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South America Baha'i meetups and gatherings in South America


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Old 02-10-2013, 01:15 PM   #1
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Youth Conferences

Well, the big news has been all over Facebook the past 2 days, so let's make some threads here to discuss who will be attending the upcoming 95 youth conferences!

The conferences for South America are:

Brasília, Brazil
Cali, Colombia
Canoas, Brazil
Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
Cochabamba, Bolivia
Lima, Peru
Otavalo, Ecuador
Santiago, Chile
 
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:20 AM   #2
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Cali Youth Conference
Colombia | 5-7 July 2013

More than 400 youth from the Central and Pacific regions in Colombia gathered in a school located on the outskirts of Cali to participate in the first of the youth conferences held in South America, and one of the first in the world. At the start of the conference, Mr. Daniel Duhart––a Continental Counsellor who represented the Universal House of Justice at the event along with Counsellor Carmen Elisa de Sadeghian––conveyed to the participants the love of the House of Justice for the youth and shared the hope that the discussions during the conference could generate actions aimed at improving the condition of the world.

Participants came from diverse backgrounds and with varying levels of experience, from the densely populated capital city to remote rural villages, travelling in groups or as individuals. The conference allowed each of them to build a common understanding of the characteristics that distinguish their age group and how the choices they make can contribute to constructive change in their communities. As they consulted on these themes and others, the energy and enthusiasm of those present increased.

Cali, Colombia Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service

Last edited by slkrr; 10-03-2013 at 05:30 AM.
 
Old 10-03-2013, 05:22 AM   #3
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Santiago Youth Conference
Chile | 12-14 July 2013

The cold auditorium of a public technical school in Santiago, Chile, was warmed for three consecutive days by the energy and spirits of some 500 youth from Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Some had travelled by plane, as border crossings over the mountains during the winter time are unreliable; others had travelled by land for almost three days, crossing the snow-capped Andes and picking up friends along the way. All had one thing in common: they were joyful, excited, and eager to discuss with their peers the true meaning and potential of the period of youth.

The day before the conference began, those present visited the site where the future House of Worship in Chile is being built––a tangible symbol of the connection between the spiritual and social aspects of life. Inspired by this experience, the youth discussed during the conference sessions how they could make a positive contribution to every space in which they interact with others, such as within the family, with friends, in school, and at work. A youth from Uruguay explained that “being engaged in studies or work does not mean that one cannot participate or contribute to the betterment of society.” Another one shared that “we have to live a life of service to others.”

Santiago, Chile Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service

Last edited by slkrr; 10-03-2013 at 05:30 AM.
 
Old 10-03-2013, 05:24 AM   #4
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Brasília Youth Conference
Brazil | 19-21 July 2013

After months of preparation, the expectations of the organizers of the youth conference in Brasília were pleasantly exceeded when nearly 800 youth from the Central-West, North, Northeast and Southeast regions of Brazil arrived at the venue, a conference centre surrounded by lush greenery.

The spirit of collaboration that characterized preparations for the conference was demonstrated by one group from a neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro. Some of their youth were not able to afford the cost of travel, but others in the community helped to raise money by selling crafted purses, organizing movie screenings, and celebrating Festa Junina, a Brazilian folk festival.

Although groups had travelled together for long distances, a feeling of great excitement filled the air as buses rolled in one after another. One young woman described the happiness of the trip: “We drove here singing, and even the drivers joined us.” For many of the youth, this was the first gathering of this magnitude they had ever participated in. One young man said how he decided to attend the conference as soon as his friends explained its purpose: "When they spoke to me about fostering social transformation through spiritual concepts, I was very motivated to participate. I want to contribute to building a more just society."

Brasília, Brazil Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service

Last edited by slkrr; 10-03-2013 at 05:29 AM.
 
Old 10-03-2013, 05:25 AM   #5
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Otavalo Youth Conference
Ecuador | 19-21 July 2013

The town of Otavalo, in northern Ecuador, is flanked by ecological reserves and wedged between several Andean peaks reaching nearly 5,000 metres high. This hillside community, encircled by breathtaking natural beauty, welcomed a gathering of over 450 young people coming together from across Ecuador to discuss the characteristics of the period of youth, the meaning of true friendship, and the contributions that all can make to the destiny of their communities.

Participants came from coastal cities like Manta, in the west; from highland towns like Cuenca, in the south; from large urban centres like Quito, in the north; and from Kichwa-speaking communities like Otavalo itself. An opening devotional programme that included uplifting songs set the stage for a rarefied atmosphere at once consecrated and joyful. Later, a group of youth from Otavalo welcomed the conference participants with a traditional dance.

Otavalo, Ecuador Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service

Last edited by slkrr; 10-03-2013 at 05:29 AM.
 
Old 10-03-2013, 05:27 AM   #6
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Canoas Youth Conference
Brazil | 26-28 July 2013

Winter in Brazil can be harsh, but for the over 400 participants of the youth conference in Canoas, the spirit of love and unity was exhilarating, as they gathered for three days of consultation, study and reflection on the ways in which they, as youth, could shoulder the responsibility of contributing to the wellbeing of their communities.

Preparations for the youth conference in Canoas, Brazil, began months earlier for many of the participants. Their efforts to work together to ensure the means were available to all who wished to attend demonstrated what can be accomplished when friends collaborate in an environment of mutual support and encouragement—a theme they would study in workshops at the conference.

In one community, a group of youth hosted a coffee house to raise funds to cover the cost of attending the gathering. One of the youth commented, “It was nice to see that we can do things together. We feel closer to each other and to our community because everyone helped.”

Canoas, Brazil Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service
 
Old 10-03-2013, 05:28 AM   #7
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Cochabamba Youth Conference
Bolivia | 2-4 August 2013

The Andes mountain range stretches for about 7,000 kilometres through seven countries in the South American continent. Midway through the range is Bolivia, a multi-ethnic country of ten million people and 34 official languages. In the centre of Bolivia there exists a valley, and it is in this valley that Cochabamba is located. At the western edge of Cochabamba, in a peaceful retreat centre, over 380 young people from across Bolivia gathered together in a spirit of joy and fellowship from 2 to 4 August to consider the contribution that they can, and must, make to the fortunes of humanity.

“I sense a great spirit of service here,” said one participant from La Guardia, a small town just outside the large urban centre of Santa Cruz. “We are anxious to advance our understanding and increase our motivation,” he added, “so that we can return home and serve our communities in a more systematic way.” They had come from nearly all the regions of Bolivia—Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro, Potosí, Santa Cruz, and Tarija—and over half were from the Quechua and Aymara indigenous communities of the high Andean plateaus and valleys.

Cochabamba, Bolivia Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service
 
Old 10-03-2013, 05:31 AM   #8
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Lima Youth Conference
Peru | 2-4 August 2013

In the rising foothills of the Andes, the rushing waters of the Rímac River wind their way down steep mountain slopes before emptying themselves into the Pacific Ocean. The Rímac, which means “talking” in the Quechuan language, is nicknamed El Río Hablador, “The River That Speaks”, for the sound that, according to Incan lore, would be made when swelling winter rains dislodged glacial boulders.

The waterway’s lush banks were a fitting setting, then, for a conversation about releasing the powers of young people—one distinguished by the depth of understanding achieved and the bonds of friendship established, as youth shared their insights on how to express high ideals in a pattern of unified action that would help their communities advance.

Encouraging words were shared by members of the institutions that awakened the energies of the many friends eager to contribute to the well-being of all. “This is part of a process that is already in motion. Before you came, you were already working in your neighbourhoods, clusters, and regions. We are here to consult on how to continue that process,” Continental Counsellor Carmen Elisa de Sadeghian, a representative of the Universal House of Justice at the conference, said to the 300 youth assembled.

Lima, Peru Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service
 
Old 10-03-2013, 05:33 AM   #9
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Georgetown Youth Conference
Guyana | 16-18 August 2013

The conference opened with an exhilarating devotional period prepared by ten Saramaka youth from French Guiana. The sound of drums, maracas, and claps filled the air as other participants from Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago joyfully sang along. The energetic youth on stage had journeyed for two days to arrive at the conference, but they were not the only ones. Many of those who joined them in their chants had travelled on flooded roads and rough terrains through the rainforest in order to reach the much anticipated conference. The time had finally come for more than 300 youth to gather in the auditorium of the School of the Nations in Georgetown, Guyana, on the east bank of the Demerara River, to discuss how they could direct their talents and abilities toward assisting their families, neighbours, and co-workers to build united communities.

When discussing in her group the role of the younger generations in society and analyzing the high purpose that shapes the individual and collective actions of youth, one of the participants from Trinidad explained that she had often been anxious to share her ideas about service to the community with her friends, for fear of what they might think if she chose to live a life with a different set of values. During the conference she realized that, like her, many other youth in her country are looking for ways to contribute to the betterment of their communities. She said: “We need to go out there and share our experiences with other youth, so that they too can be aware of the importance of this period and the need to walk on a path of service.” Another youth from Guyana said: “When I helped someone, I usually thought about how I could benefit. If I couldn’t get something in return, I wouldn’t help.” She then went on to explain how the study of conference material had assisted her to change the way she sees her role in the community and to gain a better understanding of why selfless service is an integral part of the life of any youth who wishes to contribute to the betterment of his or her environment.

Georgetown, Guyana Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service
 
Old 10-11-2013, 12:21 PM   #10
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Cartagena de Indias Youth Conference
Colombia | 5-7 October 2013

“What we have learned here should not just stay with us. It needs to be shared with other youth so they can also put it into practice,” said one young participant at the youth conference in Cartagena de Indias, reflecting the importance of engaging many more in the process of community building well under way in their neighbourhoods and villages.

Cartagena, one of the largest and most historic cities in Colombia, is built on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. It was there, from 5 to 7 October, that more than 700 young people from Venezuela and the Caribbean coast of Colombia gathered to explore how they could contribute to creating a better world.

Participants had been preparing for months to attend the conference in Cartagena, the last of the gatherings in the Americas. Some youth visited friends and studied the 8 February 2013 message of the Universal House of Justice and, in doing so, reflected on the role of young people in contributing to the advancement of civilization. Others raised funds to attend the conference by making and selling lunches and Colombian sweets in their community. Youth from Capuré, in the Amazon region of eastern Venezuela, travelled down the Orinoco River by boat, followed by a 17-hour bus trip to the city of Barquisimeto in central-west Venezuela before continuing on to Cartagena. Their entire trip took three days.

Cartagena de Indias, Colombia Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service
 
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