Youth in Canada gathered in the 2014 summer for 10 regional conferences called by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahai’s of Canada. These conferences were created as a follow up to the 114 conferences called by the Universal House of Justice all over the world during the summer of 2013. Such conferences welcomed youth into a process that provides people of all ages with the opportunity to contribute to a constructive social change and to build capacity to serve their communities.
One of these 10 regional conferences was located at the SFU Burnaby campus where youth from all over Vancouver and mainland British Columbia gathered from August 8th to the 10th. An atmosphere of love, unity and joy hosted consultation on how youth could contribute more devotedly to the needs of their communities. The aim of the conference was to increase the capacity of the youth to work together for the betterment of society and to advance their understanding of concepts involved in service.
All across Canada, individuals are engaged in different activities that help develop the spiritual, social and intellectual aspects of their communities. These activities include meetings that strengthen the devotional character of the community, classes teach values to children, groups that assist junior youth to navigate through a crucial stage of their lives, and study circles that foster the understanding and applications of the Baha’i teachings to their individual and collective life.Each morning, an uplifting devotional program which included some writings from the bahai faith as well as some songs lead to a day full of study, planning and consultation. Over the course of 3 days, groups of youth made solid plans to start or expand different activities that help a community building process.
(To know more about the process of building community in Canada, please enter to: http://www.building-community.ca/ )
Some key topics studied at the youth conference in Vancouver included “the power of youth to serve humanity”, “mutual support and accompaniment”, “the need of society to advance both spiritually and materially” amongst others. At the end of each block of study the participants were encouraged to express in an artistic form what they had learned.
The sessions were full of laughter, reflection and moments in which participants shared their personal experiences and thoughts. The sound of drums, guitars, singing and laughter filled the halls during meals and breaks. Throughout the conference youth reflected on the idea that this is the time for them toa act and prepare themselves for a life of a meaningful service.
With this in mind, they were eager to go back to their localities to share what they had learned at the conference and put their plans into practice.
The Universal House of Justice, the international governing council of the Baha’i community mentions:
“To every generation of young believers comes an opportunity to make a contribution to the fortunes of humanity, unique to their time of life. For the present generation, the moment has come to reflect, to commit, to steel themselves for a life of service from which blessings will flow in abundance”
Here are some of the pictures taken by Kayvon Motamed (official photographer) at the conference: