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Grand Forks to host peace conference

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The Baha’í community of Grand Forks and Rotary Club are jointly hosting a peace conference on Saturday, April 30 called Fostering a Culture of Peace: Contributing to Social Justice.

“We are all only too aware of the disintegrative forces in the world today, from climate change, a global pandemic and an unimaginable war, to the social injustices of poverty, racism, gender inequality, corruption and the erosion of human values,” organizers said.

“What may not be so clear is that the world is going through a major process of transition through which entirely new patterns of living are emerging.”

The event begins at 9:30 a.m. at the USCC Centre with a prayer that Metis Elder Jean Lloyd will recite in Michif. Other opening remarks will be made by USCC executive director J.J. Verigin, a representative from Rotary, and a Baha’í speaker.

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“Those will be short and then we’ll go into small group discussions look at how we can somehow make this world a better place,” co-organizer Linda Wilkinson says. “So we’ll be looking at collaborative efforts.”

Wilkinson says it is one of a number of such conferences that are taking place in the Bahai international community.

In Chad, there have been events looking at how the chiefs and religious leaders of particular areas could contribute to collective peace. In India, a community looked at how to address the devastating effects of alcoholism on their families. Closer to home in Lilloeet, Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the community are coming together to study reconciliation.

Wilkinson says the conference is open to everyone, although they would like participants to register in advance.

“We’ve already had just a wonderful response from anyone we mention it to, whether they’re in the Doukhobor community or Indigenous community,” she says.

The afternoon session, from 1 to 3 p.m., is called The Art of Peace, and will include choirs, a drum circle, and community collaborative art project, led by local artists.

“So lots of stuff going on, all really devoted to looking at how we can get together and do things together in the spirit of unity, certainly reconciliation, and just how we can move forward together,” Wilkinson says.

A lunch of borscht and bread will be provided or participants may bring a bag lunch.

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