Pro-Family Institute Launched by Qatar at UN Conference

By Piero Tozzi, J.D. | May 8, 2008

     (NEW YORK – C-FAM) A pro-family research institute that promises to be active in United Nations (UN) policy debates announced its presence this week.  The Permanent Mission of Qatar hosted the UN launch of the Doha Institute for Family Studies and Development (Doha Institute), a think tank patronized by the Qatari royal family.

     Addressing the contentious issue of what constitutes “family” – a word which promoters of radical social policies at the UN and elsewhere have sought to redefine to include same-sex households – Dr. Richard G. Wilkins, the Doha Institute‘s Managing Director and a former Brigham Young University law professor, identified it with the natural marital unit formed by man and woman ordered to the raising of children. 

     Wilkins emphasized the need to promote policies that advance the best interests of children while avoiding intolerance toward those whose familial structures depart from the general norm, including single-parent households.  Noting how elsewhere at the UN there is an emphasis on “natural ecology” and environmental concerns, Wilkins stated that the family too must be considered as it exists in nature, and how it is designed to promote human flourishing across languages, religions and cultures.

     Charles D. Johnson, the director of the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University, spoke of his organization’s collaboration with the Doha Institute in developing a web-accessible database compiling pro-family resources searchable in both English and Arabic. 
     Recalling the strong affirmation contained in Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) that the family is the “natural and fundamental group unit of society,” organizers say the Doha Institute’s mission is to work with UN agencies, governments, academics and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in promoting policies, sponsoring research and holding conferences and workshops supportive of the traditional family-centric social model.

     Since its founding in 2005 following the Doha International Conference for the Family held in the Qatari capital the prior year [co-sponsored by Friday Fax publisher C-FAM], the Doha Institute has hosted a number of academic conferences in the Middle East, Kenya, Sweden and Mexico.  It has also published a three-volume collection of studies on the place of family in human society, marriage and human dignity, and strengthening the family unit.  Future symposia will address the importance of fathers and the threat posed by pornography.  Governed by a cross-cultural board comprised of members from the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Latin America representing diverse religious traditions, the focus of the Doha Institute is global and extends beyond the Islamic world.

     Attendance at the May 6 presentation was sizeable for an event of its kind, with representatives of over dozen member state delegations.  Attending were representatives of the Holy See, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and Venezuela.   The Doha Institute plans follow-up events on May 15 in recognition of the International Day of the Family, which will also be marked at the UN by a conference on fatherhood.