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UN International Day of Families 2012

Day of Families Observed in Brno and Prague

UPF-Czech Republic organized two conferences on the International Day of Families: in Brno and Prague.

International Conference on Family Relationships in Brno, May 15

The meeting was opened by Mr. Petr Samochin, who said that May 15 was proclaimed by UN as the International Day of Families. He stressed that the way to revitalize society is through sound families.

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Then Dr. Jiřina Prekopová gave a presentation entitled "Let Love Flow in the Family." Mrs. Prekopová is a renowned psychologist and therapist; she has created a new therapy – a school of love. It emphasizes eye contact and empathy, i.e., we should put ourselves in the other person's shoes and allow everybody an opportunity to express what he or she feels; if a confrontation emerges, people should not run away from it but instead deal with it. She is well known for her strong hug therapy, which is a way of expressing love to a child even when he or she is bothering us. In a short, theatrical episode she illustrated how to solve such a conflict in a proper way.

Mr. Petr Samochin introduced the Universal Peace Federation and briefly explained its principles. The foundation of a stable and prosperous society is a healthy family. In the family we can develop our emotional heart, which is the basis for other attainments. He explained some research about family relationships which was done in the USA.

Afterwards, Mr. Alrawi Muneed Hassan, chairman of the Muslim Community Center in Brno, gave a speech. His contribution covered the family traditions in the Middle East. Mr. Alrawi has studied in the Czech Republic, where he been living for the past 26 years. Thus, he is very able to compare different aspects of Eastern and Western cultures. Unlike the families in the West, which have become increasingly individualized, families in the East are highly branched and include extended relatives, cousins, aunts and uncles, etc. They also encompass at least three generations and often even five generations. People visit one another frequently and meet to share both good and bad times. Children respect their parents, holding them in esteem and are proud when the grandparents live right in their home. Similarly to the changing traditions in the West, the Eastern traditions are also mutating, and the status of the women is on the rise. During the discussion period, some questions were raised regarding the traditional female clothing such as the burqa as well relationships between men and women. Mr. Alrawi explained that the traditional women’s clothing demonstrates the women's respect for their men and pointed out that men pay attention to their wives.

Th.Dr. Jan Hradil, a bishop of Czechoslovak Hussite Church who had been scheduled to give a lecture on “The Family in the Old and New Testaments,” was unable to attend because of sudden, urgent duties.

During the discussion, Mrs. Lenka Hermanová from the Yoga in Daily Life Society talked about how women raise their children in India. She considers one of the most interesting aspects of Indian culture the women’s silent reverence for their husband.

At the end of the meeting Mr. Petr Samochin spoke about Korean family traditions. He concluded that these are similar to those in the Middle East.

The participants reported that they found the conference helpful.

Conference in Prague, May 16

Over 20 people gathered to celebrate this day in a conference held in Prague on May 16. The topics were very attractive and generated a lively discussion.

In his opening speech Dr. Juraj Lajda, Secretary General UPF-Czech Republic, spoke on the topic Stable Family: Last Resort for a Stable and Good Society? In his speech he mentioned many factors influencing the traditional family and the deviation from the original model of the family which consists of a father, mother, and children. Nowadays the traditional family is being considered old fashioned. If the family is stable then we can expect a stable society as well.

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In the next presentation Mr. Miloslav Kučera, former MP and media adviser, spoke about the Family in the Media. He emphasized that the media sell the news, unlike in the 19th century when the media tried to give as much truthful and objective information as possible. This fact influences the portrayal of the family in the media. There are many magazines dealing with the family, but many times they convey unrealistic information and images of the family. Mr. Kučera emphasized that a media education at school is necessary.

The next session was about the Spiritual Dimension of the Family. Th. Dr. Radek Mezulánik spoke about the deep roots of the family. Each problem starts in the family. Behind divorce is a failure of love and relationships. The best model of the family is described in the Bible. Adam and Eve were created in God's image to create a good family. Family means also responsibility, care, education, and sacrifice.

The next speaker in this session was Mr. Karel Daněk, a family adviser. He emphasized how important it is for people to be mature before they create a family. It means tolerance towards the spouse. He said that the family is an institution given by God.

The last session focused on the Balance Between the Family and Public Life. First Mrs. Martine Masnerova, president  of the Family Federation for World Peace in the Czech Republic, shared her experiences about how to connect family life with a public mission. She gave many practical examples from her life and emphasized that a good cooperation with her husband and children is necessary to balance both family and public activities.

The last speech was given by Mr. Jaromír Kohlicek, member of the European Parliament. As a father of four children, he said that there must be clear rules in the family just as in public life. Balance does not mean deciding between personal and public life but to experiencing joy and satisfaction in both areas of life, personal and public. To be involved in family life also means to contribute to the public life. The children must feel that they are partaking in the family life and can learn something.

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

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