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DIFI meet sheds light on marriage challenges facing Arab countries

DIFI meet sheds light on marriage 
challenges facing Arab countries

Tribune News Network
Doha
THE social, cultural and educational importance of marriage – both for individuals, and for society – and how it’s getting impacted by a changing world, was highlighted at the ‘Arab Family Forum on Marriage: Research and Policy Perspectives’.
The forum, organised by Doha International Family Institute (DIFI), kicked off at Qatar National Convention Center on Monday, with the Vice-Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bin Hamad al Thani gracing the opening ceremony.
Machaille al Naimi, president of Community Development at Qatar Foundation also attended the opening.
The forum provides a platform for discussing the findings of newly-launched research reports by DIFI, a member of Qatar Foundation, on marriage in the Arab world, with policy-makers, researchers, experts, service providers, and representatives of civil society and regional organisations participating.
DIFI has produced a report titled ‘The State of Marriage in the Arab World and Marital Education Programs in the Arab World’.
Dr Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, assistant secretary-general and head of the Social Affairs Sector at the Arab League, was the forum’s keynote speaker.
Dr Ghazaleh said: “This forum reflects Qatar’s commitment to addressing one of the main issues affecting the Arab world. It is a challenge that has not been sufficiently addressed before due to the negative factors that affect it, but if it remains unaddressed, it may negatively reflect the Arab world as a whole.
“The biggest challenge faced by Arab families in some countries relates to the negative impact of recent conflicts and wars, and the consequent waves of migrants and displaced people that have affected the components of the family unit.
“There is no doubt that the institution of marriage is facing a serious crisis. According to DIFI’s statistics, many societies have high levels of separation and divorce. The report clearly presents the different dimensions and issues surrounding marriage in the Arab world, including the context of marriage context, its patterns, age and marital relations, among others.”
Dr Sharifa Noaman al Emadi, executive director of DIFI, said: “Some may wonder about the reason for discussing the state of marriage. Too often, the focus is on highlighting issues related to divorce, but I believe that we should focus instead on the topic of marriage because it also faces many challenges.
“What distinguishes our research is that it covers the state of marriage across 22 countries. The challenges faced by countries in the Arab region can vary depending on the culture of their society, and the biggest challenge remains the high rate of divorce in general. One of DIFI’s key roles is proposing policies that will help to maintain the cohesion of the family unit, as we are considered to be the key source of information about Arab families in Arab communities.
“Through this forum, we aim to produce recommendations and policies that will help to protect the institution of marriage, and we have also produced another report on programmes related to marital education. We have found that there are 24 programmes in 22 Arab countries that focus on people who are already committed to marrying, but there is either a lack or a complete absence of programmes for people who want to know more about marriage, or for those who are already married, and this is what we will be working on in the future.”
The first day of the forum included three sessions focusing on the state of marriage in the GCC, across the wider Middle East, and in North
Africa.

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