Have you ever had the experience of seeing pure joy in the face of someone you didn’t even know? The glimmer in their eyes and beaming smile somehow spoke to your soul and a connection was made without saying a word. When traveling to other countries, language and cultural barriers can impede communication. But joy is universal.
For more than 28 years, the International Right to Life Federation (IRTLF) has experienced that joy while sharing life-affirming messages in countries around the world. As a worldwide federation, the IRTLF Board consists of representatives from twelve regions including: the United States, Canada, Latin America, Africa, Indian sub-continent, United Kingdom, Western Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Pacific Rim, Eastern and Central Europe and Central America. Through worldwide efforts, pro-life groups in over 170 countries have engaged in educational, charitable and scientific activities to protect the unborn and defenseless.
Since the organization’s founding, Dr. J.C. Willke has served as president of IRTLF and in that time, has lectured in 85 countries, covering 6 continents. This year, Dr. Willke made the decision to retire, leaving a profound legacy to continue. In a unanimous vote, board members selected Brad Mattes to be named as its new president.
Accepting the honor, Brad said, “I feel immensely honored the board has chosen me to lead these amazing global voices for life. It is not done by one individual and I am confident in what will happen when pro-lifers unite to speak for those who cannot.”
Brad will be partnering with the existing IRTLF leadership including:
Jim Hughes is president of Campaign Life Coalition Canada, the political branch of the pro-life movement working at all levels of government to secure full legal protection for all human beings from conception to natural death.He was instrumental in founding Canada’s only pro-life, pro-family news paper, The Interim and one of the most popular online pro-life news sources, LifeSiteNews.com.
Bert Dorenbos of the Netherlands has served as president of the organization Schreeuwom Leven (Cry for Life) for over 27 years.Cry for Life is an action and media-oriented foundation with the goal to inform the public about life issues. The group chap- ions the pro- life message by educating the press and politicians,organizing prayer vigils at abortion clinics and counseling w men in crisis pregnancy or post-abortion circumstances.
Francisco “Kit” Tatad of the Philippines is an enthusiastic pro-life political leader who has served as a Senator, Minister for Public Information and Majority Leader of the Senate of the Philippines. Recently, he began writing a weekly column for the Manila Standard Today. Senator Tatad has earned worldwide recognition for his accomplishments as a writer, speaker and campaigner for pro-life legislation.
Embracing this new role, Brad is eager to return to Quito, Ecuador, this fall. In 2011, he had the privilege to take part in a week-long tour, meeting with young people to speak on topics such as abstinence, fetal development and post-abortive stress. His experiences reaffirmed how hungry the Ecuadorian youth are for messages of life, hope and truth. One of the most noteworthy responses the team received came from the Ministry of Health asking local pro-lifers to develop a sex-education curriculum for the public schools.
There are many aspects to the pro-life movement, but most essential are the connections made with individuals, especially the upcoming generation. In the United States, the news is encouraging as young people are embracing pro-life values at record high levels. This is something IRTLF wants to see duplicated around the world. Education is the key. Once they are equipped with knowledge, they’re empowered to make positive, life-affirming decisions.
Brad encourages his fellow pro-lifers to join with him in diligently speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves. He issued this definitive call-to-action, “Together, we can—and we will—protect the sanctity of life.”
The International Right to Life Federation is committed to making that a reality in countries across the globe by sharing the joy that can only come from embracing life.