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UN International Day of Families 2014

International Day of Families Observed at a Forum in Helsinki

Helsinki, Finland - The Finnish chapters of UPF and the Women's Federation for World Peace observed the International Day of Families with a May 15, 2014, forum on the theme: ”The important role of a woman in the culturally diversifying Finland.”

The first presenter was Mrs. Sirpa Asko-Seljavaara, a member of the City Assembly of Helsinki, a former MP, and a surgeon by profession. She said that the women in the Finnish Parliament (one of highest percentages in the world) form a Women's Network where they share fellowship and plan certain laws, i.e., in family-related matters, together beyond party lines. In this way important laws supporting parenthood and child-care have been initiated.

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Through urbanization, a very unfortunate decline of inter-generational connectedness has taken place. Many elderly people are living alone. Even though they are provided with basic physical care, their loneliness is often more agonizing than physical pain. Much of this problem could be solved by children caring more for their parents. Much of loneliness could be avoided also through voluntary work and fellowship among neighbors.

After describing some parliamentary measures taken to deal with those issues, she concluded by encouraging everyone to show more concern and care for each other.

The second presenter, Mrs. Melody Karvonen, an adviser in intercultural issues to public administration and NGOs, talked on the role of family as the fundamental place for everyone to grow as human beings. She pointed out that parents are the primary educators of children, especially in character and morals, and school is a partner with emphasis on education in knowledge and skills. Being a mother of four internationally married children and a grandmother of six, she is a living confirmation of the impact of a mother on the lives of many people. Mrs. Karvonen described that her family's Baha'i faith upholds the perspective of one world with humanity as its citizens.

In the following comments Mrs. Riitta Salin, a coordinator of a multicultural network, Moniheli, shared that in all cultures similar matters make people joyful, sad or happy. Good things can happen if people don't destroy the sphere of goodness.

Mrs. Ogeh Eneh, a producer at an international culture center, said that everyone needs to set and claim the ground and space of his or her existence. It is a matter of caring for our children and elderly citizen. Parental education cannot be outsourced.

The MC, Mrs. Päivi Yoshizumi, then invited the audience of about 50 persons to continue sharing over refreshments.

International Day of Families 2014 from Universal Peace Federation International

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