Families hold societies together, and intergenerational relationships extend this legacy over time.  This year’s International Day of Families is an occasion to celebrate connections among all members of the constellation that makes up a family.  It is also an opportunity to reflect on how they are affected by social and economic trends – and what we can do to strengthen families in response.

International Family DayThe annual commemoration of the United Nations International Family Day was held in Universal Peace Federation - UK Headquarters on Thursday May 16th focussing on the theme presented by the UN Secretary General Hon. Ban Ki-Moon, "Advancing Social Integration and Intergenerational Solidarity". (Photo Link)

Mr Ahmed Shebani, Co Founder of the Libya Democratic Party quoted Mother Teresa, “The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty -- it is not only poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There's a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”  Mother Teresa, A Simple Path. (Photo Left of Dr Suman Datta Addressing Meeting.)        

Around the world similar programmes were held by UPF Chapters. More information and presentation materials are available from the International UPF website through this link.

Family AwardThe UN International Day of the Family was commemorated in the UK's House of Lords on the 15th of May. Inspirational speakers Rioch Edwards-Brown and Iain Brown, founders of ‘So You Wanna Be in TV?’, Sheridan Mangal, CEO SFM Capital Markets Training Ltd spoke on ‘Repairing the Broken Family’ and Jack Corley, Chairman of UPF- UK, spoke of their passion for working with families, communities and young people.  Family Awards were presented to three exemplary families including eight members of the Sharma family, Maria Andipa representing her family and Mr Shahid Ali with his wife, Mrs Fatema Nargis and son, Ome Shahid who were nominated by Stepney Green Maths, Computing & Science College for their commitment to the school as a family.

Family 250

A discussion on 'Faith Perspectives on the Family' from  four different religious representatives took place on November 6th in UPF-UK Headquarters. This was one of a series of conferences on issues concerning the family to be held in the coming months. The family is seen as a source of stability, love, nurture and education in many faiths. The Unification Movement is also well known for its desire to promote family as a source of societal, national and international change.

There are numerous issues of controversy relating to the family from faith perspectives. Interfaith perspectives of the family identify the commonality and differences in views of the family in relation to the search for God. The religious and cultural influence on family life has great implications for the development of society, culture, or economy. The differences between the protestant and catholic realms of the world, or the Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist or Muslim religio-cultural spheres all have  shaped the character of nations and the role of the family within it.

Each faith representative was interviewed by Mrs. Mary Braybrooke JP who not only is a keen moderator but has a lot of experience of the family's position in different faiths.

David HannaThe Universal Peace Federation in Bromley held an event on 13.05.13 at Livingstone House, Chislehurst to celebrate the UN International Day of Families and consider the question, 'What is Marriage?'

The MC Mr. Edward Hartley, Chair of UPF Bromley, introduced Mr. Trevor Davies, Secretary of UPF Bromley, who gave a history of his family which stems from Wales and how each generation put so much trust and hope into a fulfilling marriage to experience the happiness this can bring and to continue the lineage. Dr. Joy Phillipou, philosopher, philanthropist and a very active lady on many fronts, author of A Course in Loving from 1994 (and many other books) supported points already made and stressed the importance of commitment in a marriage relationship.


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