The Words of the Pople Family
New York, USA -- On a beautiful spring day with blue skies over Manhattan, UN diplomats and members of the NGO community assembled on June 4 in a delegates' dining room for the first annual observance of the UN Global Day of Parents.
This day set aside to honor parents was a "seminal program" and "long overdue," according to H.E. Mrs. U. Joy Owgu, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN. She paid tribute to H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, who as president of the UN General Assembly last year spearheaded the adoption of Resolution A/RES/66/292 that established this commemorative day.
"The call to honor our parents is widely valid in our nations, cultures, and civilizations," said H.E. Al-Nasser, a Qatari diplomat who is the UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, in the keynote speech of the day. "With every breath we take we can say 'thank you.' In so many ways, parents are the first peacemakers; they are the first peacekeepers."
Values are transmitted from one generation to the next, he added, and "I am grateful to my parents for making me who I am today. I believe our experience as parents can help us in our roles at the UN."
The program was cosponsored by the Permanent Missions of Burundi, Malaysia, Mali, Nigeria, Romania, Samoa, and St. Lucia and organized by UPF.
In her Co-sponsor's remarks, H.E. Mrs. Ogwu referred to Thomas Aquinas' statement that members of the human race derive three things from parents -- life, nourishment, and education. She referred to families as the foundation of the world and the scaffolding for succeeding generations to build a more peaceful world.
On a larger scale, she called the family the fundamental unit of politics, because what people learn in the family spreads to the community and the broader society. She noted the connecting function of the family and quoted an African proverb: "A united family eats from the same plate."
"Parents epitomize the ideal of living for the sake of others," said Mr. Taj Hamad, UPF Secretary General, in his Welcoming Remarks. "Parents live for their children and desire their children to be better than themselves."
Mrs. Lynn Walsh, director of UPF's Office of Marriage and Family Education and Co-chair of the UN's NGO Committee on the Family -- NY, closed by describing UPF's ongoing commitment to strengthening marriage, family, and parenting.
See also the report by Vincenzina Santoro, Chief United Nations Representative – American Family Association of New York.
New York, USA -- During the General Assembly Presidency of H.E. Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar (2011-2012), a Resolution was passed to create Global Parents Day to be celebrated each year on June 1st. The Resolution went into effect this month and was duly commemorated by a special luncheon in the newly renovated UN Delegates Café on June 4th, organized courtesy of a fellow NGO, the Universal Peace Association, whose UN Representative, Lynn Walsh, was recently elected Co-chair of the NGO Committee on the Family.
Several Missions sponsored the event: Burundi, Malaysia, Mali, Nigeria, Romania, Samoa, and Saint Lucia, and several Ambassadors and NGO representatives attended. One of the speakers, the Ambassador of Nigeria, H.E. Joy Ogwu, celebrated parents by mentioning the tremendous importance of the family in African culture. One word in particular stood out from her remarks about the family and parents: they are "inviolable." I wish all of the UN would accept that!
Ambassador Al-Nasser also spoke and was obviously very proud of his accomplishment. He too, paid tribute to the sacrifices parents make for their children, how they struggle to make things better for them and the education they give them -- especially moral education.
The series of short speeches was followed by [Seiko Lee] who (appropriately) sang the touching Italian operatic aria "O mio babbino caro" as a tribute to fathers, followed by "Climb Every Mountain" (from "The Sound of Music")….which all attending UN interns must (and will) do as they move on to employment in the "real world!"
We missed the family/life NGO members who live across the United States and all around the globe who could not be with us to share this joyous moment.