"The Family, School of Human Rights" was the theme of the XVIII International Congress of the Family, held October 1st - 2nd in Valencia, Spain and organized by the IFFD (International Federation for Family Development): www.iffd.org/familycongress2010.
It brought together more than five hundred married couples from 51 countries to discuss issues such as the social impact of the family, its economic effects, the benefit of having children, and the place that the family should have in the political agenda and in international organizations. The speakers shared concrete examples of positive steps taken towards the benefit of the family in several countries, especially regarding family counseling. The Congress had a festive and even family atmosphere, despite the large number of people and languages represented.
It was already the second time that the International Federation for Family Development, an organization known for promoting family counseling world-wide, also addressed the "family and media” issue as one of the central themes of its conferences. Armando Fumagalli, Professor at the Catholic University of Milan and consultant to the production company Lux Vide, discussed the image of the family that is portrayed in television. He explained how the natural family, with its human and Christian values, also has a place in television programming. However, it should be represented with the utmost professional quality because the field of audio-visual production is truly a strong competitive environment.
While recalling Rafael Pich, founder and chief promoter of the IFFD courses, the Secretary-General of IIFD, Vidal-Quadras, affirmed that “the family is often considered as the solution to many problems- poverty, crime, social order, the demographic crisis, etc... However, this approach is viewing the family in an "instrumental" way; that is, as a mere means, when in fact, the fundamental value of the family lies in the fact that it is an end in itself. All associations and institutions must serve the family, because in serving, sustaining and helping the family, they serve each of the persons within the family.” As it is well known, the IFFD courses are based on this fundamental principle, so that they not only promote the family as an "institution", but also try to improve each family, one by one, person by person.
During these days of the Congress of Valencia, the reality that this project of "forming a family" is a global mission (and not just a critical emergency of Western culture) was made evident through the energy and enthusiasm of the deeply committed participants, who came from five continents. It is no doubt that all participants have returned home inspired to promote these courses and full of many ideas to be transformed into action.