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UN International Day of Families 2009

Day of Families Celebration in Washington DC Hosted by the Bahrain Embassy

USA-2009-05-15-Day of Families Celebration in Washington DC Hosted by the Bahrain Embassy

Washington, DC, USA - Combine the warm and cozy feeling of a family reunion and the cultural splendor of the beautifully exotic nation of the Kingdom of Bahrain and you will arrive at the unique experience had by all who attended the International Day of Families Celebration, Friday, May 15 at the Bahrain Embassy in Washington, DC.

Madam Ambassador Nonoo of Bahrain graciously hosted the celebration in partnership with UPF-International and UPF-USA. Many diplomats attended along with members of the DC international community, along with a large number of Ambassadors for Peace and their friends in the DC Metropolitan area. The wonderful hospitality of the Embassy was evident as the afternoon started off with a delicious meal of Middle Eastern cuisine.

The program began with greetings from Ambassador Nonoo and a review of the interesting and inspiring peace efforts of His Majesty the King of Bahrain, Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa. A fitting expression of this enlightened nation that has achieved interfaith harmony and democracy in such a challenging area of the world is the presence of Ambassador Nonoo herself, who comes from the Jewish faith tradition and is an accomplished woman leader. The Ambassador showed a fascinating film which touched upon many aspects of this extraordinary country.

After settling into the environment of Bahrain, feeling fully welcomed and relaxed, the audience then turned their attention to the topic of the day. The UN theme for the 2009 International Day of Families is "Mothers and Families: Challenges in a Changing World."

The International Day of Families was declared by a UN resolution 52/81 on December 12, 1997. This declaration stated that the United Nations General Assembly recognizes the need to strengthen and support families in performing their societal and developmental functions. UPF offers the further recommendations to this resolution, such as acknowledging that the family is a microcosm of the global community. If the world is to finally come to an era of sustainable peace and harmony among civilizations, that peace must be founded on this basic, most intimate social unit of humankind. In other words, the family is the central building block of society as well as being an instrument for peace and reconciliation.

In this vein, Ms. Cheryl Wetzstein, a Washington Times columnist on “Family Matters,” gave the audience a synopsis of the challenges facing the institution of the family in America. American society has developed and created a toxic environment for the family, yet since the year 2000 social scientists have conducted thousands of studies proving what many people have known by common sense — that faith-based healthy families create a healthy society.  

Dr. Jeffrey Johnson, President of the National Partnership for Community Development, explained that in the past there has been much support for motherhood and children; however, the role and impact of fathers has not been fully researched or understood. Dr. Johnson passionately submitted the need for more emphasis on fatherhood-strengthening initiatives.

The audience really experienced a connection with the United Nations and all that it ideally represents when the Deputy Director of the DC United Nations Information Center, Mr. David Smith, gave his remarks and then read the message from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the commemoration of the day.

“Thank you for remembering this day. In an age when the political agenda so often dominates our thinking about so many issues, when I see, 'Creating a World of Peace One Family at a Time,” I am reminded of how the United Nations should and must stand for that which we could all agree upon; be it feeding the starving, be it tending the sick, be it trying to prevent conflict in so many parts of our world. And one says it all, by the concept of uniting behind the family. The notion and the reality, and it should be said the hard work that goes behind building a world one family at a time. It is something we can all unite behind.”

To conclude the program, Mr. Jim Flynn, Secretary General of UPF-USA, presented the core transcendent principles which identify the common ground which the Ambassadors for Peace Initiative is building in our richly diverse world.  Jan DuPlain, an active and seasoned Ambassador for Peace, emphasized the heart-to-heart relationships and depth that are the core of this organization. She stated that she is amazed how inspired she becomes each and every time she hears the “Peace Principles” given, reminding us all why we are here.

Ambassador Nonoo was the first to be honored and appointed as a new Ambassador for Peace, followed by many other distinguished leaders in the DC Metropolitan area.

The event closed, yet many lingered, networking, talking, discussing and enjoying each other’s company.

To read UPF's Declaration on Families, click here.


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