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UN International Day of Families 2012

Day of Families Observed at a Forum in Accra

Accra, Ghana - UPF-Ghana and the Family Federation for World Peace marked the UN International Day of Families with a program on marriage and family during which "Peace Family Awards" were presented to selected couples. The event featured presentations by representatives of various religion on Family and Peace, prayers of blessing on marriage by religious leaders, and Ambassador for Peace appointments.

The program began with an invocation by the Jewish representative.

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The UN theme for this year's observance, “Ensuring Work Family Balance,” was referenced, and representatives of various religions were invited to present their views on the family. As each made their presentation, it was clear that all religions have one thing in common; the affirmation of the existence of the Ultimate Being. The differences were in the doctrinal approaches. Each affirmed also that God is love and that family is a great and marvelous institution through which God’s love is made manifest to humankind; the breakdown in the family system stemmed from parents losing their focus on God and as a result of sin.

The Hare Krishna speaker emphasized that for a family to enjoy peace, there must be unity, and for unity to prevail, love must exist. For love to be established, the man must be responsible by working hard, the woman must be patient and tolerant, and the children must be obedient. If a family abides by these principles, that family will surely experience peace.

The leader of the Brahma Kumaris, Charles Hogg, an Australian visiting the branch in Ghana, said that people have three families – the birth family, the world family (the society in which we relate with each other), and the inner family (mind, heart, conscience, and intellect. Creating harmony in all three spheres is the key to experiencing lasting peace, he said.

Other religions represented included African Traditional Religion, Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, and Eckanar.

The last presentation was by Rev. Itia Tegha, President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. He described the realms of heart of children, brother and sister, husband and wife, and father and mother and talked about the value of three generations of a family living and working together. He referred to the first human parents separating from God due to disobedience, leading to family breakdown and called upon people of different religions to come together and contribute their unique perspectives to the common task of strengthening the family.

Two couples rededicated their marriages during the event, representing people of all religions working together for the sake of peaceful national elections scheduled in December. Representatives of the various religions took turns to offer prayers for the couples.

The officer-in-charge of the United Nations Information Centre in Ghana, Mrs. Cynthia Prah, was called to the stage to make a comment. In her remarks, she expressed her profound joy to see for the first time in Ghana people of various religions sitting together in one room for a common cause. She thanked the organizers for creating a forum that made such unity possible. To conclude, she delivered UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the International Day of Families 2012. The Secretary General of UPF-Ghana, Dr. Helen M. Osei, read the UPF Statement on Families.

The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification of Ghana presented Peace Family Awards to seven couples who have lived together for over 20 years without conflict or separation and who are making efforts to raise their children in a godly way.

Ambassadors for Peace certificates were presented by the UPF Secretary General to two distinguished people with outstanding records of having lived for the sake of others. One is a retired banker and the other is a Paramount Chief. UPF printed materials, including the autobiography of UPF founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon, were given to the representatives of the various religious groups.

The program came to a close with a group photograph. Light refreshments were served to the general audience, and religious leaders and various guests were treated to a dinner in a Chinese restaurant thanks to a grant received from the UPF headquarters.

There were 88 people in attendance, including two media representatives. Perhaps most remarkable was the harmonious participation of representatives of nine religious groups.

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

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