The Words of the Rexhepi Family

Day of Families Observed throughout Russia

Dmitry Samko
May 15, 2012

UPF-Russia organized a variety of programs throughout the federation on the International Day of Families, including forums, round-table discussions, artistic and cultural activities for children, visits to veterans, and a beauty pageant. The following are representative reports, with more to come.

Day of Families 2012 celebrated throughout Russia

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Message on the International Day of Families was read to the audience. The purpose of the meeting was discussing ways and methods of creating good families with traditional values.

Alexei Savelyev, president of the Family Federation for World Peace-Russia, noted that out of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals at least six are related to the family. He also said that the family as the main element of the community is the keeper of human values, culture, and the historical succession of generations; it is a factor of stability and development. Owing to the family, the state becomes stronger and the population prospers. According to new media, US President Barack Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage; but Alexei emphasized preserving the family as a unit of one man and one woman.

Vladimir Arsenkin, a retired lieutenant-commander representing the City Association of Korean War veterans, spoke about traditional family values, insisting that without these values there would be no stability in the nation. Born in the family with 11 children, he emphasized that in the pre-revolutionary Russia, such families were the norm and children usually took care of the parents in their old age. Many modern social problems of the national level could be solved with creation of stable families.

Alexander Leonov, chair of the Moscow Association "Goodness beyond borders" and leader of the Volunteer Initiatives Consortium "The Way of Goodness," gave a presentation on "Family values or when a family becomes the family: practical experience of working with children from unfavorable social environment." He said that according to statistics in Russia, there are 80,000 orphans, and one child out of five grows up in unfavorable circumstances; parents' daily communication with their children is often limited to 10–15 minutes; meanwhile they spend about 19 minutes a day searching for a parking place. Mr. Leonov also said that transmission of values is indispensable for successful development of any state; one graphic example is the difficulty in developing family businesses in Russia, while in Europe family businesses play a considerable role in state economies.

Valentina Orlova, president of the Association "Russia – Norway" stressed that that young people should think more about their duty and responsibility towards their state and families and not focus so much on standing up for their rights. She said that the community should think more about the growing generation and the future of our children as responsible people prepared to create good families.

Finally, representatives of the Universal Peace Federation shared about the UPF recent projects and plans for the coming summer. The atmosphere of the meeting was warm and friendly.

Kazan -- Celebration at the Temple of All Religions, May 13

A large and colorful celebration related to the International Day of Families initiated by activists and associates of the Universal Peace Federation, was held on May 13 in Kazan, capital of the autonomous republic of Tatarstan. The event was hosted by the Temple of All Religions, a widely known sanctuary near the Tatarstan Holy Shrine that has been in the process of construction since 1992. The ensemble of this unique edifice includes an Orthodox church, Muslim mosque, Jewish synagogue, and Buddhist pagoda. It is significant that the first meeting of UPF in Kazan took place in this temple just before the International Day of Families. The Secretary General of UPF-Moscow, Dmitry Samko, was the first to take the floor. In his speech he described the history of the Day of Families and recent UN activities; then he shared about UPF programs aimed at strengthening marriage and family throughout Russia. The message of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was read by Nargiz Ismailova, Ambassador for Peace and a runner-up in the Miss University pageant of 2010. Also a short but very inspiring speech by Engel Rkshakovich Tagirov moved the hearts of the audience.

After the official program, the majority of the participants, headed by Yulia Gosteva, a master athlete who has competed internationally, joined the "Run Hour" activity raising public awareness about the International Day of Families and the Temple of All Religions. Finally, participants helped with construction work on the Temple, thus making a sincere impact on this noble undertaking.

Khabarovsk -- Khabarovsk Families Stand for Values, May 15

UPF conducted a number of programs in which people discussed family values and starting a family, in order to inform the population about the International Day of Families. In one of the streets of the city, volunteers interviewed youth passers-by about their readiness to start a family and their understanding of the difference between real feelings and infatuation.

At the Far-East Institute of International Relations (Rector: Vaganova Tatyana Dmitrievna) an interactive training on preparation for establishing a family and the modern situation of the family was conducted by Ambassador for Peace, leader of the Far-East chapter of UPF, Ivan Marychev. There were heated discussions about what kind of relationship should be the basis for starting a good and loving family. The UPF Far-East chapter is planning to continue with the trainings involving youth, because the young people have no other channel to obtain information on this issue since the official curriculum doesn't include such subjects.

On the same day, there was one more training about the role of parents and family values, this time with 6th-form students at school #76 in Khabarovsk. The children showed a lively interest in the issue of family relations, what those relations should be like, and what they can learn in the family. It appeared that many children come from one-parent or divorced families.

Finally, on one of the city squares, volunteers handed out leaflets with information about the International Day of Families. The majority of the public didn't know about the occasion at all, so this was a very good chance to inform them about the event, as well as stimulate them to think about the family and family values.

Ryazan -- Celebration at a children's library, May 13

An event related to the International Day of Families and the 20th anniversary of the Women's Federation for World Peace took place in Ryazan on May 13 at a children's library. Initiators of the event were Universal Peace Federation and Women's Federation for World Peace. Among the large number of guests were representatives of different nations and nationalities.

The celebration consisted of two parts. In the first part dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Women's Federation, Olga Vakulinskaya, president of the Women's Federation branch in Russia, told about the activity of the Federation; thereafter, a representative of the Japanese Women's Federation, Mrs. Aoki, took the floor. She emphasized that people of different nationalities should live as one family. In our world, there are many countries that need relief, and our task is to come to their rescue by combining all our efforts.

The theme of the second part was "Secrets of Family Happiness." Representatives of different nationalities (Russians, Ossetians, Tajiks, and Jews) shared their traditional "secrets" that appeared to be much the same – love, respect, forgiveness, sincerity in relations.

Then, there was an international concert in which representatives of Russia, Ukraine, and Tajikistan sang songs, recited poetry, performed dances. A special feature of the concert was the the performance of a nationl folk dance of Cameroon by Crist Ken, a student at the Medical University in Ryazan.

After the end of the program, guests and participants of the celebration shared informally and enjoyed saxophone music and delicious treats that were prepared for them.

St. Petersburg -- A round table on "The Family as Core," April 21

Family is a small but extremely important part of the human community. The well-being of families is a condition for prosperity of the entire nation. Problems in the families grow into problems of the society. We have to solve them, if we want our nation to be prosperous and well developed, where each citizen is a patriot ready to sacrifice his or her life for the motherland.

The first part of the program dealt with demographic problems in the modern society; it was presented by Lydia Verb, Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences and Professor at the Culture and Art University. The following statistics were cited: annually, the population of the planet grows by 78 million, mainly in underdeveloped countries (97 percent). At the beginning of 2012, the population of Russia was 143 million. There are reasons for the limited growth of the population in developed nations, including Russia, among them:

Ecological catastrophes
Economic problems
Migration problems

The participants in the round table came to the opinion that these problems should be urgently addressed starting from primary school by including moral education in the school curriculum. A course developed by the Art and Culture University is available, and there are experts ready to teach it. It was decided to address the issue to the Legislative Board of St. Petersburg.

In the second part of the program, participants discussed the importance of preserving family traditions. This program block was presented by Tatyana Krasnosumova, Secretary General of UPF Northwest-Russia. The participants created a model of an ideal family symbolized by a house with LOVE as a basement and family RELATIONS (loyalty, respect, support, etc.) as walls. Then they came to the opinion that the roof of the house should be made of FAMILY TRADITIONS that unite all members of the family. The participants shared about traditions in their own families.

The third part of the program, on "One family under God," was opened by a Unification Church pastor, Yury Gavrilin. Touching but slightly on religious aspects, he explained the UPF founder's philosophy. Then all shared about their attitude towards religion, God, and the idea of "one world family under God."

After the round table, the participants communicated informally with each other.

Vladivostok -- A round-table on Guaranteeing Work-Family Balance, May 13

The Universal Peace Federation held a round table related to the International Day of Families on "Guaranteeing work-family balance" at the Territorial children's library of Vladivostok on May 13. Among the speakers were prominent public figures of the Primorye Territory, which includes Vladivostok, in the Russian Far East.

In his welcoming speech, Alexander Sheryakov, chair of the youth grassroots movement "The Patriot of Primorye" emphasized that children learn to be patriots in their families.

A presentation about the International Day of Families was presented by the Secretary General of UPF-Russia, Konstantin Krylov.

Irina Koval, associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Department of the Vladivostok State Medical University and president of the Center for Culture and Development of Families "Children's Planet" emphasized the importance of UPF's initiatives in moral education of youth and strengthening families. The UPF activities help young couples preparing for parenthood, children's health, healthy lifestyles, and ecological education in families. We have accumulated a valuable experience during the action "The Day of Children's Planet" aimed at consolidating families and promoting a healthy life-style; there were more than 2000 participants that gathered together in the main square of Vladivostok. Since 2008 (the UN Year of Families), on the International Day of Families, on May 15, there have been held traditional festive programs "Birth of a Family", which include: musical concerts, parade of pregnant women, and the best couple expecting a child nomination. In all her initiatives Irina Koval is supported by her husband, Sergei Petrov, a psychologist and teacher as well as deputy-director of the organization "Children's Planet."

Galina Filippenko, professor of pedagogy and psychology at the Federal University of Vladivostok and head of the Center of Pedagogical Initiatives "Istok," shared her experiences in conducting seminars on parent/child relations for schoolchildren and students in Primorye. This field of science is new and very effective in pedagogic; it is about creating harmonious relations in the family. Based on it, we conduct seminars, e.g., "A Letter of gratitude to my parents" where children reveal in the written form all what they feel they are grateful to their parents for, which they feel shy to express openly.

Maxim and Alina Invaluta, heads of the youth grassroots movement "He and She," reported on the results of their activity. They teach a course of lectures at schools and universities of Vladivostok about creating healthy relations before marriage and hold trainings on improving marriage and family ties, HIV/AIDS prevention, and countering drug addiction.

Elena Ivanova, professor of biology and esoteric science at the Far-East Federal University and Euro-Asian College, said that students attending her lectures about spiritual aspects of the family show great interest in the subject.

Alexandra Rybachuk, a teacher and representative of the Center of Children's Development "A Young Magician," shared her experience working with children; she emphasized that parents and teachers should begin early in focusing on children's comprehensive development.

At the end of the meeting, the MC of the program, Pyotr Tarasov, a UPF representative in Vladivostok, thanked the participants for their impact on strengthening the family as a base for creating the world peace and expressed hope for more collaboration in the future.

Vladivostok -- Celebration of the "Birth of family" -- May 15

A celebration of the "Birth of family" was initiated by the autonomous organization "Children's Planet: Center of culture and children's development." A group of mothers with small children opened the celebration. They performed a musical fairy tale about springtime. Then Lyudmila Kameneva, head of the culture department of the city administration, took the floor and expressed great appreciation for the activity of the Center.

A contest of parents expecting a child was the featured activity of the event. It consisted of three parts: mothers giving a description of themselves, a contest among the fathers, and a line-up of the pregnant women. Among the jury members were Lyudmila Kameneva; Elena Novitskaya, head doctor of the Clinical Maternity Hospital of Vladivistok #3; Vera Streltsova, deputy-head doctor of the Clinical Maternity hospital #4; Lydia Gaidai, representative of the Clinical Maternity hospital #1; Veronika Ilyina, general director of the Culture Center "Vladivistok"; Pyotr Tarasov, representative of the Universal Peace Federation in Vladivostok; and Irina Koval, president of Children's Planet.

The prizes were certificates for certificated childbirth, and each hospital representative handed a certificate to one of the five winners.

After the award ceremony, a choir of pregnant women sang the hymn of the 'Children's Planet.' Finally, Pyotr Tarasov, representative of UPF-Vladivostok, presented an Ambassador for Peace certificate to Irina Koval, president of Children's Planet, for her outstanding impact on the development of the family as the foundation of a healthy and harmonious society. 

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