About DIFI

How We Started

The Doha International Family Institute (DIFI), formerly known as Doha International Institute forFamily Studies and Development (DIIFSD), was established by Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development in 2006.

DIFI’s mandate is based upon the Doha Declaration on the Familywhich reaffirms the commitments of the international community to strengthen the family as the natural and fundamental group unit of society and encourages governments, international organizations and members of civil society to take action to promote and support the family by conducting research which contributes to the knowledge base on the family and developing indicators to evaluate the impact of programs on family stability. Family, parental and child rights, and human dignity are stressed throughout the Doha Declaration, as is the importance of the institution of marriage itself.

The Doha Declaration was noted by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/59/111 on 6th December 2004.

DIFI operates as a non-governmental organization (NGO) within the framework of Qatar Foundation - a private, non-profit organization founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Emir of Qatar.

The Institute has special consultative status with United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The Family as an agent of Social Development

DIFI’s mandate defines the family according to traditional norms. It also stresses the need to recognize that the family, as the fundamental building block of society, is an important contributor to social development. DIFI’s mandate also emphasizes the connection between well-functioning families and well-functioning societies.

The Doha Call to Action, the outcome document of the international conference “Empowering Families: A Pathway to Development,” organized by DIFI to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family, emphasizes that a strategic focus on families offers a comprehensive approach to solving some of the persistent development challenges such as inequality and social exclusion. It calls on governments to empower and enable families to contribute to development by taking specific actions, including:

  • Developing comprehensive and coherent policies and integrating a cross sectorial approach to support family stability;
  • Establishing /strengthening a national mechanism to develop family-oriented policies and programs and allocate adequate human and financial resources to implement, monitor and evaluate them;
  • Promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women; and
  • Ensuring the systematic collection of data and statistics on family wellbeing and collaborate on good practice exchange at the national, regional and international levels.

Our focus is the Arab Family

In 2013, DIFI adopted a strategic direction that focuses its work on the family in the Arab world, especially fostering knowledge on the family through research. This strategic move aims to fill an identified gap in the region: the lack of Arab organizations dedicated to research on Arab families, particularly policy relevant research. Besides conducting its own research, DIFI promotes and supports research on Arab families through its annual conference on family research and policy and the DIFI-QNRF OSRA Research Grant.

“To improve family wellbeing in our region, we need research that reveals the lived realities of families and talks about “what families are actually doing” not only “what families should be doing”. Policy makers and implementers in Arab states should be encouraged to take the evidence that research provides into consideration in the process of policy formulation. Without this approach, we have seen policies that affect families in our region being made, changed or completely altered without knowing how they affected families. This calls for a focus on policy impact assessment and evaluation studies. Such research should help Arab states to devise policies that work and contribute to strengthening the Arab family. We hope that DIFI will play a key role in conducting and promoting this kind of research in the Arab region.

To know more about our history please click here