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UN International Day of Families 2014

International Day of Families Observed at a Forum in New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand - The UN International Day of Families celebration in Auckland took place on May 10, 2014, at the Mt. Albert War Memorial Hall.

Guided by the MC, Mr. Gerald Trass, started with a karakia or an opening prayer by Rev. Rob McKay. The MC then introduced Mr. Geoffrey Fyers, who gave opening remarks explaining the meaning of the UN International Day of Families.

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A broad representation of stakeholders in community integration and family prosperity shared inspirations and insights:

The first speaker was Cathy Casey, Auckland City Councilor. She described the current programs of the city council to reduce the number of homeless people and help them deal with personal circumstances. She introduced one of the persons impacted by the program.

Then the chief adviser of the Families Commission, Mr. Charlie Moore, talked about the value of family relationships and how they can empower each member of the family to deal with their various challenges in life. Dr. Peter Haynes, chair of the City Council Board, talked about the positive impact of a healthy family relationship, and Dr. Richard Bolstad, an author, shared stories of conflict resolution in families traumatized by war.

The fifth speaker was the director of the Peace Foundation, Dr. Caroline Ongleo, who described the various programs of the Peace Foundation for building a world of peace and promoting healthy families as a key to build healthy nations. She also expressed delight in working hand in hand with the other sponsors in organizing the International Day of Families program.

The last speaker was Rev. Julius Gicole, head of UPF-New Zealand, who talked about the importance of coming together to promote the ideals of marriage and family. He reminded everyone to work together to create the consciousness that all are one family under God thus are called to care, love and support one another regardless of differences.

The speakers were interspersed with colorful community entertainment. A notable feature was the numbers of children and youth, not to mention the diversity of ethnicities and cultures that contribute to the warm autumn afternoon ambiance. Affirming the value of families and their interconnections in the wider society under the auspices of the UN's vision of a peaceful world made a substantial impact.

The event was also an opportunity to recognize and award four distinguished individuals who were nominated as Ambassadors for Peace for their life of service to the community and work to build world peace. Rev. Gicole and his wife Jasmin Gicole presented certificates to Mr. Ashley Wilson, Mr. Rajesh Maharaj, Mrs. Shanti Wati and Mr. Paani Laupepa.

The chair of the Women's Federation for World Peace-New Zealand, Mrs. Felicity Cairns, gave a closing address thanking everyone who came and supported the event, expressing gratitude to all the staff and organizers.

Finally, the program was concluded with a prayer by Rev. Diane Winder, followed by refreshments and socializing.

The event was a particularly effective collaboration between the New Zealand Peace Foundation, UPF, the Family Federation for World Peace and the Women’s Federation For World Peace. The Peace Foundation has been active since 1975, particularly in the campaign to ensure that Aotearoa, the Maori name for New Zealand, remains free of nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants. It has created a legacy of educating for peace from the international level to local conflict resolution through the “Cool Schools” program.

International Day of Families 2014 from Universal Peace Federation International

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