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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, to
let us fish things out of our bags and... get dressed. (?)

Sahba T. spent most of the trip playing
with her newly acquired Sony CLIÉ.

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 quibbling consultation, 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.

Hey ladies!
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 and Reza.

Erfan and Reza, chillin'.

Sheldon and Jacintha, chillin'.

Camelia and Mona, posin'.

Ruhi partners!
(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)

Montreal represent!

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.

Bird's-eye view

Official Photographer Navid

Stylin', profilin'.

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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graphic design, photos and text 2004 dan jones