Brian S. Brown – President, International Organization for the Family (IOF)
Welcome Address – Day One
IOF hosts the annual World Congress of Families, which brings together thousands of pro-family activists from around the world to be trained and equipped to advocate for the family, to train them in events around the globe including Budapest, Hungary, Lagos, Nigeria, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, and Tbilisi, Georgia. Mr. Brown also serves as President of the (US) National Organization for Marriage (NOM), having co-founded the organization in 2007.
Mr. Brown has been quoted regularly in The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and almost every other major newspaper in the country. The Washington Post ran a profile of Brown titled, “Opposing Gay Unions with Sanity and a Smile” in which the author stated, “The reason Brian Brown is so effective is that he is pleasantly, ruthlessly sane.” He has also regularly appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX News Channel, C-SPAN and MSNBC.
Mr. Brown, an articulate advocate for marriage, is a sought-after speaker who has addressed hundreds of gatherings nationally and internationally. In 2012 Brown debated prominent same-sex ‘marriage’ advocate Dan Savage on the importance of preserving marriage, a debate moderated by a reporter from the New York Times and broadcast over the Internet in which most independent observers acknowledge Brown won handily.
Mr. Brown is a C. Phil. at UCLA in American History, earned his B.A./M.A. in Modern History at Oxford University, and received his B.A. in History from Whittier College. He and his wife Susan have nine children.
Sharon Slater – President, Family Watch International
Keynote Speaker – Day One: The Truth about Comprehensive Sexuality Education
Family Watch International is a nonprofit organization in consultative status with the United Nations. Sharon Slater also chairs the UN Family Rights Caucus (UNFamilyRightsCaucus.org) and is a consultant to multiple UN member states on life, family, and human sexuality issues. She is the founder of and chairs the annual Global Family Policy Forums for UN diplomats and the author of Stand for the Family: A Call to Responsible Citizens Everywhere. She writes a regular column for “The Family Watch” online publication read in over 170 countries and has authored numerous policy briefs on family issues. She is a world-renowned speaker, having presented at numerous World Congress of Families and other international conferences around the world. Sharon is the director of four widely acclaimed documentaries: The War on Children: The Comprehensive Sexuality Education Agenda (See StopCSE.org); Porn Pandemic: The Devastating Impacts on Children, Family, and Society (See Pornpandemic.org); Understanding Same-Sex Attraction (See UnderstandingSameSexAttraction.org); Cultural Imperialism: The Sexual Rights Agenda (See StandforFamiliesWorldwide.org)
Sharon founded and chairs the “Families for Orphans” project (See FamiliesforOrphans.org) and is an advocate for international and domestic adoption. Sharon was selected by American Mothers, Inc. in 2007 to be the Arizona Mother of the Year and she her husband Greg have seven children including three siblings orphaned by HIV/AIDS who they adopted from Mozambique.
Don Feder – World Congress of Families Communications Director and Coordinator of Regional Conferences
Keynote Speaker – Day One: The Sexual Revolution
Don Feder has been active in the Congress since 2004 and has spoken at World of Congress II (Geneva) WCF III (Mexico City), WCF IV (Warsaw), WCF V (Amsterdam), WCF VI (Madrid), WCF IX (Salt Lake City), WCF X (Tbilisi) and WCF XI (Budapest). He also helped to organize regional conferences in Ottawa, Salta (Argentina), Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Trinidad, Barbados, St Lucia, London, Moldova, Moscow, Nairobi, and Abuja, among other venues.
Previously, Feder was an editorial writer and syndicated columnist for the Boston Herald, New England’s second largest newspaper, from June 1983 to June 2002. On February 28, 2002, the paper published his 2,000th column. Feder’s column was syndicated by Creator’s Syndicate in Los Angeles, and carried by more than 40 newspapers and e-magazines nationwide. His writings have appeared in numerous well-known US journals and newspapers, including USA TODAY, The Washington Times, and American Thinker. Feder has traveled widely in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
Feder received a number of awards for his journalism, including the 1984 Distinguished Editorial Journalism Award from The Conservative Caucus of America, the 1998 International Communications Award of the Republic of China on Taiwan The 2002 Warren T. Brooks Award from Massachusetts Citizens for Limited Taxation, The Princeton Ivy Leaguers for Freedom Award in October 1999, The Second Amendment Foundation’s 1985 James Madison Award, The World Congress of Families’ 2016 Family and Truth Award, and the First Place Prize in the Amy Foundation’s Writing Contest for Projecting Biblical Truths in the Secular Media in 1992.
Feder is a graduate of the Boston University College of Liberal Arts and the Boston University Law School. He is admitted to the practice of law in New York and Massachusetts.
He’s married to Andrea (née Mills), is the father of four children and grandfather of three, and lives in Eastern, Massachusetts.
Moira Chimombo – Executive Director, Sub-Saharan Africa Family Enrichment (SAFE)
Moderator – Day One: Keynote Speakers
Facilitator – Day One: Comprehensive Sexuality Education v. Character Education
Facilitator – Day Two: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Family Life
Moira Chimombo has been Executive Director of SAFE since January 2009, having served as Director of Education from 2003 to 2008, and previously, in a voluntary capacity, as Director of Curriculum Development. She was the major contributing writer to the SAFE Education Program, with an 8-year curriculum for Grades 9-12, as well as a 6-session course for college students. She has also trained teachers to implement the WHY WAIT? Curriculum in Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Lesotho, and Rwanda.
Mrs Chimombo is retired Professor of Education, University of Malawi, where she lectured in the area of Language Teacher Education. She holds an EdD in TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Teachers’ College, Columbia University, New York. She has published internationally, particularly on linguistics, applied linguistics, and language teaching and learning, as well as Life Skills education. She co-authored The power of discourse and The culture of democracy. She has also lectured internationally: in the USA, the UK, Sweden, Germany, as well as in several African countries.
She has served as external examiner and curriculum consultant in several southern African countries. She has also been a member of primary and secondary curriculum review panels in Malawi, having served at different times as a consultant on reading, language teaching methods, cross-curricular AIDS education, and Life Skills Education. From 2012 to 2015, she served Chairperson of the newly established National Council for Higher Education, which oversees all private and public universities and institutions of higher education, except for vocational education.
Her late husband, Steve, one of Malawi’s best-known writers, was Professor of English, University of Malawi. His retelling of numerous Malawian/African folk stories provided the framework for the primary WHY WAIT? Curriculum for grades 5 through 8. Moira is the mother of three children and grandmother of five.
Rev. Patrick Semphere – General Secretary, Word Alive Ministries International
Facilitator – Day One: The Impact of Pornography on Education
Rev Patrick Semphere pastors a church in Mitundu area. He is a consultant in media and communication management, the development of communication strategies, organizational development, and family enrichment, and has undertaken assignments in Kenya, Lesotho, Zambia, and Malawi. He consults widely for UN agencies and has managed donor-funded media projects with World Bank, British High Commission, Commonwealth Education Fund, Canadian International Development Agency, Family Health International and Norwegian Church Aid, as well as helping a number of Malawi Government Ministries and local organizations. He was National Director of Trans World Radio for 8 years, during which he spearheaded the establishment of a national FM network. In 2014, he moderated the first ever presidential debates in Malawi. For the past 15 years, he has run a weekly newspaper column Parents’ Talkpoint to help build parenting capacity in the country
He has also edited World Bank Results Stories, a UNICEF Manual on Child Protection for Faith Leaders, UNICEF-funded publications on Accelerated Child Survival and Development, Social Sanitation & Hand-washing, and PMTCT, as well as a Marriage Counseling Manual for Johns Hopkins University (Malawi Bridge) Project.
As an organizational development expert, Rev Semphere has helped develop strategic plans for Malawi Human Rights Commission and Daeyang Luke Mission Hospital. He has facilitated team building workshops and staff retreats for UNICEF Malawi, UNFPA, Heifer International (Malawi) Office, Malawi Network for People Living with HIV (MANET+), Plan Malawi; and Implementation Strategy for HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy for ILO/Ministry of Labor.
He holds a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, USA, and a Bachelors’ Degree from the University of Malawi. He is married to Patricia and has three children—Robina, Priscilla and Daniel.
Alfred and Gloria Mlekano – Volunteer speakers to college students and in parishes in Blantyre Archdiocese
Facilitators – Day One: The Role of Parents in Education
Alfred and Gloria Mlekano were a co-ordinator couple for Natural Family Planning in the Catholic Diocese of Zomba from 1991 to 1996. In 1993 they attended an International Intensive Teachers Course on the Billings Ovulation Method (BOM) in Rome. From 1996 to 2010 they taught BOM to those who asked for it either as individual couples or as small groups. They were also the president couple for the Christian Family Movement (CFM) for Zomba Diocese from 1996 to 2001.
In 1990 they made joint presentations with late Bishop Felix Mkhori at Chancellor College on “How to choose a Life Partner” and “Divorce.” Again, in 2010, the Health Commission of Blantyre Archdiocese requested them to give talks to youth in the Diocese on “How to Choose a Life Partner”. In 2012 they were trained as Trainer of Trainers in Couple Counselling by Johns Hopkins University Centre for Communication Programs, Bloomberg School of Public Health in their BRIDGE 11 Project. They have trained over 60 couples in Couple Counseling in various parishes in the Archdiocese of Blantyre.
The Mlekanos continue to work with CFM nationally, speaking to members on emerging issues affecting the family. In 2016 they were the regional publicity secretaries for the south on the Citizens March on “Celebrating Life and Family”. They are indebted to late Sister Jean Nicknair of the Daughters of Wisdom who introduced them to these activities.
Alfred and Gloria were blessed with five daughters, but lost one to cerebral Malaria. They have one grandson.
Dr Theresa Okafor – African Representative of the World Congress of Families (WCF); Director and Co-Founder of the Foundation for African Cultural Heritage (FACH)
Facilitator – Day One: Homosexuality and Family Life
Facilitator – Day Two: Contraception
Dr Okafor is a graduate of the University of Lagos, Nigeria and holds a PhD from the University of Nottingham in the UK. Apart from her roles captured above, she is Director of the Quality Assurance and Research Development Agency, Nigeria (QAARDAN), which partners with the University of Nottingham and the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, in the continuous professional development training for education practitioners in Nigeria. She served as a delegate of the Holy See at the United Nations from 2013-2015; and as a board member of the International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies for Higher Education (INQAAHE), Netherlands, from 2009-2011; she is a Founding Member of the African Network of Quality Assurance Agencies (AfriQan); International Advisory Board Member, Integral Economic Development Management – Catholic University of America, Washington DC. 2011 to date; and Elected Executive Member (Public Relation Officer), Women X12 (A World Bank-sponsored Entrepreneurial Program for women) 2016 to date. Awards include – Woman of the Year 2015, World Congress of Families; Catholic University Students Award – National Association of Catholic University Students, 2012; and the most reflective paper at the International Conference on Quality Assurance for Higher Education (ICQAHE), 2014.
Theresa’s professional activities include negotiations at the United Nations during the Consultative Session on Women (CSW); Commission on Population Development; and the General Assembly. She features as a panelist at Government-sponsored events at the United Nations in New York and Geneva in collaboration with Family Watch International and the African Group. She is an ardent promoter of life and ethics, featuring in EWTN, NTA, and Voice of Africa, and in documentaries such as Humanum it, the Power of Mothers, and The War on Children: Comprehensive Sexuality Education.
Dr Beatrice Mwagomba – Medical Doctor and Public Health Specialist
Keynote Speaker – Day Two: The Truth about Maternal Health and Family Life
After serving as District Health Officer between 2007 and 2010, Dr Mwagomba became passionate about disease prevention and control. She then pursued a public health career and worked as National Program Manager for the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) control program with the Ministry of Health from March 2012 to February 2017. Currently working as Medical Director at the Lighthouse Trust, Lilongwe, her interest is integration of care for all chronic diseases including HIV and NCDs.
Since committing her life to Christ in October 2000 during her student days at the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine, Dr Beatrice has been a member of the Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship (CMDF) – Malawi. She is currently CMDF’s National Chairperson and in her role, she has since mid-2016, led CMDF in advocacy against Malawi’s draft “Termination of Pregnancy Bill” by raising a voice amidst the debates that have surrounded the issue of abortion. Together with other CMDF members, she co-authored a peer-reviewed statement on abortion, in Malawi Medical Journal, titled “The proposed legislation on termination of pregnancy does not protect women or children in Malawi and is not fit for the intended purpose” which can be accessed on: http://www.mmj.mw/?p=5035.
Victor Ndagha Kaonga – Country Director, Trans World Radio (TWR)
Moderator – Day Two: Keynote Speakers
Victor Ndagha Kaonga works with Trans World Radio (TWR) where he leads the team, production and broadcasts. While serving in several capacities, he is a programming person at heart and is actively involved in marriage counseling programmes. He married Thembi in December 2000 and they have been blessed with four children. Thembi teaches languages at Bwaila Secondary School.
Victor is a graduate of the University of Malawi and Orebro University (Sweden). He is a fun advocate of social media. His book From a Listener to a Broadcaster (2016) traces his story from being mere listener while in primary school to now when he ensures that as many people as people are reached with the Word of God.
Dr Mary Mkandawire – Founder and Managing Director of Life to the Full Consulting
Facilitator – Day 2: Maternal Health
Dr Mary Mkandawire’s consulting firm offers services in personal, professional and organizational development, with a particular focus on leadership development and talent management. She is a highly sought-after executive coach, trainer, facilitator and inspirational speaker, working with a range of organizations in the private, public and non-profit sectors. She is certified by internationally recognized leadership expert and best-selling author Dr John C. Maxwell.
Since 2002, Dr Mary has had a passion for equipping young people with leadership skills, including ASK for Kids, Girls Talk, WISE UP and the YouthMAX conference that impacted over 10,000 schoolchildren in Blantyre and Lilongwe in April 2017.
Dr Mary ran the popular BNL Daily Times Transformational Leadership column for over two years, 2013-15, and she has contributed to various professional publications including People Manager Magazine and Malawi Insurance Times. Her writing won first place awards in the Malawi Writer’s Union Peer Gynt Award (2002) and VoiceFlame Writers Essay Competition (2009).
Dr Mary is a medical doctor with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree. She has the distinction of being the only woman to qualify in the inaugural group of eleven doctors that graduated from the University of Malawi College Of Medicine when it first opened its doors in 1991. Dr Mary also holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Liverpool, a Bachelor of Medical Sciences degree from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and a Bachelor of Science (Honors) degree in Chemistry from the University of Malawi.
Dr Mary is married to Nyengo, Professor of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery and Dean of the University Of Malawi College Of Medicine. They have one daughter who is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Cambridge, UK.
Dr Garton Kamchedzera – Dean of Law, University of Malawi
Keynote Speaker – Day Two: The Truth about Human Rights and Family Life
Garton Kamchedzera is a legal and development consultant, a master-planning and strategic planning expert, a legal practitioner with vast experience on reform, especially child rights, and a Church Elder at Zomba Baptist Church. He holds a PhD from Cambridge University, an LLM in Law and Development from Warwick University, and an LLB (Hons) from the University of Malawi. He is married with three daughters.
As a legal educationist and scholar, he has taught at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the Universities of Malawi, Cambridge, Warwick, and Ghent in Family Law, the Law of Trusts, Property Law, Core Legal Competences, Customary Law, Child Rights, Environmental Ethics, Civil Society and Activism, and Research Methods. He has researched in a many countries, including Botswana, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Finland, Nicaragua, Iraq, Uganda, Liberia, Rwanda, Iraq, and Afghanistan. His publications include Article 5: The Child’s Right to Appropriate Direction and Guidance, (The Hague; Brill International, 2012), with another book, Trust-based Programming for Child Rights due in 2012.
As a legal and development consultant, he has worked with United Nations Country Teams and agencies, the European Union, many governments, and communities. From 1999 to 2001, he was head of Social Policy, Advocacy, and Communication for UNICEF-Malawi, when he was a key member of the UNICEF team that formulated, piloted, and developed a human rights-based approach to development programming.
As a policy and law reformer, he has led reform processes for the Governments Rwanda, Botswana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Papua New Guinea. Recently, he has been a key member of a team that developed the University of Malawi gender equality policy and has led teams to develop Chancellor College’s masterplan and strategic direction toward a new University of Malawi.
Ralph Sauti Jr. – Managing Counsel, Sauti and Company, and Lecturer in Law, University of
Facilitator – Day 2: Human Rights, including Child Rights
Ralph Sauti Jr. holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education, Bachelor of Laws (Honors) and Master of Laws (Commercial Law). Besides working in the commercial world, he has a passion for human rights. In 2014, he worked with Palliative Care Association of Malawi in developing their human rights based policy on palliative and facilitating trainings on health workers across the country. On 16 November 2016, he was a member of the opposing team in a public debate on abortion law in Malawi: impact on maternal health.