Why are we Having a Bahá’í Youth Conference in Barbados?

From the panorama of the Bahá’í world engaged in earnest activity, one phenomenon strikes us specially: the decisive contribution made by youth on every continent. In this phenomenon we see the vindication of the hopes the beloved Guardian invested in them "for the future progress and expansion of the Cause" and of the confidence with which he laid upon their shoulders "all the responsibility for the upkeep of the spirit of selfless service among their fellow-believers". ..Indeed, in contemplating both the Bahá’í youth and their like-minded peers, we cannot but rejoice at their eagerness to take on a measure of responsibility to aid the spiritual and social development of those around them, especially ones younger than themselves. “… Examples appear every day of how the act of reaching out to touch individual hearts, acquainting souls with the Word of God, and inviting them to contribute to the betterment of society can, in time, tend to the advancement of a people.”

“…To spur on this mighty enterprise and to summon today's youth to fully assume the responsibilities they must discharge in this fast-contracting interval,” is why the Universal House of Justice has called for the Conference.


Where will the Conference be Held?

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Barbados has been requested by the Universal House of Justice to host one of the two Caribbean Conferences, on its behalf, and to make all of the necessary arrangements to ensure its success!


Is this Conference the Only One Being Held?

No! On 8 February 2013 the Universal House of Justice announced to the Bahá’í world “the convocation of 95 youth conferences, between July and October, planned for locations that span the globe”. And because of the overwhelming response, on 1 May 2013, the Universal House of Justice announced that an additional 19 conferences will now be convened, one of which will be in Georgetown, Guyana.


When is the Barbados Conference?

The Conference to be hosted in Barbados will run for three full days from Friday, 12 July until Sunday, 14 July 2013.


When Should Participants Plan to Arrive and Depart?

All persons invited to attend the Barbados Conference should make travel plans to arrive in Barbados on Thursday, 11 July and to depart on Monday, 15 July.


Which Countries will be Represented at the Barbados Conference?

The youth attending the Barbados Conference will come from 11 national communities from across the Caribbean – The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands, Martinique, St. Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Virgin Islands.


Who will be Representing the Universal House of Justice at the Barbados Conference?

We are happy to inform you that members of the Continental Board of Counsellors in the Americas Mr. Ganesh Ramsahai and Dr. Holly Woodard will be present at this special occasion as representatives of the House of Justice.”


Who is Eligible to Attend the Barbados Conference?

“[T]he age of attendees is essentially expected to range from 15 to 30, although some flexibility may be warranted. It is the ardent hope of the [Universal] House of Justice that as many of these Bahá’í youth as possible will participate in the conferences, together with youth from the wider society who are close to the Faith or interested in engaging in its community-building activities.”


Can Only Youth Attend?

“In addition to the youth themselves, members of institutions and agencies, such as Auxiliary Board members and institute coordinators, who are closely involved in accompanying young people in their efforts to promote the progress of the Five Year Plan should be invited. Further, invitations should be extended to resource persons associated with sites for the dissemination of learning about the junior youth programme.” However, “it will be important to ensure that the engagement of youth is in no way diminished or overshadowed” by the number of adults attending.


How will the Selection Process be Made?

Attendance from each country should be determined [by the National Spiritual Assemblies/Administrative Committees] in consultation with the Counsellors, who are in communication with the International Teaching Centre, which has been requested to oversee the process of organizing the conferences.”


How Does One Register?

Youth and other persons meeting the above criteria must contact the National Spiritual Assembly or Administrative Committee of their country, as all arrangements for attendance will be done by these national administrative bodies in collaboration with the Counsellors and Auxiliary Board Members. For your ease of reference please refer to the list below to find the email contact for each national community and to obtain more information on obtaining registration forms etc.


How will Participant Costs be Covered?

Each participant invited to attend the Conference will be expected to make every effort to cover the costs of his/her own air travel, accommodations and meals. It is recognized that there may be specific instances where some financial assistance may be required and, in such cases, individuals should consult with their respective National Spiritual Assembly or Administrative Committee. They, in turn, can then determine the level of assistance that their administrative bodies, the Local Spiritual Assemblies and the communities can contribute. “Creative measures, developed in collaboration with the Counsellors, will be required to… ensure, to the extent possible, that all are lovingly encouraged and enabled to attend.” So start saving and fund raising now!