Held on the Autumn Equinox in September 2008, Montreal Shift gathered together young people of different faith traditions for a combination skill-share and sharing of perspectives, united by a common concern for our global home, Earth. The gathering aimed to help participants explore how a transformation towards sustainability could be achieved in the spiritual, physical, and emotional environments, and how dialogue and supportive sharing could help address the interconnected issues of environmental degradation, conflict, and despair. Nika Khanjani, a member of the local Baha’i Assembly, was the initiator of the event. The wide variety of topics covered in the workshops drew on the spirit of a quotation from Shoghi Effendi, the Head of the Bahá’í Faith from 1921 to 1957 before its international council was elected:
“We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved. Man is organic with the world. His inner life moulds the environment and is itself also deeply affected by it.”
The conference was a powerful experience for all involved, blending new experiences and knowledge with deep reflection and exchange, and of course celebration. Though the organizers and participants of the conference have now scattered to many parts of the globe, they continue to share a deep bond through the experience of Montreal Shift.