Karen Bogenschneider, professor of Human Development and Family Studies delivered the keynote address at the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family at the United Nations in New York City. Karen is a Rothermel Bascom Professor of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Family Policy Specialist for University of Wisconsin-Extension. In her address, Professor Bogenschneider focused on building better public policy for families at a time when they are struggling worldwide with stresses such as the inability to find a job, afford health insurance, secure quality child care, or send their kids to good schools. According to Bogenschneider, public policy has the potential to support families in dealing with stressful conditions, yet policymaking is not working as well as it could. She proposed that:
policymakers could make more efficient and effective decisions if they used on information that was family-focused and research-based.
She over-viewed several international models for communicating research and analysis to policymakers. Other panelists included Noor Al-Malki Al-Jehani, Executive Director of the Doha International Family Institute, Qatar; Peter Crowley, Secretary of the Vienna NGO Committee on the Family; Raymond Mutura, Area Vice-president for English-Speaking Africa; and Donna Butts, Executive Director of Generations United. Bogenschneider’s scholarship also was featured in a 90-minute presentation at a recent international family conference convened by the Doha International Family Institute in Qatar. She discussed several best practices for communicating research and analysis to policymakers based on her leadership of the Family Impact Seminars now operating in 25 states and the District of Columbia. The conference attracted 170 participants from around the world including academics, policymakers, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, and other relevant stakeholders. The conference concluded with a call to action requesting governments to enact policies that “empower and enable families to contribute to development.”