Over the weekend, I was able to attend the last day of the seventh World Congress of Families. Founded in the late nineties, the congress seeks to respond to the anti-family modes of thought that dominate the West with a coming together of international pro-family organisations and activists.

I would have loved to get a glimpse of every session over the three days, but constraints of time (and matter) didn’t allow this. Of the speakers and presentations that I did see however, I came away impressed by the array of ways in which the family can be supported in society.

Adoptive father of three and GFC Foundation president, Stan Swim, spoke of how adoption should answer a child’s need for family, and not the couple’s desire for a child. He spoke eloquently and from the heart, stressing the need for the child’s well-being to always be the main goal in the adoption process.

An interesting session on the contribution of migrant families from Emmanuel and Janette Bautista reflected immigrants who are so grateful to benefit from, and give, to their home of multicultural Australia. A speech by Ziaul Ahmad (closely associated with Muslim community’s establishment in Australia) showed however that there is still often a lack of understanding when it comes to some migrant groups, which is an obstacle when it comes to successful integration.

A youth culture forum conveyed many ways in which society can be influenced. Author and journalist Lloyd Newell started by pointing out the “fear factor”, or that which prevents young people from standing up for the truth. Researcher Maggie Hamilton spoke of the awful challenges faced by young people including early sexualisation, while up and coming fashion designer Judi Limbers talked of a solution to this through helping society to rediscover beauty. Panellists also covered how positive messages can be sent to society through music, acting and social media.

The plenary session afforded a summary of findings – a declaration which stated the world’s future as resting on the foundation of stable and natural families. The Chair, Allan Carlson, pointed out that the findings of the Congress were equivalent to those of previous congresses. While this stalled me for a second, this consistency is definitely a good thing. It just goes to show that while challenges to the family unit may be ever varied, the desire for the well-being of the family unit doesn’t change. 

Tamara El-Rahi is an associate editor of MercatorNet. A Journalism graduate from the University of Technology Sydney, she lives in Australia with her husband and two daughters.