World Congress of Families

The World Congress of Families, headquartered in the heartland of America (Rockford, Illinois), is a pro-family international human rights non-governmental organization (NGO) with special consultative status to the Economic and Social Committee of the United Nations (UN).

Georgia was selected as the host for World Congress of Families X by the WCF International Selection Committee after a year-long, Olympic-type competitive bidding process and the location was announced at World Congress of Families (WCF) IX in Salt Lake City, Utah. Watch the acceptance speech from Mr. Levan Vasadze, the Chairman of World Congress of Families (WCF) X via YouTube online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFc5FUQCX08

Sponsored by the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, the World Congress of Families was founded in 1995 by Dr. Allan Carlson, one of the foremost historians of the family, as a way to encourage an international alliance of academic, professional, ecclesiastical, and advocacy organizations that promote the natural family. World Congress of Families in Tbilisi is the 10th Jubilee Congress and the first time in its history it is held in the Orthodox Country.

The WCF regards the natural family as “the fundamental social unit, inscribed in human nature, and centered on the voluntary union of a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage. The natural family is defined by marriage, procreation and, in some cultures, adoption. Free, secure, and stable families that welcome children are necessary for healthy societies. History has shown that those societies that abandon the natural family as the norm are destined to decline and even extinction. The loving family reaches out in love and service to their communities and those in need. All social and cultural institutions should respect and uphold the rights and responsibilities of the family.”

Central to the mission of the World Congress of Families is the celebration of and advocacy for the natural family, described by the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights as “the natural and fundamental group unit of society” and, as such, “entitled to protection by society and the state." The UN declaration also observes that “men and women of full age…have the right to marry and found a family.” And the WCF believes the natural family is the foundation of a free and prosperous society, as well as the cradle of civilization. It is also far and away the best environment in which to raise children.

The WCF is an affiliation of scholars, government and ecclesiastical leaders, as well as advocates who focus on all issues relevant to the welfare of children and family.  At present, it has 42 organizations in 14 countries, on five continents, affiliated as partners.  From 1997 to 2013, WCF held seven international Congresses—Prague (1997), Geneva (1999), Mexico City (2004), Warsaw (2007), Amsterdam (2009), Madrid (2012), Sydney (2013) and Salt Lake City, Utah, USA in 2015.

The WCF has also held regional events in Vancouver, B.C.; Port of Spain (Trinidad); Santa Cruz (Bolivia); London (United Kingdom); Riga (Latvia); Tbilisi (Georgia); Nairobi, (Kenya); Moscow and Ulyanovsk (Russia).

At WCF congresses scholars, parliamentarians and elected officials, ecclesiastical leaders, journalists, and advocates of the natural family address a broad range of issues impacting the family, including human trafficking, child exploitation, pornography and addictions, health issues like clean water and access to medicine, and even family finances and management.

Congress speakers have included: Martha Fox (then first lady of Mexico), Jehan Sadat (widow of Anwar Sadat), Gary Becker (a Nobel Laureate in economics), Kevin Andrews (former Australian Minister of Social Services and now Australian Minister of Defence), Ellen Sauerbrey (a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations), Francisco Tatad (former majority leader of the Philippine Senate), the Chief Rabbis of both the Netherlands and Spain, presidents of the Pontifical Council on the Family, a past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, a representative of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, and two members of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For more information on WCF, click here for “Introducing World Congress of Families.”