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THIS YEAR has been proclaimed the International Year of the Family by the United Nations General Assembly (last year was devoted to Indigenous Peoples, while 1995 will be the Year of Tolerance - 'a nice one - it won't work' sighed the woman from the UN Information Office). The IYF aims to strengthen the family unit worldwide - its motto is 'Building the smallest democracy at the heart of society'. The UK Association for the IYF was set up by British charities, with help from the Department of Health. Projects will include a conference on poverty, research on families in the workplace, and the World Family Day on 15 May. The year will culminate in an 'agenda for change' to be presented to the Government. According to Joanna Foster, chair of UK IYF: ' We have a lot of learning to do. We are far from being a society that shows it values families.'