From Nov. 25 to Dec. 2, World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs was in Moscow speaking at the Sanctity of Motherhood Conference and other events.
In the course of his trip, Jacobs spoke about the natural family, promoted the World Congress of Families, strategized with the Russian pro-life movement, and inspected the facilities and plans for the WCF “Moscow Demographic Summit: Family and the Future of Humankind” (tentatively scheduled for July 12-14, 2011).
Jacobs addressed two major conferences, lectured to faculty and students at Lomonosov Moscow State University, met with administrators and faculty at the Russia State Social University, conducted interviews (three for print and one for TV/video) and held 24 different meetings in and around Moscow during five days.
A project of the pro-life Center of National Glory and the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation, the Sanctity of Motherhood Conference was held at the Christ the Savior Cathedral near the Kremlin in Moscow. Jacobs was invited to speak by Mrs. Natalia Yakunina, the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of The Sanctity of Motherhood All-Russia Program implemented by the Center of National Glory and the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation.
Both the Center of National Glory and the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation were founded by Vladimir Yakunin (President of the Russian National Railways) who is an active supporter of the Orthodox pro-family movement within Russia. Mr. Yakunin, is also one of the organizers of the Rhodes Meeting of the World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations, which WCF participated in this year.
Among those participating in opening ceremony of the Sanctity of Motherhood conference was Russian First Lady, Svetlana Medvedeva. Other speakers included Orthodox Bishop Panteleimon, Professor Anatoly Antonov of Lomonosov Moscow State University and E.B. Mizulina, the principal pro-life leader in the Russian Parliament, who heads up the Duma’s Committee on Family Affairs and authored the first pro-life law in modern Russia.
Many of the speakers echoed concerns about Russia’s future, due to very low fertility and rapid depopulation. Russia will lose an estimated 18 million people by 2030. On an annual basis, Russia has 4 million abortions and only 2 million live births. The average Russian woman has six to seven abortions during her lifetime. The Russian people recognize some of these problems. For the first time since the Communist Revolution, there is hope that abortions may be banned in Russia, as secular national interests converge with pro-life Christian concerns.
After the opening plenary presentations, Jacobs met with Ewa Kowalewska (Human Life International, Europe), Father Maxim Obukhov (Head of Pro-Life Centers, Russian Orthodox Church), Galina Zajceva (Russian Pro-Life Leader), Igor Beloborodov (Demography and Pro-Life Orthodox Leader) and Professor Anatoly Antonov (Lomonosov MSU).
Jacobs also met with Father Dimitry Smirnov, spiritual leader of the Russian pro-life and pro-family movement during last 20 years and head of the Synodal department of the Russian Orthodox Church, who expressed unqualified support for the World Congress of Families and the upcoming WCF Moscow Demographic Summit.
Commenting on the importance of his participation in the conference, Jacobs said: “This was the first official WCF trip to Moscow since Allan Carlson’s visit in 1995. We were delighted by the support we found there. Russian pro-life/pro-family forces are eager to cooperate with their counterparts in the West. Given its traditional support for faith and family, Russia will play an increasingly important part in the international struggle to preserve the natural family. We’re looking forward to our first-ever Demographic Summit: Family and The Future of Humankind in Moscow next year.”
Famous Russian author, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once reminded America not to “lose sight of its own values, its historically unique stability of civic [and family] life under the rule of law – a hard-won stability.” Now Russian pro-family leaders are reminding America once again that they want to help us defend traditional pro-family values.
In a follow-up release, we’ll discuss the rest of Jacobs Moscow schedule, including speeches and meetings noted in the first paragraph. Jacobs also spoke at the "VI all-Russia Scientific Conference - Pitirim Sorokin Annual Sociology Forum” organized by the Sociology faculty of MSU, Russian Sociology Association RoSA and “Pitirim Sorokin/Nikolai Kondratieff International Institute” . Pitirim Sorokin was Russian-American sociologist who founded the Department of Sociology at Harvard University. He also held meetings with Dr. Vladimir Dobrenkov – the Dean of the Sociology faculty of MSU, and with other famous Russian intellectuals, writers and philosophers - who expressed their full support to the pro-Family activities of the World Congress of Families.
For more information on the World Congress of Families, visit www.worldcongress.org. Click here for the November-December World Congress of Families News, with a front-page story on the Demographic Summit. Click here to contact (in English or Russian) Alexey Komov, chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Moscow Demographic Summit: Family and Future of Humankind. To schedule an interview with WCF Managing Director Larry Jacobs, contact WCF Communications Director Don Feder at 508-405-1337.