Global Conferences: Striving for the greater good of humanity
BAHÁ’Í WORLD CENTRE — As the wave of global conferences continues to move across the world, more and more people are awakening to the possibilities for fostering unity and serving their society alongside their neighbors and other fellow citizens.
Participants of these conferences—the majority of which are taking place at the grassroots level—are seeing, in tangible form, the expression of Bahá’u’lláh’s vision of the world of humanity, which He has described as being a single unit—as one family—in the following quote: “Ye are all leaves of one tree and the drops of one sea.”
This sense of oneness was felt among participants of a conference in Chad, which brought together chiefs and religious leaders to explore how each person can contribute to the realization of collective peace. “These conferences will play an important role in the peace-building process in a country all too familiar with myriad crises, violent disruptions, and injustices,” stated Mahamat Hassane, one of the chiefs in attendance. In that inspiring gathering, all of the participating chiefs called for similar conferences to be held in their respective villages.
Elsewhere, in India, attendees of a conference held in Hinganvedhe in the state of Maharashtra addressed various social issues, including the devastating effects of alcohol consumption on families. The conference was followed by a health promotion campaign. Raju Arjun Dhatrak, a Sarpanch (village head), states: “It’s very important that we have these conferences regularly, because the Bahá’í principles that we’re exploring are giving us a new perspective on how to build for the future.”
Meanwhile, discussions at regional gatherings in the United States are setting the stage for hundreds of local gatherings that will be held throughout that country in the coming months. Among the themes that will be explored in those gatherings are the oneness of humanity and racial justice.
Provided below are images from some of the latest conferences that have taken place in countries around the globe.
Pictured here are participants at a local gathering in Azerbaijan. Some of the themes of discussion included building a future founded on the oneness of humanity, moral education, and living one’s life for the common good.
A participant remarked that, “What is heartwarming is the spirit of youth present at this conference, all of whom are engaged in one way or another in activities that contribute to the progress of their neighborhoods.”
Pictured here are local conferences in Tuluá and Tuchin, Colombia.
The Bahá’ís of the United Arab Emirates have produced this video invitation featuring young people describing the aims of upcoming conferences in that country.
A local conference in the southwest region of Chad, which was held in the sub-prefect of Moulkou, brought together more than 120 participants, including government officials, chiefs and religious leaders.
The two-day conference explored initiatives focused on the spiritual and material advancement of their society, the oneness of humanity, and the role each person plays towards the realization of collective peace. The gathering featured songs and traditional dances about hope for the future.
In the United States, representatives from Bahá’í institutions gathered at the Green Acre Bahá’í School in Maine as well at the Bahá’í House of Worship in Illinois to discuss the upcoming local conferences, which will explore ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s vision of the spiritual future of that country and the principle of the oneness of humanity.
Here is a recent local gathering that was held in Izmir, Turkey.
Representatives of Bahá’í institutions in Paraguay recently gathered to discuss upcoming regional conferences.
Here is a gathering in Palawan, Midwest, and Mindanao in the Philippines.
A three-day gathering in Italy brought together representatives of Baháʼí institutions from several countries, including Belgium, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain. Discussions were centered on contributing to social transformation and promoting educational endeavors that build capacity for service to society.
The focus of discussions among attendees of a three-day local gathering in Azerbaijan was on initiatives of the Bahá’í community aimed at the material and spiritual advancement of their society.
One of the participants stated that “the conference has brought hope for a prosperous future.”
Here are gatherings in central and eastern Uganda, which brought together representatives from various Bahá’í institutions who shared experiences from related to the material and spiritual advancement of their communities.
Pictured here are local conferences in Baghdad and Khaniqeen, Iraq. Attendees consulted on how they can intensify their efforts toward fostering a culture of peace.
A recent local conference in Panama brought together over 200 people of diverse faiths. The conference was largely conducted in the indigenous Ngöbere language. The atmosphere of the gathering was enhanced by songs inspired by Bahá'í teachings.
Seen here is a gathering among members of local Bahá’í agencies in the East Valley region in Arizona, United States.
A local gathering in the Cala Cala region of Bolivia brought together local authorities from the indigenous population to discuss an upcoming conference that will be held in this region. In attendance were chiefs representing multiple Ayllus–a family clan structure common throughout the Andes.
Here is a view of a gathering in Kazakhstan.
Some 100 people attended a recent local gathering in Zambia, one of many that will be held in the coming weeks and months.
Pictured here is a conference at the Mashiyyat school in Chad in which the same principles discussed in conferences throughout the world were explored by the students and faculty in attendance.
Children and youth fully participated in conferences held in Quibdó and Tuchín, Colombia.
Here are local conferences in the towns of Jamundi and Zarzal in Colombia.
This local gathering in Uncia, Bolivia, brought together participants of all ages from different faith communities. The gathering featured dramatic and musical presentations by children and the youth about their experiences in community-building activities.
Pictured here are local gatherings in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Representatives of Bahá’í institutions in Finland gathered in Helsinki over three days to discuss the upcoming national conference.
In Belgium, representatives from Bahá’í institutions throughout that country gathered for two days to discuss initiatives aimed at the moral education of children and youth.
Pictured here are scenes from a gathering in Honduras in which representatives of Bahá’í institutions met to plan for an upcoming conference titled “Learning to Serve Humanity.”
This gathering in Italy consisted of both plenary addresses and collaborative working sessions where participants discussed community-building initiatives throughout the many represented countries and regions.
Some 70 representatives from Bahá’í institutions throughout Japan met via video conferencing for a two-day gathering, which featured many artistic activities.
At a local conference in Al-Mafraq, Jordan, participants of all ages gathered to discuss themes such as the equality of women and men, moral education, and selfless service to society.
Representatives of Bahá’í institutions throughout Kazakhstan attended a conference in-person and remotely to discuss the prevalent issues in their respective communities and how they can each work together towards the spiritual and material betterment of all peoples living in that country.
Participants in this local conference in Tabacoro, Mali, which included residents from diverse backgrounds and local officials, explained that the gathering enhanced their vision of what it means to truly live together as one people.
Jean Jacques Yem, member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Mali, drew parallels between this conference and traditional meetings of past ages in which people would gather under a palaver tree to foster mutual understanding. Mr. Yem also expressed his hope for the future, stating that these conferences are a sign of the power of unity.
Seen here is a conference in Kuching, Malaysia, with participants from across the state of Sarawak.
Representatives of Bahá’í institutions in Mongolia recently gathered to discuss plans for upcoming conferences that will be held throughout that country.
A local conference held in Morocco saw artistic expressions by children, youth and adults as they explored spiritual concepts centering on the oneness of humanity and social progress.
Seen here is a virtual gathering in the North Island region of New Zealand.
One of the attendees said: “Although these worldwide conferences are taking place against the backdrop of many difficulties in the world, we’re finding ways to work for the betterment of the world.”
The Bahá’í community of Georgia was represented at a conference in Azerbaijan.
Participants at a gathering in Paraguay.
This gathering in Azerbaijan saw contributions from youth and adults alike as they reflected on the experiences they have had serving their society over recent years and how their experience will guide their steps in the years to come.
One of the young people remarked that these conferences are an invitation for all to serve their fellow citizens. “The opportunity to serve is open to all”, irrespective of background, age, or religious affiliation.”
In the Philippines, multiple gatherings have been held in different regions of the country. Seen here are gatherings in Palawan, Midwest, and Northern Luzon.
In the southern region of Romania, participants gathered to plan an upcoming local conference that will highlight selfless service to society.
Seen here is a local conference in Tunisia.
“These conferences are the fruits of many efforts to contribute to the well-being of our society”, says Mohamed Ben Moussa. “These neighborhood conferences have come at a time when many people are searching for a path forward,” he continues. “People are finding hope for a more prosperous future.”
After a series of local conferences throughout Deolali in the state of Maharashtra, India, participants and a local official undertook a public health campaign about various issues affecting their society.
A gathering in Uganda also served as the official opening of a new facility for hosting Baháʼí community-building initiatives in the Kiyunga village.
Children, youth, and adults at a local conference in the United Arab Emirates explored how the younger generations can contribute to the betterment of their society over the coming decade.
Seen here are participants of a gathering in Belgium.
Seen here are a number of meetings in the United States across Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. Participants at these gatherings have been reflecting on the Bahá’í community’s experience in contributing to racial harmony over the past century.
Seen here are regional gatherings held in Oregon and Utah in the United States.
Pictured here is a conference planning meeting held over video conferencing in British Columbia, Canada.
Seen here is a gathering of representatives of Bahá’í institutions in Victoria, Canada, who have been preparing for upcoming conferences in the province of British Columbia.