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UN International Day of Families 2010

Day of Families Celebrated in Vienna

Vienna, Austria - On the occasion of the International Day of Families, UPF-Austria in cooperation with the Viennese Family Federation held a conference on May 15 on the topic: “The Impact of Migration on Families around the World.” Various speakers, experts on the topic, as well as couples with intercultural marriage experience, gave presentations, followed by round-table discussions.

The first session was opened by Mrs. Elisabeth Cook of UPF-Austria. First she read out UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for this year’s International Day of Families. Then she gave an explanation of UPF’s viewpoint on the family, as it had been summarized in a resolution for this Family Day adding her own experiences and thoughts about the role of the family in building world peace.

The second speaker was Mrs. Petruska Krcmar, director of “FIBEL,” an NGO that supports bi-cultural couples in Vienna. As a person who was warmly welcomed in Austria as a refugee from Czechoslovakia in 1980, being then a supporter of Charta 77, she lamented a general worsening of the legal situation for couples with a partner of non-European Union nationality during the last few years. She also stressed the fact that 25 percent of marriages in Austria today have partners from two different nationalities.

Then Mrs. Angelita Hussein, a Christian nurse from the Philippines who is married to a Muslim journalist from Egypt made a strong appeal not to neglect the spiritual power coming from a relationship to God. She witnessed how this helped her in dealing with all kind of problems which arise during her marriage especially when differences in cultures, religious regulations and traditions as well as personal shortcomings have to be dealt with.

The second session was opened by two pieces of piano music. As a first speaker Mr. Roland Boesel, a psychotherapist, presented the Imago therapy for couples and between parents and children. He explained that looking face to face into one another’s eyes for just a few minutes a day has a healing effect. He made a strong point that changing the partner will not solve problems in a marriage partnership but understanding and supporting each other will. Then the relationship transforms into a new, rich, and complete love. He related this method to UPF’s aim for world peace, making a point that peace has to begin in the family.

Then Mrs. Jing Gatke, a Chinese musician living in Vienna, spoke about different facets of cultural misunderstandings she encountered when she was meeting her German husband as a student in Vienna more than 20 years ago. Mr. Dinesh Nayak, a native of India living in Austria since his student days, explained the vastness of differences in customs even within India. He explained the four stages of life as seen in the Hindu culture and stressed that family life is still the core of all their traditions. Mr. Karl Ebinger, who runs an Internet magazine called “Familienperspektiven,” explained how the magazine developed to a resource database on family matters relating to the individual, relationships within and beyond the family. To conclude the presentations Mrs. Zena Eggough, who originally comes from a Caribbean island, explained how prayer is helpful for herself and for many of her friends in managing all matters of life surrounding the challenges a family faces every day.

As a finale the audience was invited to the performance of a Bosnian dance group, which ended with a circle dance for peace of all participant of the conference led by the director of the Intercultural Initiative Vienna, Mr. Ismet Mehmedovic. A buffet of international food and many inspired interactions concluded the program, which lasted from the early afternoon to the evening.

For more information about UPF chapters' celebrations of the International Day of Families, click

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