Montreal, October 27, 2019 - One of the highlights of the celebration of the Bicentenary of the birth of the Báb in Montreal was surely the series of five talks given by Dr. Todd Lawson, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at Toronto University.

These series of lectures, given once a year, are in memory of Raymond Flournoy – a long standing member of the Montreal Bahá’í Community -  were focussed on the Life  and earliest Writings of the Báb. The series started with an Introduction to the society in which the Báb lived, His life and Writings before He was 25 years old as well as the Writings which were composed specially before 22 May 1844, the date of His Proclamation to Mullá Husayn in Shiraz.

The series continued with the Báb’s mystical and spiritual experiences, especially in the early months of 1844, His proclamation to Mullá Husayn, revelation  of Qayyúm al-Asmá, focussing on the first chapter entitled, The Surih of Dominion.

The culmination of the series was an emotional experience listening to Todd speaking about the Portrait of the Prophet as a Young Artist! The images of the Báb’s handwriting and His exquisite calligraphic work representing a human temple in a form of a five pointed star was truely astounding! Other pieces such as a circular calligraphic work and various styles of the Báb’s handwriting were also presented.

Todd Lawson is Emeritus Professor of Islamic thought at the University of Toronto. He has published widely on Quran commentary, the Quran as literature, Sufism, and the Bábi and Bahá’í Faiths. His books, The Crucifixion and the Quran was published in 2009, followed by Gnostic Apocalypse and Islam in 2011, the Quran as sacred epic and the most recent one, Being Human in 2019. He is also the editor of Reason and Inspiration in Islam, a collection of essays bringing together the disciplines of theology, philosophy and mysticism.

Todd is convinced that the main things to appreciate is the enormous debt that society, humanity and civilisation at large owes to Islam and the Islamic venture. This has been his ongoing interest. In his surprise when he came to Canada in January of 1968, the first people he met were the Bahá’ís. it was through reading some of the Bahá’í texts that he eventually came to realise that they were full of references to the Quran, and to the Prophet Muhammad and to Islamic spirituality. And that is how all started!

*About illustrations : An unidentified pentacle by the Báb, which according to the caption under the image is "from the reproduction in Qismati az alwah-i-khatt-i-Nuqta-yi Ula," p. 26. Note also a description from Shoghi Effendi, in God Passes By page 69:

It was exclusively to His [Bahá'u'lláh's] care that the documents of the Báb, His pen-case, His seals, and agate rings, together with a scroll on which He had penned, in the form of a pentacle, no less than three hundred and sixty derivatives of the word Bahá’ were delivered, in conformity with instructions He Himself had issued prior to His departure from Chihriq.

The circular shaped talisman drawn by the Báb is also unidentified. Notice the faint imprint from a da'ira towards the bottom.

Da'ira and haykal both mean "talisman," the former being specifically a circular talisman and the latter being (usually) pentacular or square. Peter Smith explains that "the idea that physical object can provide the wearer with some form of supernatural protection" is common in religions around the world. "The Báb instructed his followers to make and wear talismans, and there are numerous references to these in his writings." While the Bahá'í teachings de-emphasize such esoteric practices, there are prayers and other Writings that mention or provide talismanic protection. (Concise Encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith, q.v. talisman) Khazeh Fananapazir adds that in the Persian Bayan the Báb refers to men as "those who possess the hayákil ('ulu'l-hayákil)" and women as "those who possess the dawá'ir ('ulu'l-dawá'ir)" (bayán-i fársí IV:4-5).

Reprinted from Canadian Bahá'í News Service

MONTREAL, QUEBEC, 25 OCTOBER 2019 - In her latest exhibition, Montreal artist Lorraine Pritchard is inspired by the bicentenary of the Birth of the Báb

The Báb is a prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, who established an independent religion in 1844 and foretold the imminent appearance of Baha’u’llah, who inaugurated the Baha’i Faith in 1863. On October 29th, Baha’is around the world are celebrating 200 years since the birth of the Báb in 1819.

“I was always very inspired by [the Báb’s early writings], the way that the calligraphy was placed on the page, the expression in the line. I work a lot with lines, movement and rhythm. None of these things I wanted to copy or illustrate, but they were a point of departure for this project,” says Pritchard.

Pritchard also uses the concept of “circumambulation,” a pattern of reflective walking around a sacred place. Pilgrims who approach the Shrine of the Báb in Haifa, Israel, will often circumambulate the Shrine before crossing the threshold into the interior to offer their prayers and supplications.

“I have always done abstract pieces, but these were related to this particular theme and from these ideas I had. They look like a language, but they are not, they are my way of drawing,” adds Pritchard. 

Another theme of the Báb’s writings is the intimate relationship between intellect and spirit, an aspect that Pritchard’s work also evokes in those who view her work. “I always think that intellect and intuition are interconnected… and we don’t fully know how they respond to each other but they work together.”

Asked how the life of the Báb can speak to us today, Pritchard reflects that the heroism and drama of His life are hard to comprehend. “I get overwhelmed when I talk about the Bab… The dramatic story of his life and the sacrifices that were made, the revolutionary nature of it. But it can inspire us in the mystery of it all, the sacrifices that were made and courage [His followers] had.

Pritchard’s exhibit is showing at the Beaux-arts des Ameriques (BADA) Gallery in Montreal from October 17 to November 16, 2019.

Montreal, August 1, 2019 – Inspired by various messages from the Universal House of Justice, Canadian National Spiritual Assembly and Montreal Spiritual Assembly, the team serving in the NDG neighbourhood reached at least 51 children and 35 junior youth through doing fresh outreach and through network of friends. 23 children and 23 junior youth attended at least once either the class or the festival. Out of the 16 families that the team had conversations with, they were able to advance the conversation further with 9 of them. 

As a new approach, Cote-des-Neiges neighbourhood is divided into two pockets; around the Kent Park and Van Horne Park. In each pocket, everyday there has been outreach and a junior youth group at the park in the evenings. In the Kent Park pocket, a children class is also happening every day. Children learned about love, justice, unity and truthfulness. In the junior youth group, they learnt about service, friendship and excellence and they studied lessons from the junior youth text “Walking the Straight Path”.

A children’s festival was organized at Kent Park and took place from 2 to 4pm. It attracted new families, junior youth and children and brought joy to the hearts. 

One service project, cleaning the park, already took place at Van Horne Park. This following week another service project will take place at Kent Park. Junior youth planned to have a bake sale to collect money to donate to the Sainte-Justine Hospital Foundation.

July 6 – 10, 2019 - A junior youth camp which took place in Montreal welcomed 38 junior youth from four areas of the cluster gathered around the theme of the beauty of science. They studied six lessons from the newly available text "Observation and Insight", visited an organic farm, carried out science experiments, went on a nature walk, and learned about the environment. They were all very happy to participate, some even skipping a few days of their regular day camps to be able to attend. They built strong friendships and are excited to see each other again at the next camp at the end of August.

August 1, 2019 – The 19 days Feast of Perfection was celebrated in eight neighbourhoods in Montreal area. Plans of various activities during the year were consulted upon with unprecedented enthusiasm and joy. The spiritual education of children and youth was the focus of the consultation as well as the celebration of the Bicentenary of the birth of the Báb, the Herald of the Bahá’í Faith

Dozens of Devotional gatherings are also being held regularly in various boroughs of the city. The one at the Montreal Bahá’í Centre welcomes dozens of friends of the Community every Sunday from 11 AM.

Last day of our July 2019 outreach celebrated with kids and families in Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce

Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce,JY cupcake sale benefits go to Saint Justine hospital

It is our party to see Aaya, Enoly and Mona off to their next adventure. Friday 26th July 2019

Saturday May 18 Feast in Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

Wed June 26h children’s class saying good bye to Anissa and Sébastien.

Devotional May 12th at the neighbourhood.

Montreal, September 19, 2019 - Under a radiant sun, in a warm and respectful musical atmosphere, the traditional ceremony for the International Day for Peace took place in Saint-Laurent at Parc Beaudet, also known as the "Peace Parc "! Fifty students from Émile-Legault High School and the International School of “des apprenants” participated in this celebration, as well as some twenty dignitaries from the borough, including Mayor Alan DeSousa, members of Saint-Laurent council, one of the commissioners of Marguerite-Bourgeoys school board and representatives of community, institutions and organizations.

This event is organized each year in collaboration with the Borough of Saint-Laurent, the Saint-Laurent Intercultural Committee of COSSL (Committee of Social Organizations of Saint-Laurent) and the Bahá'í Community of Montreal.

The Mayor of Saint-Laurent, for whom the theme "Climate change and preservation of Peace" is a very important subject, spoke about climate change and the importance of building together a healthy planet in which we can live in harmony with others and with our environment. The representative of the Bahá'í Community mentioned that "world peace is not only possible but inevitable" and that we must work for unity in diversity and social justice. The ceremony followed with a dialogue with students on the primary causes of conflict between people. The most touching presentations were made by the youth from both schools and a young ABC Center volunteer “Slamer” who is the winner of the Lions Club's 2018 Peace Poster Contest.

At the end of the ceremony, each participant made a commitment to take a specific action to combat climate change and promote peace.

Photo: The Mayor of Saint-Laurent, Alan DeSousa, the City Councilor for the Côte-de-Liesse District, Francesco Miele, and the Councillor for the Norman-McLaren District, Aref Salem, surrounded by representatives from various borough organizations and students from the International School “des apprenants”.


Montreal, July 14, 2019: As learning activities and social and community development growth progress in the city's various neighborhoods, summer activities were also celebrated everywhere in the neighborhood parks.

The NDG neighborhood had two picnics with the participation of dozens of young people and their parents. The two events that took place at Kent Park in the neighborhood, were also an opportunity to wish a good trip to our friends Sebastien and Anissa who are going to the United States to continue their studies in economics!

On June 30, 2017, a group of 20 youths from Prince Edward Island came to the Bahá'í Center in Montreal to attend the weekly devotional gathering. They continued their guided tour of the places where 'Abdu'l-Bahá had frequented during his stay in Montreal, such as St. James United Church, the annex of the former Windsor Hotel, the Windsor Station, the Mary Queen of the World Basilica and the Bahá'í Shrine, the former home of architect Maxwell.



During the devotional meeting this Sunday, we had the pleasure of meeting Ibrahim MOUSSA DAN-KOMA, a Bahá'í friend from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso who was in Montreal for a conference related to his profession.

Another youth group of fifteen from Brampton, Ontario visited us on July 13, 2019! After attending the Sunday prayer meeting at the Bahá'í Center in Montreal, the group went to the Bahá'í shrine for a few hours of contemplation before visiting other places where 'Abdu'l-Bahá had stayed in the city.

A major teaching conference was also held on July 13, 2019 at the Bahá'í Center in Montreal with the participation of 50 adults and 10 children. The day was dedicated to neighborhood activities and devotional meetings. A touching presentation by Auxiliary Board Member Mona Pirmoradi was a source of inspiration for launching our Teaching and Expansion cycles in different neighborhoods of Montreal.


Montreal, September 11, 2019 – Twenty five students from Kyoto Imperial University of Japan visited Montreal as part of their continuing studies to learn about Canadian Culture and languages. The group of five who study Religious Diversity visited the Montreal Bahá’í Shrine accompanied by their tutor. The visit included a presentation about the Faith, Maxwell family and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s sojourn in Montreal as well as a short history of the Faith in Japan. Numerous questions were asked about the Faith and the relationship of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá with Maxwell family. Questions were also asked about the Administrative System of the Faith and the non-partisan election in the Bahá’í World Community. A gift of literature and relevant information was offered to the students.

The McGill School of Continuing Studies has an international reputation as a leader in continuing education. The instructors are dynamic and engaged, the student body, smart and diverse, bringing with them a wide range of experience from all walks of life. There are over 150 countries represented at McGill University, the most international student body in Canada.

The number of students at McGill’s School of Continuing Studies is 15 000! Career Advancement and Professional Development, Language Learning, Translation and Written Communication, Personal Growth and Lifelong Learning as well as arts, religious diversity and indigenous studies are included in the program.

Kyoto Imperial University in Japan was founded by imperial ordinance on 18 June 1897, the second university to be established in Japan. It has been in partnership with six universities in Canada and with McGill in particular since 2014. One of Asia’s leading research-oriented institutions, Kyoto University is famed for producing world-class researchers, including 17 Nobel Prize laureates, 2 Fields medalists and one Gauss Prize winner.

The Bahá'í Faith in Japan begins after a few mentions of the country by `Abdu'l-Bahá first in 1875. Japanese contact with the religion came from the West when Kanichi Yamamoto was living in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1902 accepted the Faith; the second being Saichiro Fujita. Fujita would serve between the World Wars, first in the household of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá and then of Shoghi Effendi. In 1932, the first Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assembly was elected in Tokyo. In all of Japan there were 19 Bahá'ís then. The Association of Religion Data Archives (relying on World Christian Encyclopedia) estimated some 15 650 Japanese Bahá'ís in 2005 while the CIA World Fact book estimated about 12 000 in 2006.

Montreal, May 23, 2019 - In Montreal neighborhoods, friends and members of the Bahá'í Community gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the mission of the Báb, the Herald of the Faith. This event, which took place in a modest house in Shiráz 175 years ago, indicates the beginning of the Bahá'í Dispensation or the New Era. Special prayers accompanied by music and historical texts about the events of the Báb's declaration were presented by the Bahá'í friends in collaboration with the children and the youths of the Community.

The opening scene of the initial act of this great drama was laid in the upper chamber of the modest residence of the son of a mercer of Shiraz, in an obscure corner of that city. The time was the hour before sunset, on the 22nd day of May, 1844. The participants were The Báb, a twenty-five year old siyyid*, of pure and holy lineage, and the young Mulla Husayn, the first to believe in Him. Their meeting immediately before that interview seemed to be purely fortuitous. The interview itself was protracted till the hour of dawn. The Host remained closeted alone with His guest, nor was the sleeping city remotely aware of the import of the conversation they held with each other. No record has passed to posterity of that unique night save the fragmentary but highly illuminating account that fell from the lips of Mulla Husayn.

"I sat spellbound by His utterance, oblivious of time and of those who awaited me," he himself has testified, after describing the nature of the questions he had put to his Host and the conclusive replies he had received from Him, replies which had established beyond the shadow of a doubt the validity of His claim to be the promised Qa'im. "Suddenly the call of the Mu'adhdhin*, summoning the faithful to their morning prayer, awakened me from the state of ecstasy into which I seemed to have fallen. All the delights, all the ineffable glories, which the Almighty has recounted in His Book as the priceless possessions of the people of Paradise -- these I seemed to be experiencing that night. Methinks I was in a place of which it could be truly said: 'Therein no toil shall reach us, and therein no weariness shall touch us;' 'no vain discourse shall they hear therein, nor any falsehood, but only the cry, "Peace! Peace!"'; 'their cry therein shall be, "Glory to Thee, O God!" and their salutation therein, "Peace!", and the close of their cry, "Praise be to God, Lord of all creatures!"'

Sleep had departed from me that night. I was enthralled by the music of that voice which rose and fell as He chanted; now swelling forth as He revealed verses of the Qayyumu'l-Asma'*, again acquiring ethereal, subtle harmonies as He uttered the prayers He was revealing. At the end of each invocation, He would repeat this verse: 'Far from the glory of thy Lord, the All-Glorious, be that which His creatures affirm of Him! And peace be upon His Messengers! And praise be to God, the Lord of all beings!'"

"This Revelation," Mulla Husayn has further testified, "so suddenly and impetuously thrust upon me, came as a thunderbolt which, for a time, seemed to have benumbed my faculties. I was blinded by its dazzling splendor and overwhelmed by its crushing force. Excitement, joy, awe, and wonder stirred the depths of my soul. Predominant among these emotions was a sense of gladness and strength which seemed to have transfigured me. How feeble and impotent, how dejected and timid, I had felt previously! Then I could neither write nor walk, so tremulous were my hands and feet. Now, however, the knowledge of His Revelation had galvanized my being. I felt possessed of such courage and power that were the world, all its peoples and its potentates, to rise against me, I would, alone and undaunted, withstand their onslaught. The universe seemed but a handful of dust in my grasp. I seemed to be the voice of Gabriel personified, calling unto all mankind: 'Awake, for, lo! the morning Light has broken. Arise, for His Cause is made manifest. The portal of His grace is open wide; enter therein, O peoples of the world! For He Who is your promised One is come!'"

… With this historic Declaration, the dawn of an Age that signalizes the consummation of all ages had broken.


* Siyyid: seyyed, descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.

* Mu'adhdhin: muezzin, clergyman or any other Muslim who, from the top of a minaret, calls the believers to prayer five times a day.

* Qayyùmu'l-Asmà ': famous commentary on the surah of joseph, in the Qur’án. The first chapter was revealed during the night when Mullá Husayn met the Báb. It is for Muslims one of the most important proofs of the authenticity of the Bab as a prophet.

Photo : Celebration in Saint-Laurent neighbourhood

Montreal, August 30, 2019 – Late afternoon, on August 26, a devoted maid-servant of the Blessed Beauty, closed her eyes to this ephemeral world and winged her flight to the worlds beyond! She was surrounded by her family and friends until her last breath of life!

She was affectionately called Pari Joun by members of her family and was dearly loved by everybody in Montreal Bahá’í Community. Her family moved to this city in early 1967 and served the Community with utmost devotion and sincerity.

Pari Hashemi, née Hakim Rashidian was born on May 24, 1924 in Tehran, Iran to Mustafa Hakim Rashidian and Houri Nazerian. She had two brothers and two sisters. From all accounts she was a very playful, smart young girl with a great sense of humor. She got married to Rashid Hashemi in 1943. From this marriage two daughters were born, Otessa and Gretta. Mr and Mrs Hashemi, both were descendants of early Bahá’ís from the time of Bahá’u’lláh.

The family pioneered to Turkey during the Ten Year World Spiritual Crusade (1953–1963), launched by the Guardian, Shoghi-Effendi and then to Cyprus, where they formed the first Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Nicosia.

A cablegram from the Guardian Shoghi-Effendi was received following the election of the above Assembly, addressed to Hashemi family : “… through your endeavours, the Devil’s Island* was transformed to an island of Mercy!” 

They also spent time living in England and Ireland, eventually moving back to Iran where she managed a very successful Beauty Salon with clienteles from royal family down to general public! A call for pioneers from the Bahá’í World Centre moved Hashemi family to leave Iran prior to the revolution in 1978 and eventually settle in Montreal, Canada.

Shortly after arriving in Montreal around 1967-68, the family settled in Saint-Laurent where they participated in the establishment of the first Local Spiritual Assembly. Their house was a center of attraction for those who sought to know the Faith. A number of the first Montreal Bahá'ís accepted the Faith in their home.

They moved to Montreal later and helped with the Community activities. Mr Hashemi was elected to the Montreal Local Assembly where he served for many years. He also served as Bookstore manager for several years.

Pari’s devotion to the Faith was such that when the Montreal Spiritual Assembly decided to buy the present Bahá’í Centre and there was not enough funds available to purchase the property, she was the first to volunteer to mortgage her home along with Raymond Flournoy to generate the required amount for this purpose! The widow of the Gradian of the Bahá’í Faith, Rúhíyyih Khánum, also contributed generously to purchase that property.

Pari was appointed to a committee in charge of the management of the newly purchased Bahá’í Centre of Montreal at 177 avenue des Pins Est! She served in that capacity until she had enough physical strength to take care of cleanliness and every day organization of the Centre. She has been seen scrubbing the floor on her hands and knees, as much as her strength permitted in her advanced age, to keep the Centre clean and pleasant for the Community. Her beautifully decorated home also was open to friend and foe. Numerous people from all walks of life as well as the City dignitaries enjoyed her Persian feasts!

First Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Nicosia, Cyprus, October 1959. Pari is sitting on the left and Rashid is standing at the middle of photo.

Pari Hashemi always preached the importance of education and Faith. She taught her children and her grand-children to respect friends, family, peers as well as the value of proper etiquette. She was the epitome of grace and elegance; a great storyteller, who spoke often of her life experiences, her friends and family and of her early days in Tehran.

Her house was like a museum, everything was meticulously placed in its exact location, always clean and not even a hint of dust on anything. She was a devout advocate of health and exercises and she practised what she preached every morning until practically the end of her life.

Pari’s health started to deteriorate since her younger daughter Gretta passed away in 2012. Mother and daughter worked together in a business endeavour for several years, travelled together and enjoyed each other’s company. With Gretta’s departure from this nether world, Pari lost the desire to continue life. She was in deep sorrow in her solitude and she would come out of that state momentarily whenever her friends went to visit her.

She planned her after life very carefully too! Since Gretta invested her life on the education of children by starting children classes at the Bahá’í Centre in Montreal in 1986, both mother and daughter invested in this worthy cause by donating all their wealth to the education of the World Children. Pari wanted to have a small funeral ceremony only with her family and few friends she herself had chosen in order to save money for the above mentioned Cause.

Pari leaves behind her daughter Otessa, her grand-daughter Rochana, her grand-son Darius and four great-grand-children, Nyllah, Dalia, Rayne and Olivia. She is now reunited in the Worlds of God with her husband Rashid and her daughter Gretta! Her stories and her memories will keep her alive forever in the hearts of the Montreal Bahá’í Community.


*Apparently Cyprus has been called Devil’s Island at one point in the history!

Montreal, April 21, 2019 – Bahá’ís from all over Montreal gathered at the Bahá’í Centre to take part in the election of their Spiritual Assembly. Likewise, in thousands of localities around the globe on that day, the first day of Riḍván, Bahá’ís vote for their local governing councils. Throughout the 12-day festival of Riḍván, national conventions are held in some 180 countries and territories, during which delegates gather to vote for their National Spiritual Assembly, a nine-member council responsible for guiding, coordinating, and stimulating the activities of the Bahá’ís in its jurisdiction. Bahá’í elections are distinct for their lack of nomination and campaigning. The members elected this year are: Arash Saidi, Stan Phillips, Monique Richer-Gosselin, Aaron Daley, Janie Cardinal-Fernandes, Nima Naimi, Josée Cardinal, Baudouin Makasi Kutuka et Keyvan Mahjoor.

During the consultation period, many participants enthusiastically committed themselves to persevere in the direction the Bahá’í community is taking in their efforts to enhance the vitality of spiritual and social life in their neighbourhoods, foster participation by more and more people in activities that serve to counter passivity and lethargy of social forces that are, today, especially damaging to young people. Bahá’ís understand their work to be their contribution to the construction of a better world through the development of a culture of service in which universal participation of all members of the human family becomes the standard of justice and social progress.

The contributions to the deliberations at this Montreal Bahá’í Community gathering reflected several of the issues in the Baha’i plans, noting that today, more than ever, the world needs to counter the divisive social constructs that separate people, as well as overcome the passivity and lethargy that materialism and a superficial culture of entertainment has generated in society.

"Every contribution Bahá'ís make to the life of their society is aimed at fostering unity; every community-building endeavour is directed towards the same end."  - Riḍván 2017, Letter from the Universal House of Justice

Today, the festival of Riḍván is the most joyous of Bahá'í holy days. In villages, towns, and cities around the world, Baha'i communities celebrate these special days with gatherings open to all.

The Riḍván period was also a time when Bahá'u'lláh proclaimed the foundational spiritual principles that lie at the heart of His teachings—signaling the arrival of a new stage in the evolution of the life of humanity, characterized by peace and an end to violence.

This annual festival of 12 days (April 20 to May 2) marks the anniversary of the days Bahá'u'lláh spent in a garden on the banks of the River Tigris in Baghdad in 1863. During those days, many of His admirers in the city came to bid Him farewell. Bahá'u'lláh announced to the friends gathered with Him that He was God's Messenger for a new age, foretold in the world's scriptures. He called the garden they were gathered in "Riḍván" meaning "paradise."

Riḍván, together with the Declaration of the Báb, are designated by Bahá'u'lláh as “the two Most Great Festivals” and are attributed according significance in the Bahá'í calendar and celebrated as such in the Bahá'í world. The 1st, 9th and 12th days of Riḍván are considered Holy Days, on which work should be suspended and the festival of Riḍván is celebrated every year from the 13th of the month of Jalál to the 5th of the month of Jamál according to the Bahá'í calendar. 

* Photo : Garden of Riḍván, archives of « la bibliothèque nationale », Paris

Montréal, August 15, 2019 - In response to the invitation of the follow-up committee for this project, the Borough of Saint-Laurent (Mayor Alan DeSousa, twoCity Councillors, a borough councillor and a representative from Culture, Sports, Recreation and Social Development) as well as representatives of the following institutions and organizations: Cegep de Saint-Laurent, Volunteers Center and Community Development in Saint-Laurent (ABC Center), Center for Young Immigrant Women ( CEJFI), the Bahá'í Community of Saint-Laurent, the Committee of Social Organizations of Saint-Laurent, the Police Deparment of the City of Montreal, Neighborhood Station 7 and the YMCA Saint-Laurent met to reflect and discuss on an Action Plan.

This is an initiative of Laurentian Community to promote and develop practices that promote Unity in Diversity. 

Several Laurentian organizations wishing to promote living in harmony and unity of the Laurentians population, said Gigi Vidal, the Director of Community Affairs of the Bahá'í Community of Montreal, a meeting was called to reflect and discuss about the ways to make this vision of Unity in Diversity a mobilizing project in order to unify the Laurentian community. Ultimately, the goal is for Saint-Laurent to be an inspiring model of social harmony. 

Since autumn 2017, following a Panel Discussion held in honor of the Bicentenary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh with a message of Peace, Hope, Unity and Justice centered on Unity in Diversity, reflections and informative meetings have been originated toward this goal which have proved very fruitful. A follow-up committee was set up including the Bahá'í Community of Montreal, Cegep Saint-Laurent, the Police Department of the City of Montreal - Neighborhood Station 7 (SPVM, PDQ 7) and the Committee of Saint-Laurent Social Organizations (COSSL).

In December 2018, a questionnaire was sent to more than 150 people to find out whether there was any goal set within the Laurentian associations to promote Unity in Diversity. On August 15, 2019, a breakfast-meeting was organized by the follow-up committee to present the results of the questionnaire as well as a detailed Plan of Action to promote Unity in Diversity by creating a friendship link between Laurentians of all backgrounds.


1. To publicize existing programs that favor Unity in Diversity;

2. To put forward innovative projects related to the theme;

3. To be an inspiring model of social emblem beyond the territory of Saint-Laurent.

In a warm atmosphere of unity, respect and sharing, different ideas emerged following a cordial discussion among the representatives present, such as to name a public park after this project or to place a sign to reflect this idea in an area in the borough, dedicate a week to Unity in diversity, a Facebook page that would broadcast the various programs and activities to show the importance of Unity, an Instagram account #uniteindiversity, etc.

Our success must be motivated by our values.



Bahá'í Center


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