Speakers at the Fifth World Congress of Families in Amsterdam on Tuesday discussed the place of the family in the developing world, emphasizing the potential for mutual learning between nations. One speaker lamented a new “cultural imperialism” which promotes a “culture of death” in less developed countries.
The World Congress of Families V (WCFV), which concluded on Wednesday, is the preeminent gathering of individuals and organizations from around the world who promote the natural family. It is inter-religious in nature.
The panel discussion for members of the media took place at Amsterdam’s RAI Center. It had as its theme “The Developing World is the First World of the Family.”
Larry Jacobs, Managing Director of the Congress’ projects, moderated the panel.
He noted that calling developing countries the “Third World” can be inaccurate. Though he acknowledged that many Western nations have more robust economies, he said the economy is only one measure of the wealth of a society. Concerning the strength of the family, he said, some countries in the so-called “third world” are actually the “first world.”
The King of Ghana, Drolor Basso Adamley I, was among the panelists. He stated that the developing world can make a significant contribution in promoting the natural family and has “a great deal to teach the West.”
Another panelist, Christine Vollmer of the Latin American Alliance for the Family, concurred and said that the underdeveloped world is beginning to teach “humanity” to the developed world. Dr. Farooq Hassan, a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, emphasized that both the East and the West can teach each other.
Yuri Mantilla, director of International Government Affairs for Focus on the Family, said that developing countries generally think that population is not the problem. The panelist decried a “neo-cultural imperialism” that promotes a “culture of death” through policies and values that affirm abortion, devalue the natural family and traditional marriage, and advocate population control at a time of worldwide population decline.
Moira Chimombo, the Executive Director of the African family group SAFE, discussed the fight against HIV/AIDS with reporters, saying that AIDS is not just a medical problem but a “behavioral problem” that should be combated with a “family approach.”
While the Amsterdam building of an organizer of the Congress was attacked on July 30 by anti-Christian vandals opposed to the event, Congress speaker James M. Kushiner reported on the blog of Touchstone Magazine that fewer than a dozen protesters turned out.
According to previous reports, Congress participants from the U.S. included Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute; President of the Population Research Institute Steven W. Mosher; and Dr. Allan Carlson, WCF founder and president of the Illinois-based Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society.
The Congress’ declaration on the family is reportedly forthcoming.
The World Congress of Families web site is at http://www.worldcongress.org/