselfishness.

Rev. Mitch Dixon, UPF co-director, introduced the concept of “I am third": God first, people I relate to second, and then myself. This notion of putting others above self was tought to him as a young man and remains a constant guide.

Panel 2: Learning from challenges of immigrant families to integrate while keeping their family values and guiding their children toward sustaining those values

Coming to a new country holds many promises as well as many challenges for immigrants. Parents have to adapt to a very different society and may feel that their own values are threatened. Children, on the other hand, will more readily absorb and integrate in this new environment. How does a new Canadian family successfully integrate as a family unit while maintaining the norms and values of their culture of origin?

Ms. Zohra Zoberi, artistic director of Bridging the Gap Productions, shared about experiences in her Pakistani community and her own family. When her nine-year-old son came back from school in tears after being called “Paki,” she explained to him that “PAKI” stood for Pure, Able, Knowledgeable and Intelligent, all qualities she wanted him to embody.

Other speakers who talked about their families' experiences immigrating to Canada included Ms. Bahi Krishnakhanthan, motivational speaker, facilitator and psychotherapist; Dr. Hoossen Auckbaraullee, UPF co-director, chaplain and multi-faith consultant; Mrs. Lilly Tadin, president of the Women's Federation for World Peace-Canada and vice president of the federation for North America.

Panel 3: What is the role of restorative justice in building stronger families for world peace?

Father John Funelas, chaplain at Warkworth prison, shared his experiences working with prisoners and families of victims to achieve some healing. Dr. Jalal Mortazavi, speaker for the Community Inclusivity Reference Group and a student of Buddhism, related his experience in Iran and how incarceration impacts the whole family. Other speakers in the session included Chief Kai Lui, chief of police in Cobourg, Ontario and domestic violence specialist, and Mr. Edmond Young, UPF central district consultant.

Dr. Auckbaraullee commented, “This is a great conference, I feel it.  You know it is a great conference when you feel it.” It implied that the spirit of God is guiding this effort to rejuvenate true family values in the society.

Dr. Kim, the conference chair, commissioned four people as Ambassadors for Peace. These were Father Funelas, Chief Liu, Dr. Mortazavi and Ms. Krishnakhanthan.

In the end, Rev. Stoyan Tadin called people to leave their diversities at home and work together for peace. Dr. Auckbaraullee closed the meeting by thanking everyone for coming and individually thanked all those who made this conference possible.

Copies of the PowerPoint presentations can be obtained by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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