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International Planning Committee Meets in Moscow to Plan World Congress of Families VIII (September 10-12, 2014)

Contact: Don Feder, WCF Communications Director, 508-405-1337, dfeder@rcn.com; The Howard Center for Family, Religion, & Society at 815-964-5819, media@worldcongress.org, media@profam.org

ROCKFORD, Ill., Oct. 23, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- Pro-family leaders from ten countries met in Moscow (October 15-16) to plan World Congress of Families VIII, a celebration of the natural family, which will take place in Moscow, September 10-12, 2014.

Members of the International Planning Committee for WCF VIII that attended the Moscow meeting included: Ignacio Arsuaga (HazteOir, Spain), Brian Brown (National Organization for Marriage, U.S.), Benjamin Bull (Alliance Defending Freedom, U.S.), Allan Carlson, Lawrence Jacobs and Don Feder (The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society and World Congress of Families, U.S.), Silvio Dalla Valle (Association for the Defense of Christian Values, Italy), Shelly Locke (Power of Mothers, U.S.), Bob McKoskrie (Family First, New Zealand), Tom Minnery (Focus on The Family, U.S.) Justin Murff (Christian Broadcasting Network, U.S.), Austin Ruse (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, U.S.), Steven Smoot (Family First Foundation, U.S.), Christopher Carmouche (GrassTopsUSA), Christine Vollmer (Latin American Alliance for the Family, Venezuela), Peter Westmore (Australian Family Association), Srdjan Nogo (Dveri, Serbia), Vincente Segu (Incluyendo Mexico), Fabrice Sorlin (France) and Jack Hanick (formerly with FOX News, U.S.).

Present from the Russian Organizing Committee were Alexey Komov (WCF Representative to Russia and the CIS), Pavel Parfentiev (FamilyPolicy.Ru), Vladimir Yakunin (St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation), Natalia Yakunina (Sanctity of Motherhood Program), Archpriest Dimitry Smirnov (The Patriarch’s Commission on the Family and Protection of Motherhood and Childhood), Konstantin Malofeev (St. Basil the Great Foundation) and Professor Anatoly Antonov (Lomonosov Moscow State University).

The theme of WCF VIII is "Every Child A Gift: Large Families -- The Future of Humanity."  The Planning Committee discussed the following as possible topics for the Moscow Congress:  pro-family initiatives in Russia (including the child protection law), adoption, human trafficking, the importance of large families, internet safety and pornography, family and demography, family and religion as keys to overcoming declining fertility, the protection of innocent human life (abortion, euthanasia and human cloning), parents rights (including home schooling), bioethics, pro-family health care, family-friendly education, mass media and the natural family, entertainment media and the natural family, declining fertility and the origins of the sexual revolution, the ideological roots of the anti-family lobby, the protection and promotion of marriage, countering the radical sexual rights agenda, the needs of children, authentic human rights, family-friendly businesses as the key to economic prosperity, and building the international pro-family/pro-life movement.

A special WCF Parliamentary Forum was discussed with Yelena Mizulina and the Planning Committee.  This Parliamentary Forum will be held at the Russian Duma on September 10, 2014.  In support of this Parliamentary Forum, Luca Volonte and the Novae Terrae Foundation have pledged their sponsorship and support to help bring pro-family MP's from Europe and around the world to Moscow for WCF 2014.  A pro-family and pro-life WCF Scientific Forum will be organized at Lomonosov Moscow State University on September 8-9th.  This special scientific forum will be sponsored by Incluyendo Mexico with the support of Vicente Segu.  The Congress will also include a Special Youth Forum, Leadership Forum, exhibitions of children's drawings, music, exhibits by WCF Partners, International NGO's and Russian pro-family groups, special leadership training, and a concert at the Kremlin Palace of Congresses.

The Planning Community had an opportunity to inspect the venues for the Moscow Congress -- The Congress Hall of the Kremlin (Day 1) where over 5,000 people can be accommodated and conference facilities at the Christ the Savior Cathedral, the tallest Orthodox Church in the world (Days 2 and 3).  Christ the Savior Cathedral, with its cornerstone was laid in 1839, has special symbolic meaning for Christians in Russia.  The original Cathedral was dynamited and destroyed by the communists in 1931 to promote state-sponsored atheism and to build the world's largest monument, "Palace of the Soviets," with a statue of Lenin as a tribute to socialism.  Despite the Soviet's best attempts, continual flooding prevented its construction, and the communist failure resulted in construction of the world's largest outdoor swimming pool.  After the fall of communism, the flooding stopped in the 1990's and allowed the Cathedral to be rebuilt on the exact same location.

Past Congresses have been held in Prague (1997), Geneva (1999), Mexico City (2004), Warsaw (2007), Amsterdam (2009), Madrid (2012) and Sydney (2013), World Congress of Families has also held regional events in Vancouver, Toronto, Port of Spain (Trinidad), London, Abuja and Lagos (Nigeria), Riga (Latvia), Ulyanovsk (Russia), Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Melbourne (Australia), and Manila.

World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs commented: "WCF's involvement with the burgeoning Russian pro-family movement has matured over time.  A World Congress of Families was first envisioned at a Moscow meeting that WCF founder Allan Carlson had with a group of Russian sociologists (including Professor Anatoly Antonov) in 1995.

"Fr Maxim Obukhov (the father of the Russian pro-life movement) first suggested a Moscow Congress at WCF IV in Warsaw, in 2007.  Alexey Komov was later chosen by Father Maxim and appointed World Congress of Families Representative in Russia and the CIS.  With Alexey as the organizer, we held the world's first Demographic Summit at the Russian State Social University in Moscow in 2011 (attended by more than 500 delegates), followed by a second demographic summit in Ulyanovsk in 2012.  Many new pro-life projects were launched after the first WCF Summit and Russia passed laws restricting abortion to 12 weeks, adopting a waiting period for women wanting abortions, and requiring abortion clinics to warn women about the significant health risks from abortion including (death, cancer, infertility, miscarriages, and preterm births).

"Now, we look forward to World Congress of Families VIII in the Congress Hall of the Kremlin, once the citadel of Soviet power, and in a rebuilt cathedral, on the site of one the communists destroyed during one of their anti-God crusades.  In the Soviet-era, faith and family were special targets of communist hegemony and socialist persecution. World Congress of Families VIII in Moscow next year will represent the triumph of the natural family and faith over its great enemy of the 20th Century."

Prior to the Moscow meeting, Komov and WCF Communications Director Don Feder, along with Srdjan Nogo of the Serbian group Dveri (WCF's newest Partner) and French pro-marriage activist Fabrice Sorlin, were in Kiev, Ukraine for meetings with key leaders of Ukrainian parents rights groups and members of the Rada (parliament) and a press conference on strengthening the nation’s pro-family laws. 

For more information on World Congress of Families, visit www.worldcongress.org and www.worldcongress.ru.  To schedule an interview with Larry Jacobs, contact Don Feder at 508-405-1337 or don@worldcongress.org.