Global perspective Human stories

UN-supported book on changing roles of families launched in New York

UN-supported book on changing roles of families launched in New York

A United Nations-supported collection of stories on today's diverse types of families was launched late yesterday in New York.

FAMILIES AS WE ARE: Conversations from Around the World describes nuclear and single-parent families, as well as polygamous, patriarchal, matriarchal, or same-sex couples who are all raising children in vastly different settings.

Looking beyond the rhetoric of "family values," the author, Perdita Huston, offers a voice to families - from the United States to Bangladesh to Japan - to tell their stories on the evolving role of family structure and relationships. The 288-page book is the result of four years of research and hundreds of interviews on four continents.

"Political and economic structures were transformed and world population quadrupled," creating a "diversity of family forms," the author said in a statement issued today. She also explores how public policies should be revised to meet the needs of future generations that speak in her book.

In support of the publication, Henrych J. Sokalski, former UN Coordinator for the International Year of the Family, said that if we are to understand the multiple forces that shape and influence family life in the coming decades, FAMILIES AS WE ARE is an essential text. "Ms. Huston has captured the transformations that shape the social environment in the era of globalization, mobility and democratization," he added.

The launch was attended by Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, this month's President of the Security Council; former US Ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke; Eimi Watanabe, Director of the Bureau for Development Policy of the UN Development Programme (UNDP); Noeleen Heyzer, Director of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM); and Jean Casella, Publisher and Director of The Feminist Press, New York.