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New York, NY, USA - The Universal Peace Federation held its annual symposium to mark the United Nations International Day of Families May 17 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The event was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Guinea with co-sponsorship from the Permanent Missions of Kazakhstan, Nepal, Nigeria, Qatar, Sri Lanka, and Sudan.
The symposium examined this year’s theme, the “Impact of Migration on Families Around the World” with special attention to the stresses and strains on family traditions, marriage and child-rearing. “Strong, healthy families are vital to the success of so many of the UN’s larger goals, including the Millennium Development Goals,” said Lynn Walsh, director of UPF’s Marriage, Family and Peace Initiative.
The message of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was read by UPF Secretary General Taj Hamad, and representatives from the sponsoring Permanent Missions offered remarks. Among the speakers were H.E. Mr. Alpha Ibrahima Sow, Permanent Mission of Guinea; H.E. Mr. Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, Permanent Mission of Sudan; H.E. Miss Alya Ahmed S. Al-Thani, Permanent Mission of Qatar; and H.E. Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, Permanent Mission of Nepal. Particular focus was placed on the challenges that families divided by the migration of one or both parents face in bringing up their children to respect traditional cultures and norms.
Other featured speakers included Ms. Sharon Slater, President of Family Watch International, who urged the United Nations to cease promoting anti-family educational policies that end up frustrating the fulfillment of larger UN objectives. Dr. Frederick Swarts of the World Association of NGOs introduced a new ‘Code of ethics for the family” being launched by WANGO. Ms. Muriel Glasgow of MG Associates and Ms. Renate Kaczmarska, Acting Focal Point for the United Nations Programme on the Family, spoke about how technology and social networking can be used to bring divided migrant families closer together. Finally, interactive group sessions allowed all the 50 participants to share ideas and make their voices heard.
UPF chapters around the world celebrated the UN International Day of Families for a full week. For more information, click here.