Global conferences: Fostering a culture of peace, contributing to social betterment
BAHÁ’Í WORLD CENTRE — A rising wave of conferences is sweeping across the globe, bringing together the well-wishers of humanity to consult about how they can channel their energies and desire to promote unity and serve their fellow citizens into addressing the needs of their societies.
Gatherings at the local, national, and international levels are enabling participants to gain insights from experiences in Bahá’í community-building activities, initiatives undertaken for social action, and efforts to contribute to prevalent discourses.
In some places, conferences have an overarching theme, such as the recent gathering in Bangui, Central African Republic, in which some 500 women from the surrounding area gathered to explore the role of women in social progress.
“The full participation of women in these gatherings is essential, because women are instrumental in fostering a culture of peace,” says Louis Isidore Tenzonko-Boazamo, a member of that country’s Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly. “This is why our very first in this series of conferences explored this theme.”
Conscious of the global challenges facing humanity—be it climate change, the pandemic, war and conflict, or widespread injustices—participants are finding a renewed sense of hope in humanity’s capacity for altruism, and they are feeling connected by bonds of love and fellowship with others in a global effort aimed at social betterment.
The images below provide a glimpse of the wider picture of the gatherings, which are gaining in momentum with each passing week.
This gathering in Argentina brought together members of Bahá’í institutions and agencies from across that country to prepare for the upcoming conferences.
This painting from Australia depicts the growing numbers of people who will, inspired by the conferences in that country, assist one another in their efforts to serve society.
The Bahá’ís of Australia have launched a website (left) to invite their fellow citizens to upcoming conferences. Seen on the right is a website created by the Bahá’ís of Perth.
Some 1,000 people of all ages from Western Australia came together for a conference in Perth.
Pictured here are some of the many children and youth who participated at the conference in Perth, Australia.
The conference in Perth, Australia, featured many artistic presentations that gave expression to the themes of the gathering—peace, the essential oneness of humanity, and selfless service to society, among others.
The Bahá’í community of Bahrain has prepared a video inviting their fellow citizens to the conferences that will be held in that country over the coming months. The video presents some of the aspects of community-building efforts in Bahrain, concluding with the words: “All are welcome to join us.”
Conferences have already been held in several places in Bahrain, including Al Malkiyah, Diyar Al Muharraq, and Saar, focusing on the theme of “Advancement and prosperity of society.” Upcoming gatherings will also explore the topics of coexistence and building a peaceful world.
Seen here is a group of people in Bangladesh at a three-day gathering aimed at preparing people to facilitate discussions at the upcoming conferences in Bangladesh. This was the first of many such gatherings to take place, in anticipation of the 42 conferences that will be held over the coming weeks and months, which will welcome thousands of people to consult about how they can serve their society.
Pictured here are conference planning meetings in various localities in Bangladesh, attended by members of local Bahá’í institutions and residents.
In Rajshahi, Bangladesh, members of the city’s Bahá’í Local Spiritual Assembly visited the mayor (right) to extend an invitation to a local conference. Participants at the conferences will examine the role of individuals, communities, and institutions in building a spiritually and materially prosperous society.
The members of the Local Bahá’í Spiritual Assembly of Gawazi, Burundi (left), were among the attendees of a recent gathering in that country.
Seen here is a gathering in Toronto, Canada, which brought together participants from northern Canada and the country’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
Pictured here is a gathering that was held in Richmond, Canada.
Seen here is a conference in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR), which was focused on the role of women in fostering a peaceful society. The conference was attended by some 500 women from the surrounding region and was the first of 140 conferences that will be held in that country.
“For humanity to truly become united, women’s voices must ring out promoting peace and the equality of women and men. This is why we invited many women to this conference, so that we can work together toward this aim,” said Laurentine Senzengo, a participant of the conference.
The conference received coverage in the national media in the Central African Republic. This video is an extract from a national television report.
Pictured here are members of Bahá’í institutions at a gathering in Brazzaville, the Congo Republic.
An invitation prepared by the Croatian Bahá’í community for a conference to be held in their country, which also welcomes attendees from neighboring countries.
An invitation card made by the Bahá’ís of the Czech Republic.
Seen here are several different gatherings that have been held throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo in recent weeks among members of local, regional, and national Bahá’í institutions to prepare for the many conferences that will be held in that country over the coming months.
“Each of us are returning home with immense joy and determination to make an even greater contribution to the progress of our country through community-building efforts, activities for social action, and by contributing to the discourses of our society,” says Bashilwango Mbaleeko, Secretary of the Regional Bahá’í Council of South Kivu.
Pictured here are other gatherings that have been held in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Young people have played an important role in the planning and preparation of these gatherings.
This video provides glimpses of a gathering in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A gathering in Ecuador, pictured here, brought together over 200 representatives of Bahá’í institutions from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay.
“Even though we are all from very different societies, we’re united in our vision of building a peaceful world,” says Raul Gómez, member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Peru. He adds: “The experiences shared by everyone during these days clearly show that, despite the challenges facing our societies, a new culture marked by unity is emerging in places where community-building activities are under way.”
The Egyptian Bahá’í community held several conferences in neighborhoods across the country, bringing together groups of people from diverse backgrounds to consult about how they can work toward the betterment of their society. Seen here are gatherings in Batanoon, Cairo, Giza, and Al-Sharqiyyah.
Attendees in these gatherings were especially touched to hear about how Bahá’í educational programs are inspiring in children and youth a desire to serve humanity.
Orignally published on the Baha'i World News Service