Global Conferences: Grassroots gatherings imbue communities with sense of common purpose
BAHÁ’Í WORLD CENTRE — Friends, neighbors, and acquaintances in neighborhoods and villages throughout the world have been gathering together in homes and backyards, on porches and rooftops, and in many other diverse settings—large and small—to consult about how they can foster vibrant communities based on the Baháʼí Faith’s vision of a peaceful world.
These gatherings offer a welcoming and spiritual atmosphere, enabling nearby residents to form strong bonds of friendship imbued with a profound sense of purpose directed toward the betterment of their communities.
Youth have played an especially vital part in the gatherings, enriching discussions with their insights and experience from Baháʼí community-building activities. Their experience shows the possibilities for social transformation when people selflessly serve their fellow citizens.
The following is a sampling of the countless gatherings now underway in virtually every part of the globe.
Participants of a local conference stand in front of the Baháʼí House of Worship in Norte del Cauca, Colombia, for a group photo.
Participants at a local gathering in Seoul, South Korea, created cards featuring writings from the Baháʼí Faith in calligraphic style.
Seen here are participants in breakout groups at a conference in Ethiopia, one of many being held throughout that country.
Pictured here is a local gathering in Cali, Colombia. A video featuring more of the many gatherings occurring throughout that country can be viewed here.
This video, to be played as an opening to the conferences in Kazakhstan, features a Baháʼí prayer sung in Kazakh, as the singer traverses across various environments and terrains.
Seen here are participants at a gathering in Azerbaijan.
Pictured here are participants at a conference in Iceland.
Seen here are attendees of a gathering in Geneva, Switzerland.
Pictured here are participants at a conference in Macau.
Pictured here are participants receiving a traditional Māori welcome as they enter the first conference of the North Island of New Zealand, held in the city of Wellington.
Pictured here are participants at a gathering held in Guinea Bissau.
Attendees of a conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Pictured here are participants at a neighborhood conference in Drammen, Norway.
Youth in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, created this mosaic artwork inspired by the series of conferences in that country. The mosaic reads, “The best way to thank God is to love one another.”
Participants across all generations attended this conference in Hamburg, Germany.
Pictured here is a gathering held in Yang Kaew, Thailand, which was attended by the village head. The gathering featured a workshop for children and youth on social action initiatives of the Baháʼí community, including agricultural projects.
The village head stated: “This conference has helped to make our village a better place. We have come together as one to work for the betterment of the community and to help the children, who are the future, to learn about love and unity. I would like to see more gatherings like this where everyone is helping each other.”
People throughout South East England attended a conference in Surrey, United Kingdom.
Attendees at a gathering in Kuwait participated in discussions, collaborative activities, and various art projects that focussed on fostering peaceful communities.
Seen here are children, youth, and adults at a conference in Peñalolen, Chile.
Seen here are friends and neighbors of all ages at a gathering held in a home in San Diego, United States, as part of the series of conferences being held in that city.
This video, being shown at conferences in Austria, features interviews and footage on community building efforts currently underway in Vienna.
Pictured here are conferences throughout Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the capital city of Kinshasa and the South Kivu region. The gathering in Ngovi, South Kivu, brought together some 6,000 people.
Pictured here are representatives of Baháʼí institutions at a gathering in Hungary
Seen here are participants at a conference in Gabon.
Pictured here is a collaborative art project created at a conference in Hofheim, Germany
Seen here are participants from various local gatherings in the United States.
The musicians in the bottom-left photo are singing a prayer set to music, which can be heard here.
In Bali, Indonesia, participants gathered for three days to discuss conference themes, which included educational endeavors that aim to build capacity for service.
Participants at a gathering in France.
Participants at a gathering in Colon, El Salvador, created a collaborative paper mosaic artwork featuring the Seat of the Universal House of Justice at the Baháʼí World Centre.
Seen here is a video featuring children in the city of Palo Alto in California, United States, speaking about their hope for the future and inviting all people to participate in upcoming conferences.
Pictured here is a gathering in Kolmon, Chad, which included a traditional chief among its participants.
Attendees at a conference in Katana, Sri Lanka—the first in a series of conferences to be held in that region—viewing an artistic performance.
Participants a gathering in Kiribati seen here gathered to discuss service to society.
Pictured here are representatives of Baháʼí institutions at a gathering in São Paulo, Brazil.
Pictured here are children and youth at a gathering in Pakistan.
Participants at a conference in the United States decorated rocks with words of hope and floral designs inspired by the Baháʼí writings.
Pictured here are participants at a gathering in the region of Gatope, New Caledonia. At the conference, youth spoke about their experiences in serving as teachers of children’s moral education classes and how these activities are contributing to building capacity in the next generation to serve their society.
Pictured here are representatives of Baháʼí institutions at a gathering in Mogi Mirim, Brazil.
Here is a video invitation to conferences in Girona, Spain.
Shown here are participants at a conference in the village of San Javier in Misiones, Argentina, performing chacarera, a traditional dance from that region.
This gathering, which was held in Johannesburg, brought together people from across South Africa to prepare them for facilitating upcoming conferences.
Pictured here are participants at the first conference in Tuvalu, held in the capital city of Funafuti. Youth played a key role in the three day gathering, which brought together some 200 people.
Seen here is a video featuring footage from a conference in the town of Milton Keynes in the United Kingdom. Participants are seen engaged in collaborative art projects, discussions, and prayer.
One of the participants at the gathering, which brought together people of diverse faiths, commented on the significance of the conference, saying: “The world needs greater collaboration between people of different faiths, and people of no faiths, so that we can work together to try try to solve common problems.”
Seen here are participants at local conferences in Bihar and Delhi, India. The middle image shows participants performing a traditional dance.
Youth from Brampton in Ontario, Canada, made this video about the history and aims of the Baháʼí community building activities in the area.
Seen here are representatives of Baháʼí institutions at a gathering in Gaborone, Botswana.
Pictured here is a conference in Banyuwangi, Indonesia.
Pictured here are participants at a conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Music was a prominent feature of the three day gathering, which brought together some 250 people.
Pictured here is the first conference in the southern region of Chile, held in the city of Labranza.
Children, youth, and adults at a gathering in the La Guajira region of Venezuela.
Pictured here is an art piece on an invitation for a conference in the Aegean region of Turkey.
Pictured here are participants at a gathering in Omkoi, Thailand. The conference was held at a dormitory opened by the local Baháʼí community almost 40 years ago, which makes attendance at a local public school possible for children residing in some extremely remote areas of that region.
An invitation video was produced for a conference in the city of Hamilton, Canada.
Pictured here is a gathering in Limbe Camp, Cameroon.
Seen here are participants at a conference in Colima, Mexico.
In Peru, representatives from Baháʼí institutions gathered to pray and consult about upcoming local conferences. The gathering also featured traditional dance.
Youth at a conference held in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Seen here is a conference in Chimgan, Uzbekistan. This conference focused on exploring how families can work together to serve the needs of their fellow citizens.
Seen here are participants at a conference in Armenia.
Seen here are participants at a local gathering in the Centro Dos community in the North Luzon region of the Philippines.
Pictured here are participants at a conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh.