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BAPS Holds First Women’s Conference


BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir held its 1st Women’s Conference on Saturday September 6th, 2008. The theme of the Conference focused on ‘Investing in Women and Girls.’ This event marked the inaugural use of the new Family Activities Center at the BAPS Mandir in Lilburn, Georgia. People traveled from all over the Southeast region to attend the event. The venue was aesthetically decorated with a state of the art sound and media system that really gave this conference a professional finish.

The Conference was inspired by the United Nations’ Annual International Women’s Day. It is the first of its kind to take place in the Southeast region. The aim of the conference was to emphasize the importance of dedicating resources to the development of women and girls around the world. This contributes to an overall goal of “peace and social progress in a community as a whole.”

The conference commenced with a prayer, the Deep Pragatya, invocating peace and serenity for the occasion and a rendition of the Indian and American national anthems. Mistress of Ceremonies Umangi Patel gave an articulate introduction to an audience of more than 500, citing famous women pioneers like Jane Adams and Elizabeth Blackwell.

A number of accomplished women made the conference a success with presentations and speeches. The event was also graced with the presence of the Honorable Diana Preston, the Mayor of Lilburn.

Each speaker tackled a different aspect of investment in women. Ms. Raj Razdan talked about the importance of social investment on issues relevant to women. She emphasized important issues for girls that can be improved in the home environment. Razdan also cited some shocking statistical facts reported by the United Nations on women around the world.

Other speakers, like Ms. Kavita Narayan, took on a more interactive approach. She engaged the listeners not only by asking questions but also by telling funny anecdotes and generating laughter from the audience more than once. She stressed the importance of cultural investment and how lucky NRI’s are to have the values and traditions of both the American and Indian culture in their daily lives.

Ms. Roxanne Spillett, named one of the “15 People Who Make America Great” by Newsweek in July 2006, spoke of the importance of education for women worldwide. She stressed the importance of combining education with good values and character. Ashini Parikh talked about spirituality and finding that forever elusive thing called happiness. She used the example of the famous Ambani brothers’ rift and concluded with the idea that “man is the maker of his own happiness.”

Lastly Ms. Chinkal Patel talked about the growth of BAPS and the efforts they have been involved with around the world. The combination of eloquent speakers and fantastic video and sound accompaniments made the conference incredibly engaging. 


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