More than three and a half thousands of people attended the works of the three-day European Forum “Family-Europe-21st Century: Vision and Institutions” organised by the “Foundation for the Child and the Family”, at the Megaron, The Athens Concert Hall, on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of May 1998.

About two hundred Greek and foreign participants, experts on family and child issues, suggested measures and proposals for the family of the 2000. Many prominent personalities from the political and scientific sectors intervene with remarkable comments.

In her opening speech, Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, President of the “Foundation for the Child and the Family”, referring to the family institution, said inter alia: “… This ancient institution, the first in the history of humanity is the basic and fundamental structure of the society as well as the first bond of life. An accomplished family life is the entrance to humanity, the gate for respecting each other, the core for exercising everyday virtue. The sharing of bread in the family table is the first lesson of solidarity… For this reason, all of us should support the institution of family in every way we can…”

Then, His Beatitude Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, the representative of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the representative of HM Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family greeted the public.

The Ministers of Education, Health and Culture, the Mayor of Athens, the First Lady of the Republic of Colombia, Mrs Jacquin Strouss de Samper, the First Lady of Burkina Faso, Mrs Chantal Compaore, and the President of the “Fondation Pour l’Enfance” in France, Mrs Anne-Aymone Giscard d’ Estaing spoke during the opening ceremony of the European Forum.

For the first time, the special award “Diana Princess of Wales” established in 1998 by the “Foundation for the Child and the Family” was presented in order to honour the memory and work of Princess Diana. The reward was equally given to two non governmental European organisations: the “Refugio Aboim Ascensao” (Portugal) and the “Great Expectations” (Romania).

The topics discussed during the conference works were:

  • Trends and developments which influence the family in the 21st century.
  • The family in the Mediterranean countries.
  • The family in the Scandinavian countries.
  • The family in Western Europe.
  • The family in Eastern Europe.
  • Childhood in the European families.
  • The quality of child life in various European countries.
  • Children as a “value” in the modern society.
  • Children rights.
  • Children in a changing European Society: who does take care of the children?
  • European Families: vision and reality.
  • Parents and children in the European Families.
  • The new challenges for the parents today.
  • The aged, the generations and the family.
  • Gender equality in the family.
  • The rights of child in the family.
  • Distribution or cooperation? A dilemma for men and women. The roles of the two genders in the modern societies. Families with double career.
  • The impossible equality within the marriage.
  • Couples with two careers. Essential collaboration between family and work
  • The effects of the various forms of poverty on the growth of children.
  • Children and Poverty in Europe.
  • Dimensions and measurement of poverty in the children
  • Children of the streets as a measure for our State’s condition.
  • Children of separated parents: a voice that should be heard.
  • Bringing up children after the divorce.
  • Children in divorced families.
  • The need for family justice.
  • The father and his role in the family.
  • The fatherhood of separated fathers.
  • The family life in a multicultural Europe.
  • Cross-cultural families: the need for support and counselling.
  • The cross-cultural approach in the study of family.
  • Family policy and examples of government intervention, models and strategies (Mediterranean, Scandinavian, Western European, Eastern European countries).
  • The demographic problem in Europe and Greece.
  • The child and addictive substances: responsibilities of family and social reality.
  • The expectations of teenagers and family in a changing world: the need for parents’ sensitization.
  • The family institution.
  • The demographic and family policy in Greece.
  • Teenagers and urban society.
  • Child trauma treatment.
  • Families and children in the Baltic countries.
  • The application of the Convention on the Rights of Children in the institutional care units of the National Welfare Organisation.
  • The effects of the suicide of a parent on the psychology of the child.
  • Greek orthodox education and tradition: the dynamic perspective of life for the 21st century family.
  • The philosophy of an alternative form of family.
  • The care for the children of no parents from foster families.
  • Social exclusion and family.
  • Single parents, social exclusion and social policy.
  • Family instability and the danger of exclusion. Two opposite cases, France and England.
  • Families having children with special needs.
  • Learning from the child with special needs.
  • Principles for family programmes and policies concerning disability.
  • Information technology in the service of children with disability.
  • Cancer on the Child: an illness for the whole of the family.
  • Family violence and victimisation of the children.
  • Violence against Women.
  • Violence against the aged within the family.
  • Is it all wrong or let’s talk about it? Sexual Abuse against 6-12 years old children..
  • The new challenge for the parents.
  • Parental education and participation in the first years of education.
  • School for Parents: The problems of school adaptation. School environment-Family environment.
  • Crisis and perspective of the Welfare State.
  • Arranging the responsibilities of children. A comparison of policy in the European Union. Welfare State and family in the of Southern European countries. The case of Greece.

The Conference closed with a short speech by the President of the “Foundation for the Child and the Family”, Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis:
“Closing the works of the European Forum, she said, I feel that, above everything, we are all connected with new bonds of responsibility; in particular, responsibility for the proposals emerged through our discussions, knowledge, experiences and reflections. The experts have spoken. The only thing that I feel I should add today is the commitment of the “Foundation for the Child and the Family” to make use of this Forum’s results; to make use of this wealth of ideas and proposals; not some unused minutes in a book of the proceedings of the conference. Along with future initiatives and collaborations, the Foundation intends to maintain this great channel of communication that we opened during these 3 days of the Forum; because the only way to achieve our objective is to be united”.

With the closing of the European Forum, the first phase of the activities of the “Foundation for the Child and the Family” was completed aiming at contributing to the establishment of a social policy for the family.
The next objective of the Foundation is the distribution of the speeches and opinions deposited in the Forum by means of publishing the outcomes and translating the conclusions in many languages so that they can be used by governmental and non governmental institutions.