I wrote a report on the “Friends of Iranian Culture” conference in Persian at the beginning of September which was posted on Iranian.com. Some friends asked me to translate it into English, so non-Persian speakers are able to read it. Here it is in English:
I attended this year’s the “Friends of Iranian Culture” conference sponsored by Iranian Bahais. It is held annually in Schaumberg, a suburb of Chicago, from September 1st through the 4th. The participants in this conference from very beginning made me feel at home and among my compassionate Iranians, the feeling that I had never felt before since my departure of Iran 30 years ago. About 3,400 Iranians from all over the world participated in the conference, from Australia to Canada; New Zealand to various states of the U.S.A. The participants, of course, were primarily Bahais but among them were people of different religious backgrounds like me and many others (about two hundred altogether). Famous and renowned speakers such as Shahrnoush Parsipour, Dr. Shapour Rasekh, Dr. Abdol Karim Lahidji and Mehrangiz Kar were just a few names among others. There were other skilled and intelligent speakers that added value to this gathering. The theme of this year’s conference was “civil justice.”
Despite rumors that Bahais are not patriotic, that the Bahai faith is a religion created by foreigners, love for Iran and all that is Iranian such as culture, music, literature and language were felt in the air and permeated every individual who attended the conference.
Organizers of the conference had thought about every detail. They had programs for kids, youths, and families. There were also talent shows, sessions for reciting poetry, Persian music, and Iranian dancing. The language of the conference was Persian. What really amazed and pleasantly surprised me was the proficiency of young Iranian Bahais in Persian language and culture. There were young Iranian speakers who graduated from Ivy League universities like Harvard, Yale, and Columbia with a mastery of the Persian language as well as the unique ability to give speeches in Persian as well.
Another important and remarkable point was the order, good behavior, pacifism, and agreeable attitudes of the participants. All meetings started at 9:00 am and continued until 12:00 pm. What I have mentioned here are not only my personal impressions; other non-Bahai speakers alluded to these aspects in their speeches as well.
By attending this conference, besides what I had already known and studied about Bahai faith, the faith that not only at the time of its inception was advanced and progressive but, still carries the same value, I leaned a few more important points. Those are:
1 – Globalization of the human race and equality of all people so they
may live in peace and harmony with each other.
2 – If a religion causes separation, disunion, and fraction, one should
leave that religion immediately.
3 – The prophet of this religion predicted a bright and distinguished
future for Iran and Iranians which I hope and pray becomes a
In short, this was the first time in my life that I felt proud of being an Iranian, not because of the glory of ancient Iran but rather the witnessing of present-day Iranians that I met in this conference, those whom I trust to rebuild glorious Iran in the days to come.
Oct. 5, 2011
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