World's Largest Marriage Conference Held July 9
ORLANDO - Over 1,600 attendees gathered for Smart Marriages, the world's largest annual marriage conference, held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando. According to Diane Sollee, the Executive Director of the Washington, D.C. based Smart Marriages organization, this year's conference had attendees representing 49 states and 12 countries around the world. Florida led the conference with over 400 persons in attendance from Miami to Tallahassee.
Capitalizing on the popular name of the faith-based major motion film "Fireproof", a pre-conference seminar was held all day on Wednesday featuring leaders from the country's four most successful Community Marriage Initiatives. This includes Florida's Richard Albertson, who leads Live the Life, Inc., in Tallahassee, Florida. Live the Life has seen a 29% reduction in the divorce rate in Leon County, Florida since its work started.
Opening the plenary session of the Smart Marriages Conference was Howard J. Markman, Ph.D, one the world's foremost marriage and family researchers from the University of Denver. Dozens of other national researchers, clergy leaders and counselors and authors were scheduled to speak until the conference closed on Sunday, July 12th.
On Thursday, the Florida Family Policy Council hosted a "Strong Marriages Florida" networking meeting from 5:15pm to 7:00pm in the Gatlin A1 hall of the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the strategy for the five year campaign which has as it goals, reducing the divorce rate by 10%; making marriage education readily available and accessible to every region of the state; training 10,000 marriage mentor couples; and saving taxpayers 100 million dollars a year as result of family fragmentation.
John Stemberger, President of the Florida Family Policy Council, stated, "This is an extraordinary privilege to have a worldwide conference of this caliber here in our state, specifically designed to offer resources to strengthen marriages in Florida. I am thrilled we were able to promote this event as a providential part of our 'Strong Marriages Florida' campaign."
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