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UN International Day of Families 2014

International Day of Families Observed in Albania

To commemorate the International Day of Families an event was held in the UPF-Albania headquarters in Tirana on May 17, 2014, and two other cities: Shkodra and Vlora.

Tirana

On this occasion several people were appointed as Ambassadors for Peace and some recommendations were adopted to be presented to the government at the end of the event.

The event begun with an opening speech by Tirana Peace Council chair Mrs. Kozeta Zavalani, who also chairs the “Family and Media” association. She mentioned that the symbol of the International Day of Families is a home with the heart at the center, which signifies that the family is the center of the society, while marriage is at the center of the family. “When a marriage is weak and suffering all the members of the family suffer and we are witnesses of the great pain the Albanian families are undergoing during these times.” She concluded by quoting one of UPF principles that the highest standard of living is that for the sake of the others and that the way of peace is when the individual lives for the family, the family for the society and the society for the nation, and not vice versa.

The next speaker was the president of the Family Federation for World Peace-Albania, Mr. Gani Rroshi, who lectured on “The Family, Solving the Moral Conclusion.” He emphasized the fact that in all creation can be seen a general and unchanging principle for the existence of all beings from the lowest to the highest – the duality of positive and negative and of internal and external. That principle is applicable for human beings too, so there should be no confusion as what makes a couple. Mr. Rrosi illustrated his topic with passages from the Holy Scriptures of major religions and some quotations from Father and Mother Moon. Specifically he reminded the audience of two conditions for a lasting marriage: purity before marriage and fidelity within marriage.

Next was Ms. Mimoza Bineri, an Ambassador for Peace and a lawyer, who talked about the “Family as an Asset of Albanian Society.” Since she is dealing with many juridical issues related to the family, she talked about the sad experience of divorced couples and the outcomes of a broken family.

The last speaker was Mrs. Shega Murati, chair of “The Voice of Children Calls Us” association, who also shared about the advantages of a two-parent family and the disadvantages of single-parent families, especially based on a research recently done by her NGO.

Next, a letter of recommendations was read and later signed by representatives of several NGOs present in the audience that will be sent to the media and governmental institutions. In all there were six recommendations including the creation of family-friendly spaces in schools, defining marriage in the constitution as a committed relation of a man and a woman, establishing marriage and family educational institutions, and improving the monitoring system on broadcast media regarding pornography and sexually-explicit programs.

At the end of the program 15 participants of different ages received an Ambassador for Peace certificate. Most of them were exemplary couples, and some were individuals who have made positive contribution in society.

Report by Sokol Rexhepi, UPF-Albania Secretary General

Shkodra

On May 17, the Shkodra Peace Council organized an International Day of Families program at the Voice of Shkodra school in Koplik, 20 km in the north of Shkodra and 20 km from the border with Montenegro. The main supporter of this activity was the chairman of the Shkdora Peace Council, Mr. MIthat Dibra, who is also the school director.

The program on "Healthy Families, Healthy Nation" lasted about one hour and a half with selected speakers including Dr. Ahmet Osja (former minister of agriculture), Mr. Ali Laçej (member of the UPF-Albania Presiding Council), and Imam Fadil Kraja. They spoke about family values and the challenges families face today. Part of their speeches focused on the youth present at the meeting and the preparation for marriage. In total there were about 65 people attending.

Chairman Dibra opened the meeting with welcoming remarks that was followed by a video presentation of UPF International activities. Then Mr. Gentjan Qarri, Peace Council secretary, spoke about “A healthy family, a healthy nation.” Then young people from other parts of Europe spoke, as well as two students from the Voice of Shkdora school. Mr. Laçej gave a video presentation on Marriage and Family and explained the five principles of peace. At the end three representatives from the city were appointed Ambassadors for Peace while two students received the “Doves of Peace” award, a certificate similar to that of an Ambassador for Peace. The youth from other parts of Europe sang two songs. It was truly a beautiful family atmosphere.

Vlora

On May 15, the Vlora Peace Council and the Family Federation organized an event at the Pavarësia Private University on the occasion of International Day of Families 2014 focusing on family issues and challenges as well as possible solutions.

The event began with an opening speech from the Vlora Peace Council chairman Prof. Dr. Bilal Shkurtaj, who gave a general presentation on the vision and the work of UPF worldwide and within the country, focusing on the five principles of peace. It was followed by a moving video presentation of UPF International, since many of the participants were first-time guests.

The other speaker was Mrs. Valdete Leka, vice principal of one of the city's high schools and an active Ambassador for Peace. She said that the Albanian family has suffered greatly in the last two decades and “it’s no longer the family that we remember, since we now have the 14th highest divorce rate in Europe. It is clear that we should take measures, especially in education."

The other speaker was Mr. Niko Veizaj, a long-time Ambassador for Peace, medical doctor and former mayor of Vlora. He spoke about "The woman as the cornerstone of the family and the family as the cornerstone of society.” He emphasized the role of the woman in the family and the essential importance of husband and wife caring for each other and maintaining fidelity within the family, since “this brings strong and healthy families that make up a strong and healthy nation and world." He described UPF founders Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon as "champions of God-centered families." His words were highly appreciated and well-received, as was evidenced during the discussions after the event.

The last speaker was Mr. Lubin Argjir, Vlora Peace Council secretary, who spoke about the family as the school of love and the importance of educating young people about family values and ethics.

This event was attended by about 100 intellectuals, students and exemplary family members. The local news media broadcast reports of the event for two days.

At the end five exemplary couples were appointed Ambassadors for Peace. The discussions continued after the official program during the coffee time, where participants expressed the need to hold such events more often and they are ready to support such initiatives.

Report by Lubin Argjir, Vlora Peace Council Secretary

International Day of Families 2014 from Universal Peace Federation International

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