From the 13th to the 16th of July, 19 youth delegates from around the world, with experience in grassroots social action, gathered in the picturesque town of Kaub, Germany to attend the Interreligious Youth Pre-forum (IYF). Over the course of six days, participants representing 18 different countries and six of the world’s major religions, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and the Baha’i Faith, consulted about faith expressed in social action and how collaboration between faith groups can further the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
“Paralyzed and devastated” were the two emotions most keenly felt by Sasha Eskandarian, member of the Baha’i Faith and resident of Mississauga, upon learning that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have resumed their demolition of a historic Baha’i cemetery in her home town of Shiraz, Iran. “All my relatives are from Shiraz, both of my parents and close friends. All of my deceased relatives and even my younger brother, who died before I was born, are buried there.”
Hundreds of youth gathered from 25 to 27 July in Montréal and Calgary to participate in two of the ten regional youth conferences to be held in Canada this summer, convened by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada, their national governing council.
Siegfried (Fred) Schopflocher was born in Germany in 1877. He was brought up in an orthodox Jewish family but, after leaving school, became attracted to agnosticism and searched for a more universal expression of religion. Years later, after having permanently established himself in business in Canada, Mr. Schopflocher heard of the Baha’i Faith and, shortly thereafter, became a Baha’i.
Over the weekend of 11–13 July, the Bahá’í communities of Halifax, Saskatoon and Victoria hosted youth conferences to welcome more youth into a process that provides people of all ages with the opportunity to contribute to constructive social change and to build their capacity to serve their communities.
On July 9, members of the Baha’i Faith along with their friends and families commemorated the anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Bab. As one of the two founders of the Baha’i Faith, the events of the Bab’s life, whose name means “the Gate” in Arabic, are of special significance to Baha’is.
Angus Cowan played a pivotal role in introducing the Baha’i Faith to Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. He shared the teachings of Baha’u’llah while traveling in Western Canada, and later served as a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors for the Americas, an advisory board that assists national communities in their development.
Angus Cowan was born on 12 September 1914 in Bishopton, Quebec. He attended high school in Knowlton, and then studied at McGill University’s Macdonald Campus in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.
A series of 14 videos describing what participants learned at three youth conferences held last summer in Canada has been posted on the Building Community website.
One hundred and fourteen such conferences were called worldwide by the Universal House of Justice, the world governing body of the Baha'i community. Three of them were held in Canada: Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver.