The Baha’i Faith will be at the heart of scholastic life at the Community College of Sainte-Foy (Cégep) next week as part of the twelfth and final series of Religious Studies Days. From 11 to 14 November, students will have the opportunity to discover “this modern religion led by universal principles,” in the words of the principal organizer of the event, Daniel Gignac, Professor of Religious Studies.
Several conferences, workshops and artistic activities will enrich the school’s academic life by transforming it into a week-long discussion of the Baha’i Faith. To launch this event, choreographer Benjamin Hatcher, in collaboration with the Dance School of Quebec, is inviting the student community to “an inner journey inspired by the Baha’i writings in an atmosphere both sacred and mystical.” A Baha’i artist, Lorraine Pritchard, will be exhibiting her work, which aims to explain the links between creativity and faith. John MacLeod, Professor of Architecture at the University of Montréal, will present the terraced gardens from the Baha’i World Centre in Haifa, Israel, the beauty of which speaks for itself. Among the topics to be discussed during the week are the international movement and settlement of Baha’is, examples from the Baha’i Faith demonstrating how religion can be an effective agent of socialization, and the involvement of Baha’is at the UN. For a full schedule of events, please visit the College website here.
Karen McKye, Secretary General of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada, underscores the importance of this new educational initiative at the Community College of Sainte-Foy: “studying religion and making it a factor of unity and social integration is crucial” at this time when we are living in a “disenchanted world which is grievously suffering from disunity.” According to Mrs. McKye, these Days dedicated to the study of religion “provide an opportunity to understand that the recognition of the unity of mankind is an essential element for achieving the vision of a world longing for peace.”
This event is a time for sharing, says Carole Lavoie, the Executive Director of the College. She describes it as “a unique opportunity to revive our interest in various facets of religious phenomenon and to be open to differences.” After having explored Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Indigenous Spirituality as well as traditional African religions, the Baha’i Faith was chosen to complete the 2013 Religious Studies Days, an initiative which began twelve years ago at the College. Daniel Gignac explains that this choice was not due to chance, as his team “has always been conscious of the sacred duty of tolerance, harmony and dialogue between peoples and cultures,” and that he believes that “Baha’is are one of its most inspiring examples.”