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World Congress of Families Regrets Departure of Ellen Sauerbrey from Refugee Position

Contact: Larry Jacobs or Don Feder, 815-964-5819, 513-515-3685 cell, media@worldcongress.org,


MEDIA ADVISORY, Jan. 2 /Christian Newswire/ -- The World Congress of Families regrets the departure of Ellen R. Sauerbrey from the position of Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, a post she's held for the past two years.


WCF International Secretary Allan C. Carlson noted: "Ellen has been a longtime friend of World Congress of Families. She addressed both World Congress of Families III in Mexico City (2004), and World Congress of Families IV, which took place in Warsaw, May 11-13, 2007."


In her Warsaw address, Sauerbrey declared: "The family is the oldest institution, the first and most enduring community of individuals working together for the common good. …. The state did not create the family; rather, families created the state."


Sauerbrey's appearance in Warsaw was not without controversy. A handful of leftist members of the European Parliament sent the Assistant Secretary a letter in April asking her not to attend the Congress, due to our defense of life and traditional family values.


This was countered by a letter from other EU parliamentarians, asking her to "disregard this foolish, even desperate missive" from those disparaging and misrepresenting the Congress.


World leaders, such as Poland's President Lech Kaczynski, honorary patron of World Congress of Families IV, recognized the importance of the Congress (www.prezydent.pl/x.node?id=1011848&eventId=11027982).


Also at the Warsaw Congress, a letter was read from Mexico's First Lady Margarita Zavala, noting that, "It is in the family where the values of solidarity, respect, responsibility, love, forgiveness, among others, so necessary in the world today, are learned." Madame Zavala added, "For those of us who value this, we can only thank the men and women who made this Congress possible."


Past Congresses have been addressed by Madame Jehan Sadat (the widow of Anwar Sadat), Martha Sahagun Fox (then first lady of Mexico), and Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family.


Sauerbrey was an interim appointee of the Bush administration. While she received high marks from refugee groups – including the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the Refugee Council USA and Refugees International – she was one of 19 Bush appointments on which the Senate did not act. Thus, her appointment expired on the last day of 2007.   Still, the White House could reappoint her in 2008.


Said Carlson: "Secretary Sauerbrey has had a distinguished career in public service.  She did exceptional work with refugees in Iraq, Darfur, Nepal and Myanmar. She's also been a steadfast friend of the international pro-family movement. We wish her well in whatever direction life takes her."


To schedule an interview with Allan Carlson, contact WCF Global coordinator Larry Jacobs at 1-800-461-3113. For more information on the World Congress of Families, go to www.worldcongress.org.


The World Congress of Families (WCF) is an international network of pro-family organizations, scholars, leaders and people of goodwill from more than 60  countries that seeks to restore the natural family as the fundamental social unit and the 'seedbed' of civil society.  The WCF was founded in 1997 by Allan Carlson and is a project of The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society in Rockford, Illinois (www.profam.org).  To date, there have been four World Congresses of Families – Prague (1997), Geneva (1999), Mexico City (2004) and Warsaw, Poland (2007).