"The most informed, perceptive, and effective defender of authentic family values in the United States." — Dr. James Hitchcock, St. Louis University

"Has a huge impact around the world." — Ellen Sauerbrey, former head of U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration

Profile, Principles, Projects


We unite and empower leaders worldwide with over 40 partner organizations and a reach of over 50 million people.


We defend:
  • The natural family, based on marriage between a man and a woman, established by the Creator as the "fundamental unit of society," the foundation of civilization, and the best refuge and school for children.
  • Children's need for a mother and a father in a functional, loving family, and their right "to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity."
  • The sanctity and dignity of human life from conception to natural death.
  • Religious freedom as essential to the flourishing of family and society.


Our work includes:
  • World Congress of Families events (and related regional conferences), the world's largest and most influential gatherings of pro-family leaders.
  • The Family in America, our acclaimed academic journal, and related news service.
  • Partnership program and related newsletter and leadership memos.
  • United Nations work with ambassadors and delegates to defend life, faith, and family.
  • Research and publications, including declarations, articles, speeches, and books.

World Congress of Families Project

Introducing World Congress of Families (pdf)

Our flagship project, the World Congress of Families, has gathered and inspired pro-family leaders from around the globe for two decades.

"The World Congress is doing the most important work in the world, protecting God's plan for humanity through the most important institution of society," said a prominent leader. One of our major opponents (SIECUS) called the World Congress "arguably the most prominent international meeting of opposition forces" in the world.

World Congress of Families IX

"This Congress fielded some of the world's leading pro-life and pro-family advocates during four days of strategic networking and inspirational presentations that re-energized the global pro-family movement. It was the best Congress so far and signals a resurgence in the global battle for the defense of the natural family." Errol Naidoo, South Africa

See entire program or highlights below:

Family Lights the World

Brian Brown: A Time to Move Forward

Cathy Ruse: Defending Marriage and Freedom

Wendy Ulrich: Stages of Marriage

Everett Piper: Remarks at Closing Ceremony

News and Views

A brief message from our new President, Brian Brown

WCF president Brian Brown

It was at the World Congress of Families in Madrid that I realized first-hand the power of the worldwide pro-family movement. Under the bluest of Spanish skies, with laughter and song as our backdrop, thousands of parents and children, politicians and activists of diverse backgrounds, religions, and nationalities all united together under the banner of that most powerful of human goods: the natural family.

I've been to every Congress since Madrid, and I've been blessed to have the chance to work closely with the pro-family leaders I first met there. I've witnessed first-hand how WCF has equipped the next generation of leaders to go back to their countries and stand boldly for the immutable truths of family, life, and faith.

It's an honor to be following in the footsteps of my hero Allan Carlson (WCF President Emeritus and our John Howard Senior Fellow) and leading an organization that has truly helped change the world for the better by affirming the natural family as the fundamental and only sustainable unit of society.

I look forward to our partnership together in this great cause to promote the natural family and to defend the sanctity and dignity of all human life around the world.

World Congress of Families News
August 2016

In this issue:

Why Organize a World Congress of Families Regional Event?

Second March for Marriage on Anniversary of SCOTUS Same-Sex “Marriage” Ruling

Calendar of Upcoming Events

A Short Message from Our New President, Brian Brown

Interviews with WCF Leaders in New Documentary on Public Education and Home-Schooling

World Congress of Families Salta, Argentina Conference an Unqualified Success

Upcoming Coalition to End Sexual Exploita+on Summit in Dallas

Videos from World Congress of Families X

WCF Profiles in Leadership

Family in America Highlights

Economic Consequences of Delayed Marriage

Ruth Institute Statement on DOJ Guidelines to “Ensure the Civil Rights of Transgender Students”

Download the August 2016 issue

President George W. Bush Sends Greetings to World Congress of Families X

WCF X President Bush

May 2016

"I send greetings to those gathered for the World Congress of Families X in Tbilisi, Georgia.

As the first sitting U.S. President to visit Georgia, I was honored and humbled by the appreciation and enthusiasm expressed to me by the Georgian people gathered in Tbilisi’s Freedom Square in 2005. I repeat the words that I spoke to them then, 'Georgia is a beacon of liberty for this region and the world. The path of freedom you have chosen is not easy, but you will not travel it alone ... the American people will stand with you.'

Around the world, families provide that beacon of freedom and the source of help, hope, and stability for individuals and nations. As one of the pillars of civilization and the bulwark of liberty, families must remain strong and we must defend them. To ensure that future generations are prepared to face new opportunities and challenges, as President, I took steps to promote strong families, preserve the sanctity of marriage and protect the well-being of children. Laura and I have always believed in encouraging adoption and supporting the crisis pregnancy center programs to help us continue to build a culture of life.

I commend your efforts to recognize the importance of families in building nations. Your work improves many lives and makes the world better.

Laura joins me in sending our best wishes." George W. Bush

See the signed letter from President Bush

Catholic Bishop Dominique Rey of France Praises World Congress of Families, “A Sign of Hope for Our Post-Modern Societies”

French Catholic bishop declares that, “The defense of family is one of the points on which the Catholic Church would like to collaborate with other churches and confessions.”

In a special letter of support and encouragement, Roman Catholic Bishop Dominique Rey of Frejus-Toulon France extended “his warmest greetings” to everyone who attended World Congress of Families X. in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia (an Orthodox Christian nation). WCF X, opened on Sunday, May 15th, was timed to begin with the United Nations International Day of the Family.
Read more

Intolerant Seekers of Tolerance

Criticism Unjust (letter to editor of Deseret News by Law Professor Lynn Wardle). The Southern Poverty Law Center criticizes the [University of Utah] award to Mrs. Gay because her association with the World Congress of Families which supports marriage as the union of a man and a woman. (She is not alone; nearly 90 percent of the nations in the world define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.) Instead of explaining why they disagree with her position supporting man-woman marriage, the SPLC smeared a remarkable woman. That tactic chills open discussion of important issues and discourages public participation in such discussions. The World Congress of Families brings together representatives of nations, of private organizations and individuals to discuss challenges facing families today. The meetings of the WCF provide an excellent forum to discuss developments relating to the family around the world and to learn about diverse approaches to solving common problems that face families. In our democracy, there is room for the expression of diverse views about family policy issues. But in a just society, there is no room for the kind of personal attacks that the SPLC has made on Lynette Gay.
Read more

A troubling trend toward liberal illiberalism — inclusion by exclusion (Deseret News opinion). Last week… the University of Utah dithered over awarding an honorary degree to a renowned community philanthropist because of her affiliation with organizations supportive of biologically intact nuclear families, such as the World Congress of Families… Simply aghast that our state’s flagship university — ostensibly established for the benefit of the taxpayers — could award an honorary degree to someone with a differing perspective, the university’s Academic Senate passed a resolution calling for the creation of a committee to review any future finalists for honoree degrees to presumably ensure they pass an ideological litmus test. Such sensitivity belies a strange and worrisome fear of facing different perspectives.
Read more

A Case of Hypocrisy: The Detractors of Lynette Gay (press release by Novae Terrae CEO Luca Volontè). LGBT organizations demand for themselves full freedom from non-discrimination while they themselves wrongly discriminate by seeking to censor anyone who happens to think and act in a different way from them.
Read more

Intolerant Tolerance is Not Tolerance at All (op-ed by Boyd Matheson in Salt Lake Tribune). The recent kerfuffle over Lynette Gay… and the… University of Utah… is a case study in the kind of intolerant tolerance that seems to be driving and, in my view destroying, meaningful public dialogue and serious debate on the important issues of our day. Crying intolerance and spewing accusations of hate have become the new go-to strategy for shutting down debate or discrediting those who disagree with you.
Read more

A Confession of Liberal Intolerance (op-ed by Nicholas Kristof in New York Times). Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but the one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. We're fine with people who don't look like us, as long as they think like us.
Read more

Press Release

Howard Center Commentary

What We Stand For. "You have enemies? Good," wrote Winston Churchill. "That means you've stood up for something." The World Congress of Families (dba of the Howard Center) continues to be assailed for unapologetically standing up for something — something important, something indispensable, something under increasing attack by those who mislabel our work. But all the misleading labels in the world cannot change the reality of who we are. "Facts are stubborn things," observed John Adams, "and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." Here are the stubborn facts about the World Congress of Families.
Read more

International Day of Families: Mayday!
By proclamation of the UN General Assembly, May 15th is designated as the annual International Day of Families. The UN background note on this year's observance rightly emphasizes the critical role of the family in achieving the newly enacted Sustainable Development Goals of, among other things, ending poverty, increasing prosperity, and furthering social development. But in light of the incessant attacks on the natural family, it would be appropriate to herald this coming day in May using the word for the international distress call: Mayday!
Read more

World Congress of Families: Making a Difference! If the only thing you knew about Winston Churchill is that the very mention of his name infuriated Hitler, you could thereby deduce that Churchill somehow stood between the Nazi tyrant and his megalomaniac ambition. Likewise, if the only thing you knew about the World Congress of Families is that our most recent Congress was listed by Planned Parenthood as its third worst moment of 2015, you would thereby know that we are making a huge difference.
Read more

A Time to Act. Mississippi Just Did. On April 5, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act… Among the predictable rants was the response by the Human Rights Campaign, which vowed that Mississippi "will suffer because of his ignorance and failure of leadership." Failure of leadership? Au contraire, as the French say. The Governor's action is leadership at its finest and boldest, manifesting, in the words of the bill's sponsor, "courage and foresight."
Read more

Natural Family News & Research

Marriage Better than Therapy. A study at Ohio State shows that marriage offers even greater psychological advantages to depressed men and women than it does to their mentally healthy peers. The researchers conjecture that marriage may give a depressed person the sense that he or she matters to a spouse and to new social ties.
Read more

The Terrible Cost of Divorce in Cyprus—and Elsewhere. Alarmed by the rising divorce rate and its negative impact on children, Cyprus legislators are considering the creation of a mediation service to deter divorce. Meanwhile, a study by scholars from Virginia and Tokyo reveals that divorce is a stronger predictor of mental illness than is parental death.
Read more

Marriage and Children in the Land of the Vikings. What would a society look like without marriage? With 67% of all babies born to unwed mothers, Iceland may be showing the world the answer to that question.
Read more


The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy

Strong Families, Prosperous States, by W. Bradford Wilcox. From Hollywood to the halls of academia, we often hear the message that marriage doesn't matter. Kids and families, we are told, need not enjoy the shelter and security of a married home to thrive. The only problem with this new conventional wisdom about marriage and family life is that it's not true.
Read more

New Research on Mother-Infant Bonding, by Miriam Grossman. One place it is easy to see evidence of a Divine Creator is in the science of procreation and the bond between mother and infant. The biology is awesome.
Read more

Father Gone, Social Capital Scarce. Family disintegration depletes the social capital available to young people.
Read more


Effects of Marriage on Society. Marriage is the foundational relationship of strong societies. Within a family formed from an intact marriage, the child better learns to value and perform the fundamental tasks every competent adult must master— the tasks of the fundamental institutions needed in every functional society.
Read more

You Won't Read This in the Mainstream Media. Women deserve to know the science that affects them: Marriage provides important benefits to women, whereas abortion poses significant risks to mothers and their children. We invite you to dig deeper.
Read more

Effects of Religious Practice on Society. Social science research indicates that permitting and accommodating free religious practice is necessary for societies to continue moving in positive directions.
Read more

From Our Partners

Same-Sex Marriage? Answering the Toughest Questions, by National Organization for Marriage
Read more

Parental Vigilance, Not Political Activism, by Erin Weist on United Families International
Read more

Kindred Spirits: How one family is relying on faith and each other in the face of government persecution, by Alliance Defending Freedom
Read more

Secretary General Backdoors Abortion, LGBT Rights into UN Humanitarian Goals, by Susan Yoshihara of C-Fam
Read more

The War on Children: Exposing the Comprehensive Sexuality Education Agenda, Video by Family Watch International
Read more

Allan C. Carlson
President Emeritus

The Natural Family in an Unnatural World

"It seems clear that the family system of the whole of what we once called Christian Civilization is in crisis. Historically low birth rates, the rapid spread of cohabitation, the legal dismantling of the institution of marriage, the early sexualization of children, and climbing divorce are signs of a fundamental challenge to the life of the home." Read more

Janice Shaw Crouse
Board Member

The Glue of Marriage that
Holds Society Together

"When dysfunctional behavior and breakdowns in the fabric of society commonly occur because of a deficit of moral guidance, secularist thinkers cling to the false hope that they can fix the absence of personal responsibility and self-control through more and more government intervention and federal control." Read more

Dallin H. Oaks
Honorary Board Member

Preserving Religious Freedom
(speech to Chapman University
School of Law)

"A few generations ago the idea that religious organizations and religious persons would be unwelcome in the public square would have been unthinkable. Now, such arguments are prominent enough to cause serious concern. It is not difficult to see a conscious strategy to neutralize the influence of religion and churches and religious motivations on any issues that could be characterized as public policy. As noted by John A. Howard of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, the proponents of banishment 'have developed great skills in demonizing those who disagree with them, turning their opponents into objects of fear, hatred and scorn.'" Read more

Luca Volontè
Board Member

European Resistance to Cultural Suicide

"Many centuries ago, St. Columbanus said that there is no fight without a rival, and no crown without a fight. Today as in the past, we carry on this fight with the same simplicity—not only in Europe, but all around the world. We can rejoice in the invitation to join it." Read more

Tools and Resources

World Congress of Families XI
Budapest Family Summit

Budapest, Hungary
May 24-28, 2017

The World Congress of Families (WCF) and the International Organization for the Family (IOF) ( are proud to announce that World Congress of Families XI will take place in Budapest, Hungary, May 24-28, 2017. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Hungary has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most family-friendly countries in Europe.
Visit World Congress of Families XI for more information.

World Congress of Families
Regional Conference 2016

Belgrade, September 16th -18th, 2016

"Natural family and family policies as the future of Serbian society"
Click here for program agenda

How to Organize a World Congress of Families Regional Event

Suggestions, guidance and tips on how to organize your own World Congress of Families Regional Event
Download the pdf

International Day of Families
May 15, 2016

Happy Asian Family

Our World Congress of Families in Tbilisi, Georgia, commences on the International Day of Families, May 15, 2016. In celebration of that day, we affirm that:

  • "The family, a universal community based on the marital union of a man and a woman, is the bedrock of society, the strength of our nations, and the hope of humanity."
    Read World Family Declaration
  • "The natural family provides the optimal environment for the healthy development of children. Healthy family life fulfills the basic human need to belong and satisfies the longings of the human heart to give and receive love."
    Read The Geneva Declaration
  • "The family, as the only group unit recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as having rights, ‘is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.'"
    Read The Family in the United Nations

We therefore "urge citizens, leaders, and people of influence everywhere to place as their highest priority the protection and strengthening of the family as the irreplaceable foundation of civilization and our only hope for prosperity, peace, and progress."
Read World Family Declaration

In Praise of Mothers

"Mighty is the power of mothers!" wrote George Eliot. "Mothers are the most powerful influence for good on the earth today," says Shelly Locke. We join in thanking the millions of mothers around the world for their love and selfless service, and we urge governments and civil society to answer the call in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that "Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance." We would add that mothers are also entitled to our deepest gratitude and highest praise—such as that contained in the following tributes to mothers.
Read more

When I Was Hungry

To Every Mother

It Was Mom

The Power of Mothers

Now Available!

Family Cycles

By Dr. Allan C. Carlson

"A brilliant history and analysis of the most important building blocks of civilization: marriage and the family."
J. R. Edwards, Choice

See also Allan's Amazon author page.

Marriage Matters

By Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse

"A must-read, fact-driven contribution to our understanding of the importance of marriage for the individual, the family, and society. It's all here, laid out clearly and convincingly." —Barrett Duke, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

The Family in the United Nations

Statement by the World Congress of Families

"The family, as the only group unit recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as having rights, ‘is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.' The family thus exists prior to the State, which is obligated to protect the family as the keystone of human rights and the irreplaceable foundation of civilization. Accordingly, international commitments repeatedly address the nature and role of the family…"
Read more.

Carlson Collection Highlights

Allan Carlson is "a wise man and a patriot" (Transaction) and "one of the most prestigious and respected scholars in the field" (Bill Kauffman).



The Family in America

"The most incisive guide to issues facing the American family today . . . An invaluable resource for anyone wishing to stay on the cutting edge of research on family trends."
-W. Bradford Wilcox, University of Virginia

World Family Declaration

"We declare that the family, a universal community based on the marital union of a man and a woman, is the bedrock of society, the strength of our nations, and the hope of humanity…" Read more

The Natural Family: A Manifesto

"Demands the attention of all those who would defend civilization's most basic institution."
Albert Mohler, Jr. 


Powerful online social science encyclopedia on all matters related to family, marriage, religion, and sexuality. A joint project of MARRI and the World Congress of Families.

U.N. Negotiating Guide





"A phenomenal store of needed documentation, indexing and cross-referencing of U.N. documents relating to the family…. Invaluable…. a godsend."  Read more...

The Family and the MDGs

(click to download)


Our groundbreaking work on the indispensable role of family in sustainable development, introduced by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar.

Introductory Video

Untitled Document