01
Dr. Katsumi Otsuka, regional president of UPF for Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East
02
The speakers of the Opening Panel
03
The Opening Panel speakers with conference participants
04
Ms. Atefeh Sadeghi, representing Islam
05
Mr. Ratnajit Sama, who spoke about in Session I about Hinduism, with his young daughter
06
Representatives of the Sikh community
07
Mrs. Carolyn Handschin of WFWP and Mr. Michel Reymond of UPF
08
Ms. Heather Komenda of the International Organization for Migration and Mr. Michel Reymond of UPF
09
Professor Dr. Isabel Apawo Phiri, the deputy general secretary of the World Council of Churches
10
A question from the audience
11
The speakers of Session II
12
Representatives of the Sikh community with Mrs. Carolyn Handschin of WFWP and Mr. Michel Reymond of UPF
13
Mr. Hafid Ouardiri, president of the Fondation de l’Entreconnaissance and vice president of the Geneva Interreligious Platform (right), and Rev. Dr. P...
14
The speakers of Session III
15
Rev. Dr. Peniel Rajkumar, executive director of the Interfaith Program of the World Council of Churches (left), and Mr. Hafid Ouardiri
16
Dr. Michael Balcomb, the regional chair for Europe and the Middle East of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification
17
The Ecumenical Center of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland
18
Mr. Heiner Handschin, director of the UPF liaison office
19
Representatives of the Sikh community offer a chant near the conclusion of the program.
20
An interfaith conversation
21
Representatives of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification and Women’s Federation for World Peace
22
Mr. Gurdeep Singh Kunden of the Sikh Foundation Switzerland
23
A question from the audience
24
The Venerable Wimalarathana, president of the Zurich-based International Buddhist Foundation, offers a recitation and chant for peace.
25
The speakers and participants at the close of the conference

Geneva, Switzerland—To commemorate the 25th anniversary of International Day of Families, the Universal Peace Federation, in joint sponsorship with the World Council of Churches (WCC), the UPF-affiliated organization Women’s Federation for World Peace International (WFWPI), the Geneva Interfaith Intercultural Alliance (GIIA), and the Fribourg Peace Forum (FPF), convened a special one-day program of debate and discussion on the topic “Interreligious Cooperation for Peace and Human Development—Creating an Environment for Thriving Families.”

In this year’s commemorative event, the organizers decided to focus on the special challenges that families face in an increasingly difficult environment caused by war and conflict, human trafficking and mass-migration, climate change as well as the scourge of widespread substance abuse by youth.

The conference, which was held in the WCC’s Geneva Ecumenical Center on May 14, 2019, started with a high-level opening panel gathering the key organizers, the World Council of Churches and the Universal Peace Federation, but also the permanent representative of the Holy See mission to the UN in Geneva, as well as a representative of academia, the Fribourg Peace Forum.

Click on the links below to access the articles, photos and videos for the various sessions.

International Day of Families Observed in Switzerland: Opening session

International Day of Families Observed in Switzerland: Session 1

International Day of Families Observed in Switzerland: Declaration of the Interfaith Youth Council Assembly

International Day of Families Observed in Switzerland: Session 2

International Day of Families Observed in Switzerland: Session 3

Executive Report - Part 1 (PDF)

Executive Report - Part 2 (PDF)

Concluding Session

Representing the organizers, Mr. Heiner Handschin took the floor to conclude the conference. The representatives of the Sikh community offered a beautiful chant in their tradition to bring the conference to a harmonious unity. The conference organizers suggested a certain number of recommendations. Finally the plenary concluded to support the resolution that was offered by the Interfaith Youth Council.

To conclude the conference, the facilitator invited the Venerable Wimalarathana, president of the Zurich-based International Buddhist Foundation, to offer a recitation and chant for peace and well-being in the world.

He first offered a short meditation about the mind that is the master of the body; if the mind is polluted, the actions are polluted as well. He suggested that global education should focus on purity of the mind. “We all need to focus on universal love in order to create a lasting peace in the world,” he said.

The conference ended with a colorful reception in the lobby of the Ecumenical Center.

(See the individual sessions for the other videos.)

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