"The family has been the ultimate foundation of every civilization known to history." —Will Durant


"The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State." —Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Family and the World
Add your voice!

Sign the

World Family Declaration


The World Family Declaration, an initiative of the World Congress of Families and endorsed by pro-family organizations across the globe, is now online at www.worldfamilydeclaration.org and available for electronic signature. 


“Never before has there been a universal banner uniting all peoples to rally in protection of the natural family, which has never needed protection as urgently as now,” stated WCF Director of UN Affairs E. Douglas Clark. “We have created the World Family Declaration to address that need and be that banner.”

Opening with the words “We the people of many lands and cultures,” the Declaration is grounded in Article 16(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”

That language is echoed in 111 national constitutions, many of which repeat it verbatim while others describe the family in such varied terms as the “natural and moral foundation of the human community” (Niger) or “foundation of the nation” (Philippines), or as society’s “cornerstone” (Greece), “fundamental pillar” (Afghanistan), “basic institution” (Colombia), or “fundamental nucleus” (Chile).

Speaking at the recent launch of the World Family Declaration at the ONE UN New York, WCF International Secretary Allan C. Carlson observed, “I applaud those nations which have placed language about protection of the natural family in their constitutions. The Declaration’s endnotes provide a solid review of these provisions. Even if and when the actions of a government might stray from this principle, such a constitutional provision stands both as a rebuke and a summons for a return to good order.”

“It is my hope,” continued Carlson, “that the World Family Declaration will play a significant role in rallying international attention again to the most important unit of society, the natural family.” 

Clark added, "Today we unfurl a banner to remind the world of the foundational and irreplaceable role of the family. In the words of the Declaration, 'We urge citizens, leaders, and people of influence everywhere to place as their highest priority the protection and strengthening of the family.'"

Read the





Family and Development

The Family and the MDGs



Introduction by Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser to The Family and the MDGs: Using Family Capital to Achieve the 8 Millennium Development Goals (by Susan Roylance, et al.) 
“This book begins an important dialogue with policy makers, agencies, administrators and members of civil society on strengthening society through reliance upon—and support of—society’s most fundamental unit: the family.”
Read DESCRIPTION by the Doha International Family Institute; watch VIDEO introducing the book; read INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER; read the entire BOOK; read CHAPTER SUMMARIES; read abridged translations in ENGLISH, FRENCH, SPANISH, ARABIC, CHINESE, RUSSIAN; learn more and ORDER THE BOOK. The book is mentioned in the Secretary-General's report, par. 67, on preparations for IYF+20: Read the report. Read book review by UPF.

Family as Foundation
The Indispensable Family


"Every person needs a masculine father and a feminine mother." Pope Francis

FREE E-BOOK DOWNLOAD: What You Need to Know about Marriage: Questions and Answers Driving the Debate

“The way you help heal the world is you start with your own family.” —Mother Teresa
"Stronger families keep government limited by providing services, in the raising of children and in how a husband and a wife share a life, that government otherwise might have to provide.  It produces citizens more likely to be moral, relatively self-sustaining, and law abiding. It answers a deep human need for belonging, unconditional acceptance, love and mutual recognition that might otherwise find unhealthy outlets. Marriage and family life are ballasts that serve individual happiness and contentment and lend meaning to our freedom and equality." —Scott Yenor


"In the coming decades, success will accrue to those cultures that preserve the family’s place.” Joel Kotkin


"Throughout the ages, political philosophers, social historians, and civic and religious leaders have praised the family as the foundation of the social order, the bedrock of nations, and the bastion of civilization.... The fact is that family is a universal and irreplaceable community, rooted in human nature and the basis for all societies at all times. As the cradle of life and love for each new generation, the family is the primary source of personal identity, self-esteem, and support for children. It is also the first and foremost school of life, uniquely suited to teach children integrity, character, morals, responsibility, service, and wisdom.... The state's foremost obligation... is to respect, defend, and protect the family as an institution." Statement to UN General Assembly


Family in Peril
A Decisive Moment

In 1948 when the newly minted United Nations issued its monumental Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the family was accorded a place of unique significance: "The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and its entitled to protection by society and the State."


This was no new discovery, but affirmation of a reality as ancient as humanity itself. "The family has been the ultimate foundation of every civilization known to history," wrote world historian Will Durant. Later when Durant chose the top ten thinkers of all time, the list was headed by the revered Chinese philosopher Confucius, whose towering insight was to understand that the world cannot be put in order without first putting in order the family.

Now in the ultimate irony, just as mankind produces the most dazzling scientific and technological breakthroughs ever, we are also approaching what many warn could be the demise of civilization itself because of the decline of the family.


"We are living in a decisive and very important moment," declared Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo. "If we have bad laws concerning the institutions that are fundamental for the life of society, then we will all suffer and, after us, the generations to come. The situation that has been created in our world with regard to marriage and the family calls for all our efforts."  


Or, as stated more succinctly by President Boyd K. Packer, "If we do not protect and foster the family, civilization and our liberties [will] perish."  

Several years ago a colleague and I were honored to accompany US Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey on a diplomatic tour of Central America. As we sat in the office of a president of one of the countries, he stated that all the major problems in his nation arose directly from a breakdown of the family. It is the same story everywhere: the disintegration of the family is unleashing an avalanche of crime, chaos, and economic and social disaster.


As if this were not enough, the institution of the family is under an intentional and severe attack. According to Dr. Allan C. Carlson, "The natural family stands reviled and threatened in the 21st century." In the words of Catherine Vierling, "We are at war.... The family is in danger [from those who] actively promote and implement a very aggressive anti-life, anti-faith, anti-family agenda behind closed doors."


Many of those closed doors are in the halls of the United Nations, the most dangerous battleground in the war against the family. Ellen Sauerbrey, former United States Ambassador to the UN Commission on the Status of Women, stated: "It is a terrible mistake to ignore what happens at these UN conferences because international statements matter a great deal. It matters because modern international law now deals not only with the obligations of states but with the shape of the family and the rights of individuals, including children…. Each internationally negotiated document builds upon language used and objectives sought in preceding conference documents and, as a result, becomes an important link in a chain that will impact on societies around the globe. We can’t afford to ignore what is going on in these international bodies because they have the ability to have a profound impact on us…. Lawrence vs. Texas [the US Supreme Court case that opened the way for gay marriage] cited customary international law.… We don’t dare ignore what is going on in the United Nations.”


Elder Dallin H. Oaks declared, "I am grateful that watchmen on the tower have alerted us to enemies and conditions that threaten to undermine the family-the foundation of societies and nations in every part of the world. Ironically, some of these enemies are working through the UN and using its stature and authority on the world stage to pursue anti-family efforts that must be of concern to us all....We must act to preserve the families of the world."


There is simply too much at stake to fail to act. "Throughout history," observed Emperor Haile Selassie, "it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph."

We invite you to join in protecting and promoting the natural family. We can begin at home by strengthening our own family, and then reach out to make a difference in our communities, nations, and around the world. We must take steps to preserve the sanctity of marriage and of the unborn, the right of children to grow up with both a father and a mother, and the right of parents to guide their children in matters of faith and morality, as well as the right of religious leaders and organizations to continue to speak and act in matters of faith without interference.

We especially urge delegates, ambassadors, policymakers, legislators, judges, educators, and other leaders and people of influence to evaluate proposed laws, policies, and curriculum in light of their impact on the family, and to take all necessary steps to preserve and protect our fundamental unit of society. We further urge leaders in media and entertainment to encourage and stand up for family values, and to help turn around the dangerous decline our society is experiencing.


"Law cannot stop family decline by itself," stated Professor Don Browning. "It must be part of a larger work of culture where law joins with religion, the human sciences, the market, public policy, and the arts to once again honor the natural family and equip persons to have the skills, commitment, supports, and rewards necessary to form and maintain it."  

In every way necessary and possible, we must act now to save the family.

E. Douglas Clark


Family Champion

Tribute to Richard Wilkins


Richard the Lionhearted is what one colleague called him, and for good reason: Even more than a great family man, Richard G. Wilkins was a fearless defender of families around the world.... Read more
Key articles by Richard:
"The family is the basic unit of society and must be strengthened. But the fact that this message is obvious has not prevented us from ignoring it. During the past 50 years, American and other societies have been much more preoccupied with the individual and the individual's rights than with the basic social unit within which individuals survive and thrive. The consequences are now becoming apparent around the globe."
"There has been a curious new development. In order to improve the social and political standing of women – a goal that is quite laudable – international law has become unusually hostile to long-standing notions of marriage, the natural family and the rearing of children."
The Family as the Cradle of International Human Rights

"Following two global conflicts, the international community was well aware that great evil is possible (and perhaps inevitable) when fundamental moral values are corrupted. The United Nations was organized to combat programmatic evil and promote social responsibility, decency and liberty. Importantly, however, those who established these vital goals believed that their achievement required recognition of and respect for certain intrinsic and absolute values—including those relating to the family, marriage, motherhood, childbearing and child rearing."


The Social Role of the Family

"Social science data demonstrates two nearly incontestable conclusions: (1) stable, natural marital structures provide profound benefits for men, women and children, while (2) the breakdown of stable, natural marital structures imposes significant social costs upon individuals and society at large. In short, families play a profoundly important social role."


Recognizing Our Shared Commitment to the Natural Family

"The fundamental truth that the natural family is the basic unit of society, furthermore, extends beyond the great monotheistic religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The classic Taoist text, The Chuang Tzu, explains that familial ties are the basis of any stable society because '[w]hen people are brought together by Heaven,... when troubles come, they hold together.'"



Family and Spirituality
Faith and Family


Family - An Orthodox Christian Perspective, by Archbishop Stylianos, Greek Orthodox Church in Australia

The Family: A Proclamation to the World (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

"The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan..."


"The family, a natural society, exists prior to the State or any other community, and possesses inherent rights which are unalienable..."


The Family: A Good for Humanity (European Catholic-Orthodox Forum`s statement)

"Marriage and the family belong to the created order and are not a product of mere human decision..."



Proclaiming the Family
Governmental and Scholarly Declarations


"Strengthening the family presents a unique opportunity to address societal problems in a holistic manner..."


The Madrid Declaration (World Congress of Families VI)

“This natural family is inscribed in human nature and centers on the voluntary union of a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage..."


Plan of Action on the Family in Africa

"In Africa, due to its multiple roles and functions, the centrality, uniqueness andindispensability of the family in society is unquestionable..."


The Natural Family: A Manifesto (Howard Center and Sutherland Institute)

"The natural family—part of the created order, imprinted on our natures, the source of bountiful joy, the fountain of new life, the bulwark of ordered liberty..."


Mississippi's Senate Concurrent Resolution on the Family (in preparation for IYF+10)

"The family exists prior to the state and is the very foundation of our communities and the bedrock of our nation...."


National Family Week Proclamation 1982 (Ronald Reagan)

"The family has always been the cornerstone of American society...."  See more Reagan National Family Week Proclamations





UN Family Policy Resource
UN Family Issues Guide 


ONLINE Guide to Family Issues in United Nations Conference Documents and Treaties


An essential resource for UN ambassadors and delegates, compiled and arranged by Susan Roylance

Click here to access the guide


Family Policy Resources
Policy Resource Archives 


Family and States

Family and Nations


"The state's foremost obligation... is to respect, defend, and protect the family as an institution." US statement to UN General Assembly at IYF+10 (read entire statement)

"Today more than ever, families need the special protection of the public authorities. States are responsible for defending the 'sovereignty' of the family, for the family is the fundamental cell of society's structure." .Archbishop Celestino Migliore (read entire statement)

"A nation without a conscious family policy leaves to chance and mischance an area of social reality of the up most importance, which in consequence will be exposed to the untrammeled and frequently thoroughly undesirable impact of policies arising in other areas.” US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Protecting Your Most Precious Asset, the Family: Top Ten Suggestions (CLICK HERE)

Confucius and World Constitutions on the Family

The Example of Cape Verde

Ronald Reagan's Executive Order on the Family

"New Ideas in Family Policy: A Presentation to Members of Sweden's Parliament" by Dr. Allan C. Carlson 

"Family Policies that Work" by the Honorable Kevin Andrews


The Malaise of the Modern Family in Russia by Elena Zaretskaya

Family Policy Institute, South Africa

State of Families in Singapore, 2003

Red Familia, Mexico (Spanish)


Family in UDHR

Family in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights


"It is no exaggeration to say that in the Universal Declaration the family is at the very center of rights. The family is fundamental because, among other things, it is the seedbed of all the other rights delineated in the Universal Declaration. To make the world new following the devastation of the most destructive war in history, the UN built its structure of universal human rights squarely on the foundation of the family." E. Douglas Clark

The Family as the Cradle of International Human Rights, by Richard G. Wilkins

The Family, by E. Douglas Clark

The Family and Human Rights (Pontifical Council for the Family)
We Cannot Afford to Indulge this Madness, by Cardinal Keith O'Brien
Note to policymakers: As the family is the foundation of society, so the UDHR's family provision declaring so constitutes the legal foundation (as explained in the above resources) to provide the protection mentioned in that same provision. And see article by Professor Van Alstine.

Family under Attack
A War against the Family


"During the last two decades the United Nations System has taken on a new role: that of world policymaker. Conferences and international conventions sponsored by the UN system are promulgating norms that alter dramatically the natural family. International law has become hostile to long-standing notions of marriage, the natural family and the rearing of children." Richard G. Wilkins

"In the fight for the family, the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question." Pope Benedict XVI

A War against the Family: an Overview

"International Law, Social Change and the Family" by Dr. Richard G. Wilkins

"UN and Family Policy" by Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey

"Hijacking Human Rights" by Kathryn Balmforth

"United Nations Policy and the Family" by Maria Sophia Aguirre and Ann Wolfgram

"How U.N. Conventions On Women's and Children's Rights Undermine Family, Religion, and Sovereignty" by Patrick F. Fagan

"The Family in the 21st Century: Can It Survive?" by Dr. Allan C. Carlson

"Six Problems with the 'Yogyakarta Principles'" by Piero A. Tozzi

"National Sovereignty: Why It Is Worth Defending" by Professor Jeremy Rabkin


Family-Related 2014 UN Events

UN Calendar 2014


Feb 11-21, 2014 Commission for Social Development, 52nd Session


Mar 3-28, 2014 Human Rights Council, 25th Session

June 10-27, 2014 Human Rights Council, 26th Session
June 20, 2014 World Refugee Day
June 23, 2014 International Widows Day 
Sept 16, 2004 - Sept 14, 2015 General Assembly

Family Celebration  
20th Anniversary of International Year of the Family, 2014 


Secretary-General's Report on Preparations for and observance of IYF+20 

CSD Draft Resolution on Preparations for and observance of IYF+20

GA Resolution on Preparations for and observance of IYF+20

The twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family (IYF+20) focuses on exploring family-oriented policies and strategies aiming mainly at confronting family poverty; ensuring work-family balance and advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity. The coordinator for this key event is Renata Kaczmarska, the UN Focal Point on the Family. The following is from the IYF+20 website:

The preparations for the twentieth anniversary will include:
  • International and regional expert group meetings gathering family experts and practitioners to explore recent family trends; analyse family-oriented policies and programmes and review good practices in family policy making.
  • Research activities, including background papers on family poverty, work family balance and intergenerational solidarity.
  • Exchange of good practices in family policy.
  • Observances of the International Days of Families focusing on the themes for the twentieth anniversary.
  • Side events at the Commission for Social Development.
  • Government, civil society, academic and private sector initiatives at the national level.
  • Findings and recommendations from these activities are to guide future action in effective family policy design, monitoring and implementation.
Governments, United Nations agencies and bodies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, research and academic institutions and the private sector are encouraged to play a supportive role in promoting the objectives of the twentieth anniversary for the benefit of families worldwide. For more information contact Focal Point on the Family at kaczmarska@un.org.

For archives from  IYF+10, click here.


 Family and Demography
Acclaimed Documentary


"Demography is destiny"

Family, Faith, Freedom
Strengthen Family, Society 


Faith, Family, and Religious Freedom, by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
“The gifted Michael Novak [states] in his eloquent commentary on the family: ‘Clearly, the family is the seedbed of economic skills, money habits, attitudes toward work, and the arts of financial independence. The family is a stronger agency of educational success than the school. The family is a stronger teacher of the religious imagination than the church. Political and social planning in a wise social order begin with the axiom What strengthens the family strengthens society’…. Rather than redefining marriage and family as we see increasing numbers around us trying to do, our age ought to be reinforcing and exalting that which has been the backbone of civilization since the dawn of it."

Read Faith, Family, and Religious Freedom

World Congress of Families VII


Report on the Congress
Highlights from the 

World Congress on Families VII:


The Honorable John Anderson, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia: on the causes and remedies of the crisis on the family

“Family breakdown is actually symptomatic of a much wider problem. One fundamental aspect of that problem is the breakdown of truth and absolutes in our society. We have come to place so much emphasis on our own selfish freedoms that we no longer accept the constraints of any consistent workable code of social conduct or indeed of any real sense of commitment to each other or to future generations." Read the speech



Dr. David van Gend, President of the Australian Marriage Forum: The Harm to Children of Same-Sex Marriage

"Marriage is not a social invention to be cut to shape according to political whim; it is a social recognition of timeless natural reality: male, female, offspring. The father of modern anthropology, Claude Levi-Strauss, called marriage “a social institution with a biological foundation”. He notes that throughout recorded history the human family is “based on a union... of two individuals of opposite sexes who establish a household and bear and raise children." Read the speech



Archbishop Vincent Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council on the Family: Strengthening Marriage and Family Life

"Taking as my point of departure the words of Cicero, one of Rome's greatest intellectuals, we could begin by stating that... the Family is the basis of society and virtually the school for all social life and issues. It is from the Family that citizens come to birth and it is within the Family that they find the first school of the social virtues which constitute the animating principle for the existence and development of society itself." Read the speech



Janice Crouse, Senior Fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute: Marriage and Family Life: The Kernel of Every Nation

"Throughout history and across all cultures, marriage has been the foundation of families and the bedrock of civilized nations.... A healthy family— a married husband and wife— provides the first schoolhouse where children are taught the self-restraint, empathy, personal responsibility necessary for them to live cooperatively, harmoniously, and economically self-sufficient; these are the skills crucial to the future of limited government and strong nations." Read the speech



Peter Westmore, President of the National Civic Council of Australia: Why Natural Marriage Must Be Protected
“Virtually every nation, culture, tribe, religion and race since antiquity has affirmed that male and female parents who have freely promised to commit themselves to each other permanently, are an essential element of marriage. As a result, all societies have accorded such unions special status.” Read the speech 


Jose Antonio Ureta, Founding Member of Fundacion Roma: The French Apocalypse
"To sell this social experiment to the public, the French government labelled it 'Marriage for all.' Cardinal Vingt-Trois of Paris immediately denounced the dishonesty of the slogan, declaring that the so-called 'marriage for all' was nothing but a denatured marriage for just a few imposed upon all…. French people are preparing for a lengthy battle, including every possible means of resistance….  The resistance network has given birth to a new movement called 'Veilleurs': the 'Watchers' or 'Vigil-Makers.'" Read the speech


Allan C. Carlson, President of the Howard Center: Declaration of the World Congress on Families VII
"We, the delegates of the World Congress of Families VII, assembled in Sydney Australia, this 18 May 2013 affirm that the sustained prosperity and happiness of nations rests on the foundation of strong natural families."

Read the declaration


Professor Patrick Parkinson,  President of the International Society of Family Law: Fragile Families and the Looming Financial Crisis

"Fragile families lead to broken hearts. They also threaten the wellbeing of the community as a whole. Turning this around will require a herculean effort, but we cannot afford not to make the attempt."


Read the article


Past World Congresses

WCF Archives


WCF VI: Madrid 2012


Mother and Family
In Honor of Mothers


"Mothers are endowed with a love that is unlike any other love on the face of the earth.” —Marjorie Pay Hinckley
"The greatest force for good on earth is the love of mothers." —Shelly Locke
“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” —Jewish proverb
"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother." —Abraham Lincoln 
"All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her." —George Washington

"The arms of a mother are the newborn's first cradle and the injured child's first refuge. The hands of a mother are the hands of care for the child who is near and of prayer for the one who is far away. The eyes of a mother are the eyes of fond surprise at baby's first step, the eyes of unspoken worry at the young adult's first voyage from home, the eyes of gladness at every call or visit that says she is honored and remembered. The heart of a mother is a heart that is always full." President Ronald Reagan, Mothers Day Proclamation 1988

Family and Marriage
The Marriage Debate: "The Defining Battle of Our Time"


"To destroy the institution of marriage by redefining it out of existence is a social upheaval so momentous and so far-reaching that we cannot even clearly predict just how much damage will ensue. This is the defining battle of our time." Bill Muehlenberg


Since the dawn of human history, marriage between a man and a woman has been—by divine design, many believe—the bedrock foundation of family and civilization. This natural complementarity of father and mother has afforded the optimum opportunity for children to grow and flourish. Notwithstanding the multitude of imperfect parents and flawed marriages, the ideal has remained constant. "The family has been the ultimate foundation of every civilization known to history," wrote world historian Will Durant. 
Does a child need a father? President Barak Obama declared: "Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation."
Does a child need a mother? Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stated: "Mothers play a critical role in the family, which is a powerful force for social cohesion and integration. The mother-child relationship is vital for the healthy development of children.... We face multiple challenges in our changing world, but one factor remains constant: the timeless importance of mothers and their invaluable contribution to raising the next generation."
So much for the NEEDS of children, but what about their RIGHTS? Read more


Why the Marriage Debate Should Focus on the Needs of Children, by Dr. Jenet Jacob Erickson (video):

Love, Intimacy, and Sexuality in Marriage, by Christine de Vollmer (SPANISH video):

Apples, Oranges & Gay Marriage, Or the Name Game and Hidden Assumptions, by Robbin Phillips

Gay Marriage Around the World, Pew Forum

Five Gay Marriage Myths, by Robbin Phillips

Why Fight Same-Sex Marriage? Is There Really That Much at Stake?, by Douglas Farrow

Marriage Matters: Consequences of Redefining Marriage (Heritage), by Ryan T. Anderson

Same-Sex Marriage Ten Years On: Lessons from Canada, by Bradley Miller

Opposition to Gay Marriage is Not Discrimination, by Rabbi Aryeh Spero

France's Chief Rabbi: What Has Been Forgotten in the Debate on Gay Marriage

Pope Says Future of Mankind is at Stake over Marriage

Marriage, Religious Liberty, and the Grand Bargain, by Robert P. George

The Argument Against Gay Marriage - And Why it Doesn't Fail, by Robert P. George et al.

Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles (Witherspoon Institute)

The Marriage Advantage: A Guide (United Families International)

National Marriage Project

Why Marriage Matters (FRC)

Why Marriage Matters (NOMA)

Why Preserving Marriage Matters (Preserve Marriage Washington)

Why Australia Needs a Renewed Culture of Natural Marriage, by Allan C. Carlson

Consequences of Redefining Marriage (Preserve Marriage Washington)

America's Exodus from Marriage, by Peter Wehner

The State of Our Unions: Marriage in America 2012 (includes proposed specific policy changes)




Family and Development
Family as the Key to Development
See below for free immediate online access to resources in ENGLISH, FRENCH, SPANISH, ARABIC, CHINESE and RUSSIAN!


"We must not forget that the family is a vital partner in efforts to achieve the Millennium  Development Goals and the many other objectives set by the international community."  Secretary-General Kofi Annan  
"The family is not only the fundamental group unit of society, but is also the fundamental agent for sustainable social, economic and cultural development." Doha Declaration
"The attainment of every Millennium Development Goal must begin with the family. The family is the main instrument of societal transformation." Ambassor Iftekhar Chowdhury
In 2012 at UN headquarters in New York, the Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development launched a new book that focuses on the key role played by the family in the attainment of each Millennium Development Goal.


Family Strengthening
The Family Enrichment Program
A Guide for Strengthening Families through Weekly Family Night
The simple but powerful resource used around the world to increase family unity and strength, now translated into 23 languages


Learn more (click each slide to advance)

Request information or manuals


Teaching Values to Children
"Alive to the World" Program


The oustanding values program created by Latin American Alliance for the Family (Alianza Latinoamericana para la Familia, or ALAFA), with translations used in Latin America (Spanish and Portuguese), the US and UK, and Sub-Saharan Africa (this is but one of ALAFA's excellent programs)

Learn more about the program and each of the 12 books

Visit ALAFA's English language site

Visit ALAFA's Spanish language site


Protecting Children 
"Stay Alive" Program
HIV/AIDS Prevention
Bringing life and hope to the rising generation in Africa



Family Members
Mothers, Fathers, Children


"In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy
Natural Womanhood (video), by Susan Roylance

Family Quotes
Speaking of Family...


“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” —Mother Teresa
"Peace in society depends upon peace in the family." —Augustine

"In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future." —Alex Haley

"The family is the nucleus of civilization.”—Will Durant

“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”—Pope John Paul III

“There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained.” —Winston Churchill

“This is part of what a family is about, not just love. It's knowing that your family will be there watching out for you. Nothing else will give you that. Not money. Not fame. Not work.” —Mitch Albom

“Your children are the greatest gift God will give to you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands. Take time with them, teach them to have faith in God. Be a person in whom they can have faith. When you are old, nothing else you've done will have mattered as much.” —Lisa Wingate

“God is the designer of the family.” —Gordon B. Hinckley

"The family [is] a haven in a heartless world." —Christopher Lasch

"Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to the country and to mankind is to bring up a family." —George Bernard

"Our most baisc instinct is not for survival but for family." —Paul Pearshall

“The home is the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose, and that is to support the ultimate career.” —C. S. Lewis

“No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” —J. E. McCullough

"A happy family is but an earlier heaven." —John Browning

"There is nothing greater and better than this—when a husband and wife keep a household in oneness of mind." —Homer

“It didn't matter how big our house was; it mattered that there was love in it.” —Peter Buffett

“The traditional family is the necessary foundation for (international) communities; because it is the sanctuary where men and women learn cooperation, sacrifice, love, and mutual support; it is the training ground where children learn the public virtues of responsibility, work, fair play, and social interdependence. International law and the family, therefore, are inextricably linked. Disregarding this link places both the law and the families in peril.” — Richard G. Wilkins

"The family is one of nature's masterpieces." —George Santayana

“Family is not an important thing, it's everything.” —Michael J. Fox

“The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.” —Victor Hugo

"It is no secret that the vulnerability suffered by our peoples—insecurity, crime, abuse, abandonment of the elderly, orphaned children and violence—causes enormous imbalances and obliges us to spend millions on institutional policies that in the end can do no more than manage those ills. If we go on like this, a time when will come when all our tax resources will not suffice to counter the effects of vulnerability. If we wish to address the causes, we must look at the family." —Ana Teresa Aranda

"In time of test, family is best." —Burmese Proverb

“The family is a school of compassion because it is here that we learn to live with other people." —Karen Armstrong

"The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works is the family."—Lee Iacocca

“The way you help heal the world is you start with your own family.” —Mother Teresa

“Before this era is over, every living human being will have chosen. Every living human being will have lined up in support of the family or against it. Every living human being will have either opposed the onslaught against the family or supported it, for if he tries to make no choice that in itself will be a choice. If we do not act in behalf of the family, that is itself an act of opposition to the family.”—Sheri L. Dew


Family Issues and Ideas
In Support of Family


Archbishop of Canterbury Speaks of Same-Sex Challenges to Church

"The Church of England holds very firmly, and continues to hold to the view, that marriage is a lifelong union of one man to one woman…. At the same time, at the heart of our understanding of what it is to be human, is the essential dignity of the human being. And so we have to be very clear about homophobia."


America’s new government-imposed religion

"Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to close their doors in Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., because their religious beliefs about marriage were deemed unacceptable by their jurisdictions."


Mayor Ed Koch and the Pro-Life Witness: The Courage and Kindness of Jeanne Head

"Her kindness was a signal of her confidence in the rightness of her position. It was also a sign of her consistency. She believed unborn children and their mothers were made in the image of God..."


Pope Benedict XVI Says Future of Mankind is at Stake over Marriage 

"In the fight for the family, the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question."


LGBT Rights and the Universal Declaration: A Critique of the Secretary-General's Remarks, by E. Douglas Clark

"It was not just the LGBT community who cheered when UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently decried violence against gays. [Click here to read his remarks.] Addressing a crowded room of LGBT activists assembled on December 11, 2012 to celebrate International Human Rights Day at UN headquarters..." Read more

Family News and Commentary 

News and Views



“Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, called human trafficking a criminal activity, on rapid increase in the world. Ezeilo said that not a single country or entity has yet been able to stop this practice, and the magnitude of this problem is enormous.”

How We Can End Slavery, by Kevin Bates

“With 27 million people in slavery today, how can we ever hope to eradicate this horror? In fact, this generation, after 5,000 years of human slavery, can bring it to an end…. To bring people to freedom and to end slavery, three things have to happen…”

How to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, by Somaly Mam

“As a survivor of sex slavery, I have dedicated my life’s work to ending it. To many people, the issue of slavery seems like a clear case of right and wrong. The reality is much more complicated. There are many root causes and serious challenges. But these challenges do not stop me from continuing to find solutions to eradicate slavery and empower its survivors as part of the solution.”

Online resources:

*Free the Slaves

*20 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking

*The A21 Campaign

*Tiny Hands International

*List of Organizations


You Are So Beautiful: World Down Syndrome Day VIDEOS


“Adelaide couple Mark and Matt, both 29, have acquired Thai-designed newborns Tate and Estelle through commercialised surrogacy overseas…. What most concerns me is the complete erasure of the mother or mothers in these acts of global womb renting by wealthy Westerners. This latest case highlights this mother disappearance.” 


“In the Francophone countries of Africa, there is a grisly practice whereby girls as young as 9 are sold into marriages with men 40, 50, or 60 years their senior. ‘Sounds more like sex-trafficking,’ said a friend of mine… His assessment was correct.” 

Forced to Marry Before Puberty, African Girls Pay Lasting Price (New York Times)

“African… girls are often married at or before puberty to whomever their fathers choose, sometimes to husbands as much as half a century older. Many of those same girls later choose lifelong misery over divorce because custom decrees that children in patriarchal tribes belong to the father.”


"All these acts… are… ultra vires and must be recognised as violating the principle of sovereign equality and exceeding the treaty monitoring body mandate. The Committee’s ultra vires acts, though not directly legally binding, seriously affect the legal regime in the states parties to the UNCRC [United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child]. They affect national law enforcement practice, changes to national legislation, and influence legally binding decisions by other international bodies."


   “Recognizing that the preparations for and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family provide a useful opportunity…  for undertaking concerted actions to strengthen familycentred policies and programmes as part of an integrated comprehensive approach to development…   

   “Recognizing that the family, as the natural and fundamental group unit of society, has the primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection of children and that children, for the full and harmonious development of their personality, should grow up in a family environment and in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding…” Read the resolution


"A special claim is laid upon Jews by the very first words spoken aloud by God in the hearing of mankind—the first of the Bible’s divine injunctions to humanity and the first idea that humans encounter in the earliest moments of their conscious existence: ‘Be fruitful and increase, fill the earth and subdue it.’ (Genesis 1:28) Indeed, for a couple of thousand years, the non-Jewish world thought that what was most distinctive about the Jews was the teleological dimension with which their religion had endowed sexuality, marriage, and fruitfulness. The Jews thought so themselves." 


Muslims, Our Natural Allies, by Robert P. George
“I am a Catholic. My Church teaches me to esteem our Muslim friends and to work with them in the cause of promoting justice and moral values… Let us… forget past quarrels and stand together for righteousness, justice, and the dignity of all…. Let us be mindful that it is not our Muslim fellow citizens who have undermined public morality, assaulted our religious liberty, and attempted to force us to comply with their ideology on pain of being reduced to the status of second-class citizens. Let all of us—Christians, Jews, Muslims, and people of other faiths who ‘esteem an upright life’ and seek truly to honor God and do His will—embrace each other.” 


How to Fight Income Inequality: Get Married, by Ari Fleischer

“Attitudes toward marriage and having children have changed in America over the past 50 years, and low-income children and their mothers are the ones who are paying the price. The statistics make clear what common sense tells us: Children who grow up in a home with married parents have an easier time becoming educated, wealthy and successful than children reared by one parent.”


Nelson Mandela and 'the foundations of one's spiritual life,' by Robert Marquand, in The Christian Science Monitor

“In 1975 [while in prison], he could write: ‘Honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve others—qualities which are within reach of every soul—are the foundations of one’s spiritual life. Development in matters of this nature is inconceivable without serious introspection… At least, if for nothing else, the cell gives you the opportunity to look daily into your entire conduct, to overcome the bad and develop whatever is good within you.... Never forget that a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying.'”


“The European court of human rights exceeds its legitimate powers, usurps the role of politicians and ‘undermines the democratic process,’ one of the UK's most senior judges has warned…. [Lord] Sumption highlighted one example of the court's ‘creative’ role in reinterpreting the convention to take into account contemporary circumstances, namely its interpretation of Article 8 of the convention – the right to private and family life. A right originally ‘devised as a protection against the surveillance state by totalitarian governments’ now extends, Sumption said, ‘to cover the legal status of illegitimate children, immigration and deportation, extradition, aspects of criminal sentencing, abortion, homosexuality, assisted suicide…, and a great deal else besides…. None of these extensions are warranted by the express language of the convention, nor in most cases are they necessary implications.’”


“Under the misleading headline ‘China to Ease One-Child Policy,’ Xinhua News Agency reported last Friday that China will now lift the ban on a second child, if either parent is an only child. It is already the case that couples can have a second child if both parents are themselves only children. This minor adjustment will not ‘ease’ the one-child policy. It will merely tweak it."


"In her opening remarks, [Utah first lady] Jeanette Herbert said the goal of Uplift Families is to help parents turn ‘the job of parenting into the joy of parenting.’ The role of parents is not to just raise good kids, she said, but to raise children with the skill set they need to be productive adults…. During their presentation, [Richard and Linda Eyre] shared their five basic principles of all families — the need to not be overly concerned with small issues; to remember each child is unique; to preserve time for personal needs; to prioritize children while they live in the home; and to give children more by giving them less.” 


“While European leaders are busy expressing public indignation over reports of American espionage operations in the European Union, the European Parliament is quietly considering a proposal that calls for the direct surveillance of any EU citizen suspected of being ‘intolerant.’ Critics say the measure— which seeks to force the national governments of all 28 EU member states to establish ‘special administrative units’ to monitor any individual or group expressing views that the self-appointed guardians of European multiculturalism deem to be ‘intolerant’— represents an unparalleled threat to free speech in a Europe where citizens are already regularly punished for expressing the ‘wrong’ opinions…. ‘Faith-based groups and schools, adherents of a particular religion or even just parents who want to teach their children certain moral values would all be put under general suspicion of being intolerant,’ according to European Dignity Watch.” 


"The clearest demonstration of this monumental shift in morality and worldview is the revolution now underway with regard to marriage, the family, and human sexuality. Long ago, historians Will and Ariel Durant noted that sex is 'a river of fire that must be banked and cooled by a hundred restraints.' The primary restraint has always been the institution of marriage itself, an institution that is inescapably heterosexual and based in the monogamous union of a man and a woman as husband and wife. In our times, the fires of sex and sexuality are increasingly unbanked and uncooled. Similarly, Pitirim Sorokin, the founder of sociology at Harvard University, pointed to the regulation of sexuality as the essential first mark of civilization. According to Sorokin, civilization is possible only when marriage is normative and sexual conduct is censured outside of the marital relationship. Furthermore, Sorokin traced the rise and fall of civilizations and concluded that the weakening of marriage was a first sign of civilizational collapse.... We are living in the shadow of a great moral revolution that we commonly believe will have grave and devastating human consequences.... I am unashamed to stand with you in the defense of marriage and family and a vision of human sexual integrity."


“While the findings of social science and the teachings of religion lend support to the family, we turn to the American Founders for a stronger, principled defense of traditional marriage and the family. The Founders understood that the family, with the commitment of marriage needed to sustain it, is uniquely equipped to educate and prepare individuals for the responsibilities of citizenship and is therefore critical to the success of the American experiment in self-government.” 


To Fix the World, by Dr. Allan Carlson
"Dr. Allan C. Carlson, International Secretary of the World Congress of Families and President of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society spoke on 'Family Structure, Educational Liberty and Creative Genius' at the Rhodes Forum October 2-6…. 'Fundamentally, marriage and the family must be restored to their place of dignity among the great values in human life, not to be trifled with.'"


"President Xi Jinping believes China is losing its moral compass and he wants the ruling Communist Party to be more tolerant of traditional faiths in the hope these will help fill a vacuum created by the country's breakneck growth and rush to get rich."


“You can now read, search, and compare 160 constitutions from around the world thanks to  Constitute, a website launched by Google on Monday. The site, developed by the Comparative Constitutions Project, with seed funding by Google Ideas, has digitized the constitutions of 160 countries, making them fully searchable.” 


"Wherever violent religious extremist groups have held sway, be it central Somalia or elsewhere, they have penetrated every nook and cranny of human endeavor, imposing their will on families and communities in horrific ways." 


“The rights of religious groups or individuals that object to same-sex marriage continue to clash with those pursued by gay rights advocates. Now, the fight that started at state ballot boxes and in courtrooms has moved to floral shops, bakeries and photo studios.” 


Law Professor Helen Alvare’s amicus brief in US Supreme Court, and related story: Marriage Has a Role in Raising Children, Reducing Poverty
"As redefined by Plaintiffs, marriage would merely become a reparation, a symbolic capstone, and a personal reward, not a gateway to adult responsibilities, including childbearing, childrearing, and the inculcating of civic virtues in the next generation for the benefit of the larger society.” 


"California’s Supreme Court, without explanation, refused Wednesday afternoon [August 14] to revive 'Proposition 8' — the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. It rejected a plea to order county clerks across the state to obey that ballot measure."



Religious Freedom Is About More Than Religion, by Robert P. George and Katrina Lantos Swett
"Coercion in the cause of belief, whether religious or secular, produces not genuine conviction, but pretense and inauthenticity. It is therefore essential that religious freedom include the right to change one's beliefs and religious affiliation. It also includes the right to witness to one's beliefs in public as well as private, and to act—while respecting the equal right of others to do the same—on one's religiously inspired convictions in carrying out the duties of citizenship. Religious liberty includes a heavy presumption against being coerced to act contrary to one's sense of religious duty." 


"Too many members of the foreign policy establishment disagree with George Washington that religious conviction is essential to 'the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity.' Too few members of that foreign policy elite understand James Madison’s conviction that religious citizens and their communities are essential parts of civil society, and thus important checks on the tendency of all governments to expand their power." 


"I Have Learned from My Father and Mother": Yousafzai's Speech at UN

“First of all, thank you to God for whom we all are equal and thank you to every person who has prayed for my fast recovery and a new life. I cannot believe how much love people have shown me.... Dear sisters and brothers, I am not against anyone. Neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorists group. I am here to speak up for the right of education of every child. I want education for the sons and the daughters of all the extremists especially the Taliban. I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hand, and he stands in front of me, I would not shoot him.This is the compassion that I have learned from Muhammad the prophet of mercy, and Jesus Christ, and Lord Buddha…. This is the forgiveness that I have learned from my father and from my mother.”

WATCH or READ her speech



"It is in the interest of the country and the state to support and promote the family arrangements that give children the greatest opportunity to succeed. In the Supreme Court decision, Justice Kennedy described DOMA as “a law designed to injure.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. The intent was to protect the children — the future of our society."


"The only direct effect that the Court’s decision has on marriage in California is to permit the four plaintiffs in that case, and them alone, to seek and receive marriage licenses.  The district court’s ruling extends no further than to these four individuals. So what does this mean for the rest of the State?  It means that Prop 8 remains the law of the land in California." 

RELATED: New Petition to California Supreme Court Argues that Proposition 8 Must Still Be Enforced

"While it has been widely assumed that last month's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry reinstating a federal district court's injunction had the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage in California, a petition filed Friday with the California Supreme Court argues that this is not the case. (ADF press release). The petition and accompanying memorandum (full text) in Hollingsworth v. O'Connell, (CA Sup. Ct., filed 7/12/2013) seeks a writ of mandate ordering 58 county clerks to enforce Proposition 8."


"Here’s the least reported fact about [the] rulings on marriage: the Supreme Court refused to give Ted Olson and David Boies, the lawyers suing to overturn Prop 8, what they wanted. The Court refused to redefine marriage for the entire nation. The Court refused to "discover" a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Citizens and their elected representatives remain free to discuss, debate, and vote about marriage policy in all fifty states." 


“The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people… The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so. The preservation of liberty and justice requires that all laws, federal and state, respect the truth, including the truth about marriage.” 


Marriage and Justice Are Wounded, But Not Fatally, by Matthew J. Franck

"The opinion was of a kind we are used to seeing by now from Justice Kennedy: long on windy rhetoric about 'dignity' and ad hominem attacks on the basic human decency of the law’s defenders, and short on actual coherent legal reasoning from recognizable constitutional principles…. But the battle continues, and for people who have faith in the truth, despair is never an option. Yes. It could have been much, much worse. We have a lot of work ahead of us."


Supreme Court strikes down DOMA provision denying benefits to gay couples
"In a big day for gay-rights advocates, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a federal provision denying benefits to legally married gay couples and issued a separate ruling that paves the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.... The latter decision did not speak to the constitutionality of gay marriage bans in California, or in the country as a whole."
DOMA decision: Court summary here; Ruling here
Prop 8 decision: Court summary here; Ruling here


"In the majority's telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us. The truth is more complicated. It is hard to admit that one's political opponents are not monsters, especially in a struggle like this one, and the challenge in the end proves more than today's Court can handle. Too bad." 


“Today, the Supreme Court failed to uphold two important laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. At the same time, the Court also refused to fabricate a new right to same-sex marriage, as the proponents of redefining marriage through the courts had hoped to do. In other words, the debate about marriage will continue. States will lead the way..."   


Vicki Hartzlera (R-Missouri), Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), John Fleming (R-Louisiana), Joseph Pitts (R-Pennsylvania), Scott Garrett (R-New Jersey), Tim Walberg (R-Michigan), Doug LaMalfa (R-California), Randy Weber (R-Texas), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Michele Bachman (R-Minnesota), Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas)


“What is inevitable is that the male and female relationship will continue to be uniquely important to the future of society.  The reality is that society needs children, and children need a mom and a dad.  We will continue to work to restore and promote a healthy marriage culture, which will maximize the chances of a child being raised by a married mother and father.” 


“An important current of French thought, which has no real American equivalent, has maintained that while women deserve equal rights, these rights must not entail the supposed erasure of sexual difference.” 


“We all agree on the critical role fathers play in the lives of their children, which is why we should continue to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the interest of children.” 


"There is no civil right for the government to redefine marriage.” 
"Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does."


"The Pope urged the Archbishop to continue proclaiming 'the sacredness of human life or the importance of the institution of the family built on marriage, a value that you yourself have had occasion to recall recently.'" 


“Redefining marriage will make it harder for our children to develop their self-understanding and will sanction procreative methods that treat children like commodities.” 


"By tradition, Americans celebrate the third Sunday in June as Father's Day in honor of the immense and indispensable contributions fathers make to our lives and to our Nation. They deserve our thanks and recognition every day of the year and especially on Father's Day. Fatherhood is all about the things that matter most-about love and new life, about trust and responsibility, about faithfulness to a family and to a calling. Fathers must be many things, but most of all they must be selfless. Fathers seek to give their children a share of the world's goods and an even greater share of its goodness." See all of President Reagan's Father's Day Proclamations


“Kids need dads. Not ‘male role models.’ Not ‘masculine influences.’ Not ‘Y chromosome facilitators.’ Dads….  Marriage is more than a good idea. It is, hands down, the best way to ensure that mothers, fathers, and children reach their full potential and have the best opportunity to achieve happiness.”



"We are also encouraged by the turning tide of scholarly support for the free exer­cise of religion as it applies to important social issues. For example, the Girgis, Anderson, and George book What Is Marriage? states a powerful scholarly and philosophical case for the time-honored definition of marriage as between a man and a woman and its importance for the issue of religious freedom. If the defense of traditional marriage 'comes to be seen as irrational,' the authors write, 'people’s freedom to express and live by it will be curbed,' and 'believing what virtually every human society once believed about marriage—that it is a male-female union—will be seen in­creasingly as a malicious prejudice, to be driven to the margins of culture.'" 


"Following closely on the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to retain its longstanding policy of requiring leaders to adhere to the organization’s policies regarding sexual morality, the California state senate approved a bill…. singling out the Scouts for adverse treatment (removal of a tax exemption) because of the organization’s policies on religious matters including sexual morality and belief in God.”  


IRS Also Targeted Religious, Pro-Life, Pro-Marriage Groups

"Capitol Hill lawmakers are getting daily phone calls from constituents who oversee conservative groups wondering whether viewpoint discrimination is at the heart of recent IRS audits and delays."


Archbishop of Canterbury: Gay Marriage Not a Faith Issue

“The British House of Lords began debate on a bill that would create a right to gay marriage. Speaking before the body, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby [said]: ‘The result is confusion. Marriage is abolished, redefined and recreated – being different and unequal for different categories…. The concept of marriage as a normative place for procreation is lost. The idea of marriage as covenant is diminished. The family in its normal sense predating the state and as our base community of society is weakened… It is not at heart a faith issue. It is about the general social good.”


"I write as a family doctor for whom the question of same-sex marriage centres on one fact: that the marriage of two men means a motherless family." 


First Lady Seeks End To Teenage Pregnancies In Africa

"Delivering a keynote address on 'The Roles of Traditional and Religious Leaders in the prevention of teenage pregnancies,' the First Lady noted that... sustainable development can only be achieved in the fight against teenage pregnancies if our traditional leaders will return to the dignity and high moral values that had held our traditional communities together."