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UN International Day of Families 2012

Day of Families Observed throughout Russia

UPF-Russia organized a variety of programs in 11 cities throughout the federation on the International Day of Families, including forums, round-table discussions, artistic and cultural activities, visits to veterans, and a beauty pageant.

Moscow - Ambassadors for Peace Meeting, May 15

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Message on the International Day of Families was read to the audience. The purpose of the meeting was discussing ways and methods of creating good families with traditional values.

Alexei Savelyev, president of the Family Federation for World Peace-Russia, noted that out of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals at least six are related to the family. He also said that the family as the main element of the community is the keeper of human values, culture, and the historical succession of generations; it is a factor of stability and development. Owing to the family, the state becomes stronger and the population prospers. According to new media, US President Barack Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage; but Alexei emphasized preserving the family as a unit of one man and one woman.

Vladimir Arsenkin, a retired lieutenant-commander representing the City Association of Korean War veterans, spoke about traditional family values, insisting that without these values there would be no stability in the nation. Born in the family with 11 children, he emphasized that in the pre-revolutionary Russia, such families were the norm and children usually took care of the parents in their old age. Many modern social problems of the national level could be solved with creation of stable families.

Alexander Leonov, chair of the Moscow Association “Goodness beyond borders” and leader of the Volunteer Initiatives Consortium “The Way of Goodness,” gave a presentation on “Family values or when a family becomes the family: practical experience of working with children from unfavorable social environment.” He said that according to statistics in Russia, there are 80,000 orphans, and one child out of five grows up in unfavorable circumstances; parents’ daily communication with their children is often limited to 10–15 minutes; meanwhile they spend about 19 minutes a day searching for a parking place. Mr. Leonov also said that transmission of values is indispensable for successful development of any state; one graphic example is the difficulty in developing family businesses in Russia, while in Europe family businesses play a considerable role in state economies.

Valentina Orlova, president of the Association “Russia – Norway” stressed that that young people should think more about their duty and responsibility towards their state and families and not focus so much on standing up for their rights. She said that the community should think more about the growing generation and the future of our children as responsible people prepared to create good families.

Finally, representatives of the Universal Peace Federation shared about the UPF recent projects and plans for the coming summer. The atmosphere of the meeting was warm and friendly.

Moscow - Mr. and Miss University Pageant Finale, May 12

The final of the Moscow Pageant of character and lifestyle beauty “Mister and Miss University 2012” took place in the hospitable premises of the State Social University of Russia. Among the contestants were students of leading Moscow universities. The pageant emphasized beauty of character and lifestyle, moral values, volunteerism, peacemaking, and family values.

As part of the contest, the students participated in an educational workshop and carried out a number of volunteer projects. The contestants organized a community work day at a nursing home, a celebration for refugee children, and assisted with the Young Masters contest for orphan children.

In the finale, the contestants shared about their dreams, values, and life priorities, demonstrated their talents, and answered the questions of the jury. The jury, which included university professors, artists, and people working in various cultural fields, had a difficult time choosing the winners because each candidate was so talented and ambitious. Thus, all contestants became winners in some category. Murad Abbasov (Moscow Technical University) and Olesya Zoshenko (Moscow Technical University) became Mister and Miss University.

Moscow - New Television Channel Created on the International Day of Families, May 14

A meeting dedicated to establishing the Moscow Public Television channel took place in the Pushkin Library. In the opinion of the main initiator of this project, Ambassador for Peace and head editor of the international Russian-language magazine “Big Washington” Sergei Kuznetsov, “the largest megalopolis, Moscow, has a right to possess an independent, non-governmental, interfaith, international, and national television channel.” Other participants emphasized importance of a values-oriented TV channel.

It was decided to create a set of different activity orientations; each commanded by well-known and recognizable personalities in their spheres, among them: laureate of international contests, a singer and composer, head of the organization “The clear Spring” S.I. Russkaya; chair of the poetry section of the Moscow Writers Association, a poet, writer, script writer M.P. Solovyeva; Dr. of philosophy, Professor of the World Civilizations Institute, a board member of the RF Writers’ Association  I.B. Chubais;  head of the Tula community in Moscow, E.M. Davydov; president of the charitable organization “The Sail of Hope” (with UN consultative status), L.N. Zelentsova and others. Universal Peace Federation represented by Konstantin Krylov was appointed for supervising the international and interfaith policy of the channel.

All agreed that broadcasts should not be aimed at things that are easy to sell; they should promote values important for the development of a moral and civilized society. It is noteworthy that the activists understand the importance of family and culture, because other Moscow TV channels that once were a means of communication between Muscovites and NGOs have eliminated programs connected with culture and spirituality.

Moscow - Promoting Family Values on the Streets, May 15

The "Youth Alliance" Youth Center of the south-east district of Moscow (Kuzminski), together with UPF, initiated an outdoor activity called “Give me a smile,” with the support of the local Department of Family and Youth Policy. Volunteers congratulated passers-by on the International Day of Families and handed them good luck “wish-cards”, colored balloons, and fliers with information about the Day of Families. They also conducted a survey to see if citizens knew about the Day of Families and what they thought of it. Only 38 percent of respondents answered in the positive, and only five percent of them participated in programs of the Day of Families. Ninety-eight percent acknowledged that strong families guarantee the foundation of a state and almost the same percentage consider that TV and media do little to promote family values.

The volunteers expressed hope that such actions will prompt people to think more about family values and feel responsible to improve the situation in this important sphere of life.

Kamensk-Uralsky - A Story of the Old Photo

In Yekaterinburg and the Sverdlovsk region, a series of meetings took place in May on the theme of “A story of the old photo.” They brought together children and people who participated in World War II or lived in that period. An event took place in the municipal library of the Ural Culture Center in Yekaterinburg. In Kamensk-Uralsky, Sverdlovsk region, such an event was organized for the first time.

Participants discussed issues of world peace and the role of the family in peacebuilding. Representatives of UPF-Urals told about UPF's peacemaking activities worldwide and its support for UN commemorative days such as the International Day of Families.

Among the participants were genealogists who told the children about genealogical trees and how to make them.

The Great Patriotic War has left its traces in all families; therefore, the stories by grandfathers and grandmothers about their life were very instructive and informative. Children brought old family photos, war orders, and old documents. Veterans traditionally came to the meeting and shared with children their stories about war times.

The history of the world, nation, city, and street is made of the combined experience of people, families, compatriots, and ancestors. Children were encouraged to preserve their legacy, remember their names, take care of their graves, and help their parents, because all this belongs to their family tree and our kin. People's dreams can be realized only when they are grounded in the positive experience of the past.

Kazan - Celebration at the Temple of All Religions, May 13

A large and colorful celebration initiated by activists and associates of UPF in Kazan, capital of the autonomous republic of Tatarstan was hosted by the Temple of All Religions, a widely known sanctuary near the Tatarstan Holy Shrine. This unique complex, which has been under construction since 1992, includes elements of an Orthodox church, Muslim mosque, Jewish synagogue, and Buddhist pagoda. The Secretary General of UPF-Moscow, Dmitry Samko, described the history of the Day of Families and recent UN activities; then he shared about UPF programs aimed at strengthening marriage and family throughout Russia. The message of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was read by Nargiz Ismailova, Ambassador for Peace and a runner-up in the Miss University pageant of 2010. Also a short but very inspiring speech by Engel Rkshakovich Tagirov moved the hearts of the audience.

After the official program, the majority of the participants, headed by Yulia Gosteva, a master athlete who has competed internationally, took part in a “Run Hour” activity to raise public awareness about the International Day of Families and the Temple of All Religions. Finally, participants helped with construction work on the temple, thus making a sincere contribution to this noble undertaking.

Khabarovsk - Families Stand for Values, May 15

UPF conducted a number of programs in which people discussed family values in order to raise awareness of the International Day of Families. Volunteers interviewed young people on the streets about their readiness to start a family and their understanding of the difference between real feelings of love and infatuation.

At the Far-East Institute of International Relations (Rector: Vaganova Tatyana Dmitrievna) an interactive training on preparation for establishing a family and the modern situation of the family was conducted by Ambassador for Peace and leader of the UPF in Far-East Russia, Ivan Marychev. There were heated discussions about what kind of relationship should be the basis for starting a good and loving family. Future trainings are planned, because young people have no other channel to obtain information on this issue since the official curriculum doesn’t include such subjects.

On the same day, a training about the role of parents and family values was offered to 6th-form students at school #76 in Khabarovsk. The children showed a lively interest in the issue of family relations, what those relations should be like, and what they can learn in the family. Many of these children come from one-parent or divorced families.

Finally, volunteers handed out leaflets in a city square with information about the International Day of Families. The majority of the public didn’t know about the occasion, so this was a good opportunity to inform them about this commemorative day as well as stimulate them to think about the family and family values.

Novosibirsk - Round Table on “Ensuring Work-Family Balance for the Benefit of Families and the Community as a Whole,” May 12

A round table about work-family balance took place at the Manhattan event center with about 40 participants including experts in family issues and human rights, teachers, psychologists, grassroots leaders, university students, and volunteers from youth organizations.

A reading of the Message of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the International Day of Families opened the meeting, followed by a video address by Andron Konchalovsky citing distressing statistics about the population decline in Russia and the problems of the elderly people, homeless, and orphan. This led to a discussion about how to help young people establish and support families, raise children in a good moral and spiritual environment, and contribute to the social and economic development of their communities.

Nadezhda Latrygina, president of the women’s association “Zhito,” commented: “It is important that we acknowledge parents' work as essential to the community and formulate supportive labor policies. Here sociologists, journalists, representative of the families with many children and other experts must make their impact.”

Andrey Kharlamov, head of the commercials and public relations department of the Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University said: “The state should recognize responsibility of business in the field of the family policy and support it."

Lyudmila Kuznetsova, a student at the Pedagogical University, emphasized problems of social orphanhood: “The media is neglecting this theme; the community’s attention should be drawn to the problem by inviting people to create public-service announcements and by developing programs to prepare young people for family life.”

Nadezhda Artyomova, head of the city grassroots “Center of family education ‘Family and children,” said: “Today we are witnessing the third wave of orphanhood, and many women do not want to become mothers; thus, the maternal instinct may be lost after three generations. We should organize material support for women and families with little income and collect food and clothes for pregnant women. This will help them to avoid the stigma of being a needy family. We should organize social audits and monitor funds that support families. We should do everything to make the family a priority in public policy.”

Svetlana Posvyashennaya, leader of the organization “City of Light,” suggested that Russia needs an institute of volunteerism to promote civic engagement.

Alexander Khvan, director of the Center for Economics and Structure, introduced the following practical ideas:

  • Involving young specialists into creating innovative family groups including pre-school and schoolchildren;
  • Creating a woodland park in the village of Krasnoobsk as a place for family recreation.

Svetlana Bizyaeva, director of the company “Bioscop,” spoke about the need to educate the young generation in moral principles. She proposed:

  • Organizing “pure love” programs for young people and the community about the need to keep purity before marriage;
  • Influencing the media to stop showing commercials promoting alcohol use and TV series that undermine morals;
  • Creating an initiative group to monitor commercials.

Evgeny Bryndin, head of the movement “Moral Russia,” spoke about the importance of the family as a spiritual and moral unit, creating a family culture, and teaching children moral principles and a healthy lifestyle.

Margarita Vladovskaya, leader of the spiritual center “Brahma Kumaris,” said that problems in the family reflect people's internal state. All wrongs have an internal nature. Together with social reforms, people should be taught to be givers and take responsibility to solve their spiritual problems.

Elena Petrisheva, a psychologist, conducted a mini training about helping women find happiness by participating in some kind of social activity. She also gave some practical advice on the matter.

Dmitry Oficerov, chair of UPF-Novosibirsk, defined the main problem of the family as a crisis of character. The state can support families, but it can't cultivate character, because this is the mission of the family.

As the result of the round table, participants listed following recommendations to the government, society, and individuals.

For the government:

  • Recognize parents' work as socially important and urgent and make corresponding amendments to the labor code;
  • Recognize the responsibility of businesses in promoting family policies. For example, grant benefits if a family business is promising; since the family's material prosperity and well-being are interconnected, this will be an incentive that sill strengthen families;
  • Develop educational programs for youth on preparation for family life so they can become responsible parents, guaranteeing spiritual and moral well-being of their future families;
  • Offer couples psychological tests before marriage and organize joint courses for young couples during pregnancy.

For society:


  • Promote forming of the state family policy concept involving experts in different fields;
  • Define the value of the family for the future of humankind;
  • Families should become subject of the state family policy;
  • Organize a social audit to control expenditures of funds aimed at family programs.


  • Draw social attention to the problem of social orphanhood by using commercials and public relations;
  • Highlight the problems of families through forums, create target groups. Publicize the stories of orphan children;
  • Acts of prevention of social orphanhood among youth – contests of social commercials, video in metro etc.
  • Register damaging for the family acts in media and commercials;
  • Create an initiative to monitor commercials.

(Orphan children and mothers with little income)

  • Involve inhabitants of children’s homes in social projects along with other participants;
  • Help with successful socialization of children’s homes graduates;
  • Help mothers in a difficult life situation, guaranteeing additional aid in the form of food, clothes, etc.

(Projects and innovations)

  • Involve young specialists in creating innovative family groups of pre-school and school-age children;
  • Create a woodland park in Krasnoobsk as a family recreation zone;
  • Create a family home, granting jobs to the those adults who live in it, so that people could spend more time with their families;
  • Organize “pure love” activities.

For individuals and families:

  • Raise one's level of community engagement;
  • Consider one's family a spiritual and moral group;
  • Create a family culture by teaching moral principles and healthy lifestyle to the children;
  • Take responsibility for solving spiritual problems;
  • Create family traditions that keep the family intact and help solve problems.

Perm - Perm City College Welcomes Day of Families, May 15

At a meeting of students in the Social Work Department of the Pedagogical College #1, the leader of the Women’s Federation for World Peace in Perm, Lyubov Kuklina, talked about the International Day of Families and read UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Message related to the day. The participants discussed the theme “Guaranteeing the work-family balance.”

Then Svetlana Serdochenko, a board member of the Women’s Federation in Perm, assisted by her seven-year old son and one-year daughter, conducted a master-class in creating festive cards in the quilling style. A number of works created by the 17 participants will be given to people as a token of care.

Perm - Meeting of World War II Veterans, May 8

The Women’s Federation in Perm participated in a meeting of about 60 veterans of the war and home front in the Social Center “Chkalovsky.” The leader of the Center, Eleonora Gorayeva, and leader of the Women’s Federation of Perm, Lyubov Kuklina welcomed the veterans, who sang songs of the war period, recited poetry dedicated to the Day of Victory, and shared their recollections of war times. Thereafter, veterans received gifts prepared for them by women from the Social Center and by students of plant-growing department of the Agro-industrial College at master-classes conducted by representatives of the Women’s Federation during the Spring Week of Goodness. A deputy of the city duma, Denis Ushakov, helped arrange for the meeting.

Pokrovskoye - Children's Arts Project

Two master-classes in social painting dedicated to the International Day of Families took place in the village of Pokrovskoye in the Sverdlovsk region as part of UPF's “City helps the Village” project. Two wonderful talented women from the Center “Naturalia”, Olga Kornienko and Angela Byordova, conducted a series of "social painting" activities for children in orphanages and rehabilitation centers.

In "social painting" drawings are made by the united efforts of all participants, and the result depends on the harmonious interaction of all participants. Social painting is a powerful tool for teach conflict resolution and conflict prevention. Groups of participants are given a certain amount of time for drawing at one table, and when the time is up, they move to the next table and continue a drawing made by another group. Then they return to their table and survey the result of the joint efforts. Guided by wise leadership, the young artists can work together like members of a loving family. The emotional, artistic, and social experiences gained during such "lessons” can be invaluable, especially in settings such as orphanages and rehabilitation centers.

Ryazan - Celebration at a Children's Library, May 13

Olga Vakulinskaya, president of the Women’s Federation for World Peace in Russia, described the organization's activities, and Mrs. Aoki, a representative of the Japanese Women’s Federation, talked about the ideal of people of different nationalities living together as one family and combining efforts to help people in need locally and internationally.

Then representatives of different nationalities and ethnic groups - Russians, Ossetians, Tajiks, and Jews - shared their traditions' “secrets of a happy family”; they were much the same – love, respect, forgiveness, and sincerity in relations.

This was followed by an international concert in which Russians, Ukrainians, and Tajiks sang songs, recited poetry, and performed dances. A special feature of the concert was the the performance of a national folk dance of Cameroon by Crist Ken, a student at the Medical University in Ryazan.

After the end of the program, everyone shared informally and enjoyed saxophone music and delicious treats.

Ryazan - Family Celebration for Orphans, May 15

Representatives of UPF, the Association of Teachers for Spirituality and Morality, and the Committee of Social Security organized a program at the children’s home in the village of Solotcha. The purpose of the meeting was to show the children that people of different nationalities, religions, and cultures can live and work together in peace: people may be different but we can communicate with each other and live in harmony. To illustrate this point, there were performances organized by Russians, Ukrainians, Moldovans, and Cameroonians. The boys and girls willingly participated in dialogue afterwards and enjoyed sweet treats.

For many of them, the children’s home is the only family they have. Like everyone, they want a family experience. Their hearts were touched by the vision of a harmonious world of people of all skin colors, nationalities, ages, and religions!

St. Petersburg - A round table on "The Family as Core," April 21

A discussion about the demographic challenges of the modern times was presented by Lydia Verb, doctor of pedagogical sciences and Professor at the Culture and Art University. The following statistics were cited: annually, the population of the planet grows by 78 million, mainly in underdeveloped countries (97 percent). At the beginning of 2012, the population of Russia was 143 million. There are reasons for the limited growth of the population in developed nations, including Russia, among them:

  • Ecological catastrophes
  • Economic problems
  • Migration problems

The participants in the round table came to the opinion that these problems should be urgently addressed starting from primary school by including moral education in the curriculum. A course developed by the Art and Culture University is available, and there are experts ready to teach it. It was decided to address the issue to the Legislative Board of St. Petersburg.

In the second part of the program, participants discussed the importance of preserving family traditions. This program block was presented by Tatyana Krasnosumova, Secretary General of UPF-Northwest Russia. The participants developed a model of an ideal family symbolized by a house with LOVE as a foundation and family RELATIONS (loyalty, respect, support, etc.) as its walls. Then they came to the opinion that the roof of the house should be made of FAMILY TRADITIONS that unite all members of the family. The participants shared about traditions in their own families.

The third part of the program, on “One family under God,” was presented by Yury Gavrilin; touching slightly on religious aspects, he explained the UPF founder’s philosophy. Then all shared about their attitude towards religion, God, and the idea of “one world family under God.”

At the conclusion, participants communicated informally with each other.

St. Petersburg - “Father, mother, and me, we are a happy family,” May 13

Children with their parents, grandmothers and grandfathers gathered in a spacious hall on a bright Sunday day of May for an event initiated by UPF-Northwest Russia. Secretary General Tatyana Krasnosumova spoke about the family as a main element of the community. According to the UPF vision, the family is also a moral and spiritual concept, the school of love in which children learn lessons of give and take. The family teaches the basics of filial piety and mutual aid that are essential in society.

The climax of the event was celebration in honor of of one wonderful family. Yury and Elena Mironovs are not only a super-pa and super-ma of 10 children, but also famous public activists. They shared about their family and rich life experience of raising children and grandchildren. In the name of the Universal Peace Federation they received a gift – a picture made of jade as a symbol of love, harmony and family happiness.

Vladivostok -  A Round Table on Ensuring Work-Family Balance, May 13

UPF organized a round table on “Guaranteeing work-family balance” at the Territorial Children’s Library. Among the speakers were prominent public figures of the Primorye Territory, which includes Vladivostok, in the Russian Far East.

In his welcoming speech, Alexander Sheryakov, chair of the youth grassroots movement “The Patriot of Primorye” emphasized  that children learn to be patriots in their families. A presentation about the International Day of Families was presented by the Secretary General of UPF-Russia, Konstantin Krylov.

Irina Koval, associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Vladivostok State Medical University and president of the Center for Culture and Development of Families "Children’s Planet,” emphasized the importance of UPF's programs of moral education of youth and strengthening families. The programs help young couples preparing for parenthood learn about children's health, healthy lifestyles, and ecological education in families.

“The Day of Children’s Planet” aims at consolidating families and promoting a healthy life-style and holds large public events in the main square of Vladivostok. Since 2008 (the UN Year of Families), there have been held annual “Birth of a Family” programs on the International Day of Families which include concerts, a parade of pregnant women, and nominations for the best expectant couple. In all her initiatives Irina Koval is supported by her husband, Sergei Petrov, a psychologist and teacher as well as deputy-director of the organization “Children’s Planet.”

Galina Filippenko, professor of pedagogy and psychology at the Federal University of Vladivostok and head of the Center of Pedagogical Initiatives “Istok,” shared her experiences in conducting seminars on parent/child relations for schoolchildren and students in Primorye.  This field of science is new and very effective; it is about creating harmonious relations in the family. Teachers conduct seminars, e.g., “A Letter of gratitude to my parents” where children reveal in the written form all what they feel they are grateful to their parents for, which they may feel too shy to express openly.

Maxim and Alina Invaluta, heads of the youth grassroots movement “He and She,” reported on the results of their activity. They teach a course of lectures at schools and universities of Vladivostok about creating healthy relations before marriage and hold trainings on improving marriage and family ties, HIV/AIDS prevention, and countering drug addiction.

Elena Ivanova, professor of biology and esoteric science at the Far-East Federal University and Euro-Asian College, said that students attending her lectures about spiritual aspects of the family show great interest in the subject.

Alexandra Rybachuk, a teacher and representative of the Center of Children’s Development “A Young Magician,” shared her experience working with children; she emphasized that parents and teachers should begin focusing on children’s comprehensive development at an early age.

At the end of the meeting, the MC of the program, Pyotr Tarasov, a UPF representative in Vladivostok, thanked the participants for their impact on strengthening the family as a base for creating the world peace and expressed hope for more collaboration in the future.

Vladivostok - Celebration of the “Birth of a Family,” May 15

A celebration of the “Birth of a Family” was initiated by the autonomous organization “Children's Planet Center of Culture and Child Development.” A group of mothers with small children opened the program with a performance of a musical fairy tale about springtime. A contest of parents expecting a child was the featured activity. It consisted of three parts: mothers giving a description of themselves, a contest among the fathers, and a line-up of the pregnant women. The jury included Lyudmila Kameneva; Dr. Elena Novitskaya, head of the Clinical Maternity Hospital of Vladivistok #3; Dr. Vera Streltsova, deputy-head of the Clinical Maternity hospital #4; Lydia Gaidai, representative of the Clinical Maternity hospital #1; Veronika Ilyina, general director of the Culture Center “Vladivistok”; Pyotr Tarasov, representative of UPF-Vladivostok; and Irina Koval, president of Children’s Planet.

The prizes were certificates for certificated childbirth, and each hospital representative handed a certificate to one of the five winners.

After the awards, a choir of pregnant women sang the hymn of the Children’s Planet. Finally, Pyotr Tarasov presented an Ambassador for Peace certificate to Irina Koval, president of Children’s Planet, for her outstanding impact on the development of the family as the foundation of a healthy and harmonious society.

Yekaterinburg - Master Class on Making Seamless Dolls, May 14

A master class on creating hand-made seamless dolls led by Svetlana Minina and Natalya Elisheva taught women of different ages the skill of making folk dolls, each detail of which is full of special symbolism: goodness, love, protection. At the same time they shared with each other about their life and family situation, giving each other encouragement and good advice. This program was a project of the Women's Federation for World Peace.

To read more about UPF observances of the International Day of Families 2012, click here.

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