Unravel The Mysteries Young
27 - 29 May, 2005
Friday - Saturday
One - Saturday Two - Sunday
One - Sunday Two
Day 1: Friday, 27 May, 2005
So, after many months of hype and publicity, the
time had finally come to make our way down to the Unravel
the Mysteries Young Adult Forum, 2005 edition. Like several
of my friends, it was my first time attending, so I didn't
quite know what to expect. I hadn't been to a big youth conference
in Ontario since the Kingston Youth Forum in 1999 - or was
it 2000? Nevertheless, I took a rainy Friday off work, packed
my bags, and packed myself into a car with an intrepid band
of fellow conference-goers. Off to Mississauga!
Vargha allowed us many stops along the way,
let us fish things out of our bags and... get dressed. (?)
Sahba T. spent most of the trip playing
with her newly acquired Sony
I told them to look bored.
This was the best they could do!
Raheleh couldn't hide her excitement.
The trip down to Toronto was a little over five
hours. Before leaving the city, we said a prayer for a safe
voyage -- very nice. Since everyone in the car (except me)
was Persian, I asked everyone to teach me some Persian vocabulary.
No, not the bad words.
Somewhere in Toronto, on Highway 401.
Vargha: "Look ma, no hands!"
(Bet you didn't know he lived
life on the edge like that.)
Finally, after some brief
we made our way to Highway 403 and found the exit to Hurontario
St., where we quickly spied our destination.
Welcome to the Novotel Mississauga!
There wasn't much parking up front,
so we opted for the parking garage.
Unloading Vargha's Honda Civic.
The inimitable duo of Martin B. and Kamran S.
came back from shopping just as we arrived.
Part of the jubilant Ottawa (/Kingston) gang.
There was little time to waste once people checked
into their rooms. The program had already started, with a
devotional program and addresses from members of various Baha'i
institutions: the Spiritual Assembly of Mississauga, the Ontario
Baha'i Council, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is
of Canada, and Continental Counsellor Rebequa Murphy.
Counsellor Rebequa Murphy takes the stage.
Payam Pakravan's engaging presentation on
"Spiritual Forces and Social Transformation".
(click to enlarge)
After the talk, there was a hefty period of socializing
as long-lost friends greeted each other, and new friends networked
and got to know one another. I didn't take a whole lot of
pics here (don't worry, they're coming after). We all ended
up in bed at around 2:30 AM (I think).
Day 2: Saturday, 28 May, 2005
The view outside our window, Saturday morning.
The aftermath (one guess as to who this is)
Saturday morning began with a calm, meditative,
and unique devotional program using music and visual arts,
and continued with a super uber awesome presentation on Mysticism
by Ashkan Monfared. He drew from the Seven Valleys and described
(in more or less detail) the stages a soul goes through in
its journey towards God. Afterwards, several friends and I
were treated to an excellent workshop by Hoda Ghadirian on
"Growth through Suffering".
This was painted during the devotional program,
a little bit like a buddhist mandala. they sold it
for the Baha'i Fund at the end.
(click to enlarge)
A mystical experience!
Hoda busts out a phat quote from C.S. Lewis.
Hoda's talk was quite illuminating. I think it runs in the family.
She related her experience of suffering to the writings of
the Faith, and to her work with the Authenticity Project.
All in all her presentation carried a lot of insight into
how and why we suffer, and what we can learn from it.
...and then, more socializing (of course)!!!
A gang of
heyvoons Ottawa youth walked
over to the
food court at Square One for lunch. (Square One is
basically Mississauga's main shopping centre).
No pictures, please.
Jamal and Misagh. They're money.
Jacintha and Sahba. They're also money.
Jacintha is Jamal's sister.
After lunch, it was back to the hotel for another
workshop, this time given by Tahirih Naylor - recently transplanted
from Stratford(?) to Ottawa, to the delight of all of us.
Tahirih's talk, "A Spiritual Impetus to Global Forces",
touched on her experience working with the external affairs
branch of the Canadian Baha'i community that deals with government,
as well as giving an overview of Baha'i collaboration with
the various institutions of civil society.
The one and only Tahirih Naylor.
...aaaaand then there was more socializing.
Samuel (of samnsham.com) and Reza.
Erfan and Reza, chillin'.
Sheldon and Jacintha, chillin'.
Camelia and Mona, posin'.
(Mona and I were part of an intensive
institute campaign in MTL back in 2002-03,
while I was pioneering in Victoriaville.)
Dorothy, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man.
...and Phil as the Cowardly Lion
(except he's not cowardly... he's a
valiant soldier in the army of light)
ahhhhh... comfy blue chairs.
Nima of Baie d'Urfé, shooting the breeze.
This is an E picture (sorry Phil)
Arash is actually jubilant in this picture.
He's not faking that smile.
Official Photographer Navid
What's that ring of Ottawa people doing there
in the back? Trying to decide which restaurant
to go to for dinner, that's what.
Nogen and Shahab from Montreal,
having a grand old time.
(move mouse over image)
(Peggah and I were on the 3CJ together one year -
that's the Québec Youth Conference Committee.)
Montréal crew, together again.
(click to enlarge)
Next Page: Dinnertime...
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