BAPS 11th Annual Women’s Conference Focuses on Unity as Our Greatest Strength

The keynote speaker and guests commemorate the start of the conference in a traditional manner by lighting the divo.

The keynote speaker and guests commemorate the start of the conference in a traditional manner by lighting the divo.

STAFFORD: Unity is strength. This was the simple yet powerful subject of conversation at this year’s annual BAPS Women’s Conference held at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Stafford, Texas on April 21. With the thought of unity currently on the minds of many in society, and separation due to differences natural, the conference instead focused on the individual’s role in creating a unified nation and world. The speakers delved into the qualities of humility and positivity and their roles in initiating a more unity-centered mind-frame.  

Monica Mehta set the tone for the conference.

Monica Mehta set the tone for the conference.

Held in 14 cities across North America, this conference aims to inspire its attendees to bring about change through dialogue and reflection and this year was no different. Monica Mehta, a financial expert, television personality, and an author, set the tone for the conference. Speaking on the level of strength that can be achieved through unity, she encouraged all to honor each other and find ways to better each other and in the end, find strength in unity.  When asked about how she felt participating in the conference, Mehta shared, “Events such as this give us an opportunity to explore all of the different roles that we play and the ways in which we can be supportive and lift each other up. In that way I think it is incredible to have an opportunity to speak to so many women, hear these different perspectives and learn and grow from all of these experiences.”

Ilupi Patel addresses the audience on the importance of unity.

Ilupi Patel addresses the audience on the importance of unity.

The conference then continued with a speech by Ilupi Patel emphasizing what unity truly means and why it is essential to achieve it. She focused on how the small actions of each individual can lead to a more unified family, and therefore, influence a community and even society at large. The other two speakers for the evening’s conference concentrated on two instrumental traits that can be developed in order to create unity within our relationships – that of humility and positivity. Affirming that humility is not a fixed trait, but one that should be practiced and developed, speaker Shailaja Thakkar discussed the small, everyday steps that can be taken to practice humility.

Shailaja Thakkar speaks on the topic of humility.

Shailaja Thakkar speaks on the topic of humility.

Using her personal experiences and quoting those she gained inspiration from, she explained how the trait of humility is strengthened through service of others, admitting our mistakes and tolerance. Dr. Pratiksha Amin closed out the conference with a compelling talk on the power of positivity. She illustrated how we must all make an effort to find positivity in not only all situations, but in all those around us as well. Dr. Amin explained that when we find good in one another, we are able to support and build each other up to bring about a more unified world.  

Dr. Pratiksha Amin addresses the audience on the power of positivity.

Dr. Pratiksha Amin addresses the audience on the power of positivity.

Each year, the conference is organized in numerous cities, by the local youth and women volunteers of BAPS with the aim to provide a platform for dialogue between women of all different backgrounds and professions. The speakers, just like the audience, were from various professional and personal diasporas and yet were able to come together to bring about an environment for dialogue for self-reflection and growth. Sharing her thoughts on the conference, attendee Dr. Nita Gandhi stated, “This conference is inspiration for all women and we learn a lot from each other. She went on to say that she enjoys attending this conference every year. Dr. Neha Amin, who had traveled from Austin to attend the conference shared, “I think the topic was relatable to people on many levels and everyone could come away with something from any of the speakers—whether it was about humility or how to stay positive in our lives or finding ways that we can come together as a community.”

Aanshi Trivedi performs a traditional dance at the beginning of the conference.

Aanshi Trivedi performs a traditional dance at the beginning of the conference.

The BAPS Women’s Conference was inspired by Brahmaswarup Pramukh Swami Maharaj and encouraged by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj. The conference highlights the influential role of women in today’s society and also empowers the younger generations by promoting a healthy dialogue around current topics. Before and after the conference, attendees had the opportunity to network with others from the greater Indian community and share their perspective on the talks of the day. Many in attendance felt inspired by the conference and conveyed their motivation to share the word with their family and friends. 

The audience left with the message that while unity may seem like a global concept, the power of change, and the power of a creating a more unified world lies within each individual. For further details contact BAPS North American Headquarters, Phone: 732-777-1414, Email: media@na.baps.org

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