As we celebrate the 77th anniversary of the World Family Organization (WFO), we take a moment to reflect on our rich history and reaffirm our commitment to addressing the challenges families face around the world today. Originally known as the International Union of Family Organizations (IUFO), the WFO has been a beacon of hope and a pillar of support for families globally since its inception.

The Founding Moment

The idea to create an international organization dedicated to family matters was first conceived on June 1, 1946, during an International Congress for Families and Population in Brussels. This vision became a reality when the first World Family Congress was held in Paris from June 22-28, 1947. The newly formed United Nations, along with 200 delegates from 27 nations, founded the IUFO with key objectives such as reuniting families separated by World War II, providing documentation, fostering communication among civil movements for better family life, and representing family interests within governments, public opinion, and international organizations, starting with the United Nations.

The Mission and Activities

From the outset, the IUFO was driven by a singular mission: “to establish a link between all organizations working for the well-being of #families worldwide.” This mission was enshrined in Article I of its statutes and has guided the organization’s work over the decades. Through comprehensive documentation and study services, the #IUFO, now #WFO, has addressed a wide array of family-related issues, including psychological, economic, social, biological, and demographic challenges.

One of the significant ways we have disseminated knowledge and fostered communication is through our publication, “Families in the World.” This bulletin spreads studies on family life, shares achievements from various countries, and highlights critical issues affecting families globally. It also provides information on family organizations and includes analyses and bibliographic references, making it an invaluable resource for anyone dedicated to family well-being.

Triennial Congresses and Study Days

Our commitment to continuous learning and advocacy has been demonstrated through regular triennial congresses and specialized study days. For example, our first General Assembly in July 1948 in Geneva focused on juvenile delinquency and family responsibilities. Upcoming events like the International Family Days in Rome will address pressing issues such as “Family Economy in the Insecurity of the Modern World,” emphasizing support mechanisms like housing allowances, scholarships, and tax exemptions.

Advocacy and International Recognition

A core objective of the IUFO, highlighted in Article V of its statutes, is to “strengthen the bonds of solidarity among all the families of the world.” Over the years, we have pursued this goal by conducting studies, promoting international exchanges, and voicing family needs and aspirations to international bodies and the global public. Our efforts were recognized in 1948 when the United Nations Economic and Social Council granted us consultative status, further endorsed by UNESCO.

We have actively contributed to shaping international policy, exemplified by our involvement in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Our advocacy ensured that families’ rights to a decent standard of living and appropriate compensation for their responsibilities were recognized on a global stage.

Since the early 2000s, the World Family Organization (WFO) has been at the forefront of reflecting and presenting best practices with significant impacts on family policies through the annual World Family Summits. These summits initially focused on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and now align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The World Family Summits serve as a critical platform for dialogue, knowledge exchange, and collaboration among family organizations, governments, and international bodies. Each year, these summits bring together experts and stakeholders to discuss and develop innovative approaches to enhancing family well-being globally.

Furthermore, the recommendations and outcomes of the World Family Summits are annually distributed to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This ensures that the insights and strategies developed during these summits contribute to global policy-making processes and support the implementation of the SDGs, reinforcing the WFO’s commitment to fostering sustainable development and improving family life worldwide.

Looking Ahead

As we commemorate our 77th anniversary, we remain steadfast in our mission to promote family well-being worldwide. The World Family Organization continues to be a beacon of support, research, and advocacy for families everywhere. Our rich history provides a strong foundation as we face contemporary challenges, reaffirming our commitment to our founding principles and the ongoing pursuit of a better life for families globally.

The journey of the World Family Organization is a testament to the enduring power of collaboration and shared purpose. As we celebrate 77 years of dedicated service, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our members, past and present, whose unwavering dedication has propelled our mission forward. Together, we will continue to champion the cause of families and strengthen the bonds that unite us all.

This celebration is not just a reflection on our past achievements but also an invitation to the future. Let us continue to work together towards a world where every family can thrive, upholding the values and objectives that have guided the WFO since its inception. Here’s to many more years of supporting and empowering families worldwide.