Global Conferences: Youth provide a hopeful outlook for the future
BAHÁ’Í WORLD CENTRE — Recent stories of the News Service have reported on a wave of conferences bringing together diverse people in localities throughout the world to explore how they will intensify their efforts toward building unity and fostering more peaceful societies.
As the gatherings—both large and small—continue, young people in particular are stepping to the fore, offering fresh insights from their experience in Bahá’í community-building activities and providing a hopeful outlook for the future.
In Croatia, at the conclusion of a local conference titled “The Betterment of the World,” young participants undertook a social action initiative to beautify a rundown public space because they believe that more beauty in the world inspires peaceful thoughts.
Meanwhile in Bahrain, a conference dedicated to youth enabled participants from different backgrounds to explore a vision for the future of their society based on the principle of the oneness of humanity. “I think we can foster peaceful communities through more dialogue and inclusive discussions, and by serving alongside our fellow citizens,” said one of the participants.
In the Marshall Islands, where youth are spearheading Bahá’í educational programs that aim to build capacity for service to humanity, the Minister of Education, Kitlang Kabua, expressed her appreciation for the conferences, stating: “Unity, human welfare, and world solidarity are the pillars of this faith. As the Minister of Education… I stand by these pillars and strongly believe in cultivating our people to be competent and compassionate global citizens with a strong cultural and spiritual foundation.”
A young woman at a national youth conference in Bahrain said: “One of the biggest takeaways from this conference is the idea that the moral purpose of our lives is twofold: to develop our own character and potentialities, and to promote the welfare of the whole of humanity.”
In the United States, a youth conference was held in Nashville, Tennessee, that included discussions and artistic activities centered on building vibrant communities dedicated to the promotion of peace.
One of the young participants, Nasim, spoke about the unifying atmosphere of the gathering: “The different perspectives working together will help create a better future. I feel more at peace now.”
Another attendee, Elika, echoed these sentiments, saying: “The bonds of friendship we created through arts and discussion really helped soothe our minds, hearts, and souls.”
Pictured here are participants at a regional youth conference in Tennessee, United States. The gathering concluded with the youth consulting about how they can organize another larger conference in their locality in order to welcome more of their peers to participate in community-building activities aimed at fostering a culture of peace.
The theme of the conference in Zagreb, Croatia, was “the betterment of the world,” which gave rise to a project to beautify a public space.
A gathering in Croatia brought together participants from that country as well as various nearby countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia.
In a message to the attendees of the conference, the Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly of Croatia stated: “It is our deepest wish and hope that the deliberations in which we will be engaged at this conference will increase our appreciation of the privilege of being part of a growing community whose main goal is the spiritual and material transformation of society and of the bounty of being connected by bonds of love with brothers and sisters in a global effort. … [We hope] that this gathering will inspire us all to dedicate ourselves more fully to releasing the society-building powers inherent in the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.”
Pictured here is a group of participants at a conference held at the Bahá’í House of Worship in Norte del Cauca, Colombia. At the gathering, one participant stated: “We can have a better future by serving the current needs of our society but not forgetting the past and what we have learned. That’s how people can be motivated to give the best of themselves, and to understand that we can all do something regardless of where we come from, who we are, our ethnic group, and whether we are men or women. That we can collectively overcome the challenges of our society by striving to advance together day by day.”
Pictured here is a local conference in Cairns, Australia, where participants met over three days to discuss many themes related to the progress of their society and to explore the experience gained over the past decades in contributing to Bahá’í community-building activities.
Participants of all ages attended this local conference in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Shown here are two gatherings held in Tanzania.
This gathering in the Canary Islands, Spain, brought together young people who, at various times over the past several years, have participated in Bahá’í moral education initiatives as facilitators. One of the participated stated: “It’s inspiring to be part of a process that has assisted so many young people to gain greater focus in their lives, to become aware of what is most important—selfless service to humanity.”
Pictured here are several local gatherings held in Myanmar.
Over 200 participants attended the first conference in Fiji, seen in these images. Attendees arrived from Naitasiri, Rewa, and Tailevu.
Representatives of Bahá’í institutions in Fiji recently gathered to reflect on experience in community-building endeavors over the past decades and to discuss how they can intensify their efforts in the years ahead.
In the vicinity of the Bahá’í House of Worship in Battambang, Cambodia, representatives of various Bahá’í institutions and agencies gathered to discuss the upcoming conferences in that country.
Pictured here are a series of events in Azerbaijan attended by children, youth, and adults.
Seen here is a conference in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Pictured here is a local conference in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Seen here are participants of a recent conference held on the grounds of the Bahá’í House of Worship in Santiago, Chile, for three days to discuss the community-building efforts in their country.
Shown here are participants of a local gathering in Hawaii.
Pictured here are various gatherings held throughout Nepal.
Pictured here are breakout discussion groups of participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia at a conference in Croatia.
Seen here is a local conference in Taitung, Taiwan.
A conference in Nouméa, New Caledonia, brought together participants from diverse regions and featured traditional dance and singing.
Pictured here are different gatherings in Uganda.
Many children and youth participated in this conference in Punjab, Pakistan.
Pictured here are some of the local conferences that are taking place across the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Representatives of regional Bahá’í institutions gathered in southern Luzon, Philippines.
Shown here is a regional gathering in Visayas, Philippines, which brought together representatives of Bahá’í institutions in that region.
People from different localities in Narra, Philippines, gathered to prepare as facilitators for the upcoming series of conferences in that country.
Pictured here are several conferences recently held throughout India.
The Governor of Karnataka, Thaawarchand Gehlot, expressed his appreciation for the conferences held in his state, stating: “These gatherings are exploring the inherent oneness of humanity and a universal call to work for the betterment of the world.”
Here is a local gathering in Alexandria, Egypt. One of the participants said: “It was beautiful to witness youth with diverse backgrounds and experiences sitting together in one place to discuss how we can work together to achieve greater peace in our society. These conferences are helping many people to find a path to achieving this goal and to inspiring a new generation to build on previous generations’ contributions.”
Another participant said that these conferences are “paving the way for building a society that is characterized by unity in diversity.”
Seen here is a regional gathering in Spain.
Seen here is a conference in Baghdad, Iraq.
A conference titled “Family Festival” was held on the grounds of the Bahá’í House of Worship in Hofheim, Germany, which enabled participants to explore how families can work together to contribute to the welfare of their society.
Shown here is a local conference in Leipzig, Germany, the first of five in the eastern region of that country. In appreciation for the conference and the values it promotes, Michael Kretschmer, the Minister-President of the state of Saxony, wrote a letter to the gathering, stating: “Especially in times of dark experiences and bitter disappointments, it is often people of faith who first dare to set out, rely on their hope and hold on to peace. Through their attitude, they also become an encouragement for others who despair.”
In Papua New Guinea, the village of Malmal was home to the first conference in the Momase Region.
Pictured here are participants of a recent gathering held in Haiti.
At the national gathering in Cambodia, Sopheap Hou, a member of the Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly of that country stated that an anticipated outcome of the upcoming conferences is that “stronger bonds of friendship and unity will be formed, inspiring yet more people to dedicate their lives to the service of their society.”
Pictured here are two local gatherings that recently took place in Jordan, one in Al Bayader and another in Mafraq.
Seen here is a gathering in northern Madagascar with representatives of Bahá’í institutions in that region.
This conference in the Marshall Islands brought together participants of all ages to explore insights gained in Bahá’í community-building endeavors.
In a letter addressed to the conference, the country’s Minister of Education, Kitlang Kabua, expressed her appreciation for the Bahá’í community’s contributions to their society and their efforts toward the moral education of young people. She states: “Unity, human welfare, and world solidarity are the pillars of this faith. As the Minister of Education and, ultimately, member of our community, I stand by these pillars and strongly believe in cultivating our people to be competent and compassionate global citizens with a strong cultural and spiritual foundation. This is more important now than ever as we are residents of one of the most vulnerable countries at the fate of the climate crisis and other disasters, like this global COVID-19 pandemic.”
Nearly 300 participants from various localities in Tajikistan attended the first local conference in the city of Khujand.
In Mongolia, attendees at this conference gathered for two days in Murun, Khuvsgul, to consult about how they can better serve their society.
Pictured here are participants of a recent event in Caminos de Omar, Panama. The film Glimpses of a Hundred Years of Endeavor was screened at the gathering, providing the participants an opportunity to learn about a hundred years of endeavor and learning since the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in 1921, carried out by a burgeoning Bahá’í community. The film outlines the journey that has led to the global Bahá’í community’s current efforts to contribute to the emergence of a world organized around the principle of the oneness of humanity.
Seen here is the first in a series of local gatherings in Algeria, which was held in Oran.
Pictured here is a recent gathering of representatives of Bahá’í institutions in Indonesia.
Pictured here are representatives of Bahá’í institutions who gathered in Lae, Papua New Guinea, at a national gathering to discuss the series of upcoming conferences in that country.
Seen here is a national gathering in Ireland.
Pictured here are participants of a national gathering in Samoa.
Seen here are two recent local conferences held in Sri Lanka, one in Kekirawa and the other in Norwood.
In Stockholm, Sweden, the country’s Minister of Social Security and a delegation of officials participated in a gathering held in the National Bahá’í Center.
The conference in Khujand, Tajikistan, comprised smaller simultaneous gatherings for children, youth, and adults.
Seen here are mothers and grandmothers in Khujand, Tajikistan, at a gathering for facilitators of an upcoming local conference in May.
Seen here are local gatherings held in Turkey. At the conference held in Izmir (right), a resident, who had provided the space for the meeting, said: “We need more gatherings like this, where different beliefs and approaches are discussed. Here we are introduced to the unifying approach of the Bahá’í Faith. We are very happy to host such an event.”
Pictured here are participants of a gathering in the South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu.
Participants of this gathering in Madagascar particularly explored the constructive role that youth can play in contributing to social progress.
Seen here are children at a conference in the United Arab Emirates.
Pictured here is a gathering in Portugal.
Seen here is a local conference in Illawarra, Australia.