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UN International Day of Families 2009

Day of Families Celebrated in Montevideo

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Montevideo, Uruguay - The International Day of Families was celebrated at the Radisson Montevideo Victoria Plaza Hotel with the theme: “Creating a World of Peace, One Family at a Time.”

More than 300 persons participated in this event: Ambassadors for Peace, including government representatives, diplomats, journalists, academics, leaders of civil society, and distinguished citizens who gathered to recognize and reaffirm the importance of the family as a privileged place for education, as fundamental school of love, and as the foundation for peace.

The words of welcome were offered by Master Raúl Rey Banegas, who emphasized the importance of this international celebration and the role of Ambassadors for Peace as educators and models for establishing families centered on moral values and ethics, which are the true schools of peace.

Judicial Clerk and Notary Public Claudia Álvarez Albini officiated as emcee. The invocation was given by Mr. Heriberto Peter, President of the Adventist Churches of Uruguay; speaking profoundly from a universal perspective, he elevated people's hearts, emphasizing the transcendental and providential value of the family as the foundation of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The speakers highlighted the family from different but complementary perspectives, offering actual and universal panoramas of the challenges confronting the modern family. Lic. Mrs. María Julia Pou de Lacalle, former First Lady, sent words of support for the Day of Families. Dr. Ricardo Pérez Manrique, Minister of the Tribunal of Family Appeals, emphasized the problems of divorce for nuclear families and the consequences that this brings for the couple's sons and daughters, especially the increase of violence in children and adolescents who witness the breakdown of their parents' relationship and feel abandoned. The physical and emotional violence experienced in the family is not a private issue. It is a public issue that must be resolved through the education and promotion of ethical and moral values. Society as whole pays enormous economic costs as a direct consequence of the dissolution of family ties.

Prof. Edgardo Martínez Zimarioff, Minister of the Electoral Court, Rector of the Open University, and Ambassador for Peace, highlighted the importance of the family as the school of dialogue for peace. It is important to learn to communicate and respect each of the members of the family, he said. In a world where everything is accelerating and time for family conversation is abandoned, it is important to “stop” and dedicate oneself to “listen” to what one’s children say and what one’s spouse says. The most important thing for the human being is to establish and form part of a family that loves without conditions, a family in which one feels safe and supported. He called the family the principal cell of all peaceful and prosperous societies.

Lic. Jesús González Losada, President and Director of the Educational Foundation for Peace (Uruguay) and the Director of Education and Interreligious Dialogue of the UPF in Latin America and the Caribbean, offered the vision of the family, from the point of view and mission of the Universal Peace Federation. The family is the school of love, where we develop ourselves in different progressive spheres of love and maturity: children’s love, brotherly love, conjugal, love and parental love. All of these spheres are sustained by matrimonial fidelity, the life of an absolutely ethical and moral sexuality. He emphasized the importance of abstinence of the youth as a way of preparing for a happy and lasting marriage.

After the presentations, the musical group “Tango Is Waiting for You,” directed by Mr. Enrique Gómez and his wife Mrs. Gabriela Richieri, offered classical themes of international music. They sang French, English, and Japanese themes, surprising all present with their grand artistic level.

Also, ten distinguished couples married more than 49 years were awarded beautiful plaques bearing the slogan "International Day of Families Award":

  • Gregorio Amaral & Blanca Benitez de Amaral, 58 years
  • Eusebio Eguiguren & Blanca Méndez de Eguiguren, 56 years
  • Luis M. Muñoz Romero & Mirian Ofelia Cattini de Muñoz, 55 years
  • Domingo Pugliesi (Ambassador for Peace) & Lila Sebastiani de Pugliesi, 52 years
  • Luis A. Xavier dos Santos & María A. Boboca de Xavier, 51 years
  • Enrique Álvarez (Ambassador for Peace) & María Albini de Álvarez, 51 years
  • Juan Elbio Zubillaga & Obdulia De Armas de Zubillaga, 50 years
  • Alcires Pérez Fuentes & Nilda R. Caraballo Pérez, 50 years
  • Hugo W. Álvarez & Nelly A. Medina de Álvarez, 49 years
  • Alberto Quintana (Ambassador for Peace) & María Angélica Noriega de Quintana, 49 years

We ended with a toast to marriage and the family as the central experience of the divine love and a pledge to leave a heritage of goodness to the future generations.

Translated by Mr. Kenneth Whitmore
To read UPF's Declaration on Families, click here.

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