Since the 1990’s, The annual World Congress of Families has been bringing together thousands of people who come from all over the world, practice a diversity of religions, and speak a multitude of languages. Despite their differences, each participant has one important belief in common: the natural family is essential to society. These world congresses, which could be described as the Olympics of the family, have for decades been uniting scholars, activists, statesmen, and religious leaders to discuss critical issues relevant to the family. The most recent World Congress of Families, held in late October, was significantly more vibrant and aspirational than those held previously.

The reason for this optimistic change is the addition of 250 Emerging Youth Leaders in the Pro-Family Movement. Several years ago, the planning committee for the 9th World Congress of Families decided that they wanted to engage young people who are passionate about pro-family values, so they established a scholarship program for young people to compete for the opportunity to attend the congress. The Emerging Leaders selected to participate come from 40 countries, and are all working in their respective communities to encourage respect for marriage, life, and the family.

From testifying at the UN, to running their town’s pro-life organization, to beginning conservative activism on their college campuses, to counteracting the media’s liberal bias (among other notable endeavors), these scholars are doing work from small towns to national governments to support the family. At this year’s congress, many of these young people—who often feel as though they are alone in their values—were humbled and encouraged to meet other activists like themselves from around the world.

The World Congress of Families only lasted a week, but it was a watershed event for the Emerging Leaders, who are just beginning their careers. The contacts they made and experts they engaged with left a lasting impression which further motivated them to stand for the family. Throughout the week, each scholar worked on a project initiating an organization, website, or campaign that encourages the family. Within the next few weeks, the best project will receive funding and support from World Congress leaders so that the creator’s dream can come to fruition. Many believe the false notion that young people have abandoned conservative family values, but the passionate and vocal Emerging Youth Leaders who gathered in Salt Lake City, Utah this past month are a strong indication that the future of the pro-family movement is in good hands.