By JULIE DUVALL
BYU students involved with the Kennedy International Center are making an effort to promote family values within the United Nations through a program called Family Voice.
“Family Voice is a non-governmental organization designed to work with the United Nations on Family Policy and to promote and educate international government regarding values which are stated in the Proclamation to the World (issued by the LDS church),” said Richard Wilkins, director of the program.
Family Voice has recently created a web site with three primary goals in mind. The first goal is to educate people about social initiatives of the United Nations and how they affect the family.
“Since the mid ’80s, the United Nations has issued numerous declarations that impact rights of people. We make those documents available for people to read and we try and make them understandable by adding editorial sections and search guides,” Wilkins said.
The second goal is to make information available about current family research in search form.
The third goal is to provide links to other databases.
“Our purpose is to provide access to other information. We don’t want to replicate information, just link our site to information that is already out there,” Wilkins said.
The United Nations’ decisions are consensus documents, which means that every country attending the conference agreed to abide by its principles, at least on paper, he said.
“This information needs to be available because these decisions are affecting people profoundly and they don’t even know it,” Wilkins said.
Desmond Eppel, 23, a senior from Randburg, South Africa, majoring in comparative literature, became involved with Family Voice through the Kennedy International Center. Eppel was one of several students who went to New York last year as a lobbyist for family values.
“Family Voice is giving me an opportunity to gain real life experience. There is a glamorous image associated with ambassadors and what they do. This has given me a realistic view about what really goes on,” he said.
Eppel has been involved with the Internet site by gathering articles for the site and then writing abstracts to go along with them.