The Value of Family Promotion in Protecting the Intrinsic Dignity of the Human Person

The World Youth Alliance welcomes the General Assembly’s proclamation of the International Year of Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding. Youth represent a significant proportion of the world and are therefore not only the future, but also the present. The World Youth Alliance recognizes that educating and empowering youth is integral to the improvement of social and economic conditions and the well-being and livelihood of future generations. The World Youth Alliance also recognizes that all persons have intrinsic dignity; it is only through respecting this dignity that the ideals of peace, freedom, justice, tolerance, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, solidarity and development can be effectively achieved.

With this as our foundation, it is clear that authentic human development begins with investment in the human person. This needs to ensure that the person is placed in the right conditions and environment to foster his well-being, fulfillment and productivity. Such investment must begin with the family, which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares is the “fundamental unit of society.”

The family promotes a stable environment that is necessary for the person to flourish. Children with supportive parents are more likely to be engaged with their school education at home and receive help from their parents if faced with difficulties. Also, with the support of the family, children are encouraged to strongly value their education and are often guided to pursue post-secondary education. With a supportive family, an attitude of positive optimism and future ambition is cultivated. Indeed, the family encourages development of skills and concepts necessary for social change. For instance, the family plays an invaluable role in the child’s development of language and speech and the nurturing of cognitive abilities. This is consistent with the established relationship between language and power and the fact that language is fundamental to human agency and social transformation.

Discrimination, isolation and poverty are integrally linked. When the person is isolated from her family she is more susceptible to discrimination due to the associated vulnerability that comes with the absence of support and solidarity. The UN Committee on Educational, Social and Cultural Rights has correctly recognized that poverty is often caused by people having no access to existing resources because of who they are, what they believe or where they live. Especially in developing countries, belonging to a family provides more locus standi, and allows for easier integration into the wider community.

Statistics have shown a clear and consistent relationship between the ideal of united families and economic buoyancy. For instance, when compared to single adults, married adults have a significantly higher average household income. Likewise children of married parents in comparison to those of unmarried parents have been found to do better economically. The breakdown of the family unit goes against the world’s aspirations for forward strides to be made in social and economic matters. Research has shown that divorced adults, especially women, experience greater economic hardship.

Promoting the family is essential to providing the right conditions for the human person to develop and flourish. The simple and yet integral value of family promotion is often overlooked in international documents. Promoting the family would have far-reaching positive effects on education and empowerment of the human person. It will also work to negate the possibilities of discrimination and thus enhance dialogue and mutual understanding as well as increase the integration of youth within society at large. Strong family units lead to the development of strong young men and women, empowered and equipped to positively contribute to our world, and to ensure the dignity of every person is recognized. The World Youth Alliance recognizes that dignity is something shared by all human persons and therefore there must be solidarity in recognizing this immutable fact. The essence of family promotion is to promote solidarity in its most fundamental form.




A Call to Action!

Letters from World Youth Alliance members in Saint Lucia

Dear delegate,

Quality education is the gateway to the development of our world in order to impact our community; we must learn to harvest the infinite reserves of the human mind. Yet, millions of youth from around the work are constantly denied opportunities of self-awareness and realization. Human dignity is denied when education is withheld. In countless instances where education is provided it serves not necessarily to encourage brilliance and ingenuity of thoughts, but rather to dampen creativity and force conformity. Education must inspire us to grow and change to have the audacity to create.

To solve this issue the developing world must adapt comprehensive policies which recognize both the human and strategic importance of education. True education should be filled with both compassion and information. Teachers should receive adequate training so as to inspire their students. Students must be supplied with relevant and advanced materials which encourage them not only to accept conventional teaching, but also to discover the world around them. Measures should be implemented to build student confidence in order to produce emotionally intelligent and balanced world citizens. Inadequacies in teaching compromise both student self-esteem and ability to learn. We in the developing world grow weary of waiting. It is the hour for change.

Sincerely,

Jarnickae

Age 16

Saint Lucia

St Mary’s College

Dear delegate,

I am an eighteen year old, and I have written this letter in hopes that some of the issues facing Saint Lucian youth may be alleviated. I believe that my homeland is blessed with many beautiful young persons, some of whom are not granted the necessary opportunities to nurture their God-given talents. I say this because most of the crimes committed in my country are committed by young persons between the ages of fifteen to thirty. Most of these individuals lack opportunities–either for education or opportunities which stimulate good impulses for instance, the importance of being a good citizen. I believe there should also be forums and development programmes on parenting as some youth may be poverty stricken and parenting as some youth may be poverty stricken and parenting as some youth may be poverty stricken and suffering from neglect from parents and the home, indeed is where it all starts.

I believe that young persons with so much energy to spend need to be channeled in the right direction. We need development programmes, more education opportunities, mentors, counselors. Young persons need help and guidance. We need to know that there is still hope despite any predicament, be it poverty, teenage pregnancy or parental neglect.

People in St Lucia are very critical of St Lucian youth because of all the crimes. We are considered to be lazy and fail in comparison to the generations that have gone before us, or so the adults say. Regardless, I do admit that it would be an amazing feeling to have a sense of security restored when walking the streets.

Sincerely,

Latonia

Age 18

Saint Lucia

Sir Arthur Lew Community College

You’re invited to join us at…

Our Voices, Our Aspirations: A Youth Dialogue on Sustainable Development

A High Level Meeting on Youth side event sponsored by the Bahá’í International Community United Nations Office, Alas de Rio, and the World Youth Alliance.

Tuesday, July 26th from 1:15-2:45pm ~ 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 120 ~ RSVP: bic-nyc@bic.org

ART SPEAKS

Art Speaks will celebrate the conclusion of the High Level Meeting on Youth with an evening of performances by professional actors and musicians, a photography and sculpture exhibit, short film screenings, and testimonials by young delegates and participants from the High Level Meeting on Youth.

Tuesday, July 26th from 7-9pm ~ World Youth Alliance Headquarters ~ FREE ADMISSION

228 East 71st Street, New York, NY / www.wya.net