Global Conferences: Youth provide a hopeful outlook for the future
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”