Day of Families Observed in Madrid

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Madrid, Spain - May 15 was a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon for a multicultural event to celebrate “The International Day of Families.” This great occasion was celebrated by 47 people at UPF's Madrid Peace Embassy. The program of this day had two aspects: educational and charitable. All together there were three hours of education, reflection, sharing, and enjoyment.

Among the participants were several Ambassadors for Peace, presidents of associations, artists, professors, and nuns in addition to the delegation of the Afghanistan embassy in Madrid and responsible international citizens living in our country and capital city.

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The educational part

Mrs. Mercedes González started the program by reading of the message of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about the International Day of Families.

Professor Emilio Asti gave the Opening Remarks explaining the significance of this day. He said: “There are many definitions of the family, and still we are looking for the right one. The family is not only a social institution but it encompasses many different fields of life and is related to the many aspirations and hopes deep inside our human nature. According to my understanding, the family has a universal value because it is rooted in the will of God; without the family there is no basis for society or a peaceful way of life; without this nucleus of the family, chaos and confusion will emerge; it is proven that where there is family rupture we encounter tremendous difficulties and bad consequences. Our welfare and happiness in life are absolutely connected with the well-being of the family. The family should be the place where we learn how to live properly. When there is family love, no fear or conflict will arise. The celebration of this day reminds us the value of the family. We all need to be reconnected to the true meaning and value of the original purpose of the family and embody the spirit of altruism and sincere service.”

Then Ambassador for Peace and psychotherapist Mrs. Carmen Diaz gave a presentation about the theme: “The Family: A School of Love.” She said: “The universe and life are constantly in a movement of expanding and contracting (yang & yin, positive & negative...). We are the microcosm and are inserted in this macrocosm. We respond to heaven and earth. We are bipolar beings and subject to the influence of two antagonistic and complementary forces. Living in a family will help our hearts and minds receive all the nutriments for a secure and healthy growth. All human beings are connected to the past, present, and future; in every family and clan there are good and bad aspects that will be manifested in a person’s life, it is up to us to improve it for the betterment of our ancestors and descendants. We are all connected to a family genealogical tree.”

Mrs. Pilar Gutiérrez, a psychologist and president of several associations related to preserving life and defending the right of birth and the well-being of a pregnant woman, spoke about adoption as the best solution for the birth of an unwanted child. She read many testimonies of pregnant women who were pressured to have an abortion and others who had an abortion because they didn’t know another solution for their situation. She showed a video about a wonderful solution of adoptive parents for an unwanted baby. She is counseling many women in different situations of pain and suffering; she offers literature and therapy. Many women are so grateful for her altruistic work and dedication. She has devoted her life for this noble cause. Her daughter Sandra is also helping her.

Three Ambassadors for Peace were appointed:
1. Mr. Ignacio Redondo Redondo
2. His wife Mrs. Elisa Arroyo Bravo
3. Mrs. Grazyna Urszula Bartel
All of them have been very loyal and supportive of UPF's Marriage and Family Peace Initiative. Also they have a very noble public and family life.

Charitable concert to help the children of Afghanistan

Ambassador for Peace Dr. Aziz Hakami from Afghanistan spoke about the poverty and suffering of the children his country. He said: “The main victims in Afghanistan are the children. There are many in the refugee camps; they have little food to eat and few clothes to wear. They are not receiving the proper education. Many of them can’t go to school. There are orphans living in the streets who look for food in the trash containers; they learn to steal or are taken in as slaves to survive. They are used as soldiers. Some have been maimed because of bombs. The girls suffer the most; unable to go to school, they are in a miserable situation. They are learning in the streets to sell drugs, gasoline, and other products for some money to live. They don’t know how to play, because they have no time for that. Truly they need the help of NGOs like this one and other institutions to provide them with a better and normal way of life…. Thank you very much! For helping the children of my country Afghanistan."

Ms. Mariella Köhn and Emilio from the “Cuenta y Canta” musical group sang beautiful songs from the Afro-Peruvian culture. They gave a flavor of joy after hearing a very sad reality of children in the global village. How wonderful it would be if these children were present to enjoy listening to the musical program. At least we were thinking about them and raising funds to assist them.

A student choral society from the University of Alcalá de Henares, “La Tuna de la Universidad de Alcalá,” brought much joy and happiness as they sang typical Spanish songs. They took the audience on a journey to their roots and youth. They were truly remarkable and beautiful!
We didn’t want any of the artists to leave the stage. We could have listened to their performance all day long.

To end the program, Mr. Armando Lozano, Secretary General of UPF-Spain, gave a donation to two diplomats from the Embassy of Afghanistan: Mr. Abdul Moqadas Hadi, the Adviser Minister, and Mr. Mohammad Salem Wahdat, the Second Secretary. They expressed their sincere gratitude with their words of compliments and good wishes for UPF's humanitarian and educational work. They know that we care and we are sharing our heart with them, with love and altruistic actions.

After the event, people said how wonderful it was and how much they had learned. Ms. Alfonsa Ferrer, a Catholic nun, said: “It has been an oasis day for me.”

Reflecting on the program, suffering children are our children; they are part of us, and we suffer with them. We are a “world family.” The UN International Day of Families will be always a day to remember and to celebrate. It is part of our calendar. It is part of our lives. Our hope is that with our small aid, some children will smile and have something good that they didn’t have before.

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