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JAINA Newsletter: JAINA Convention 2019
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PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

Jai Jinendra!

We just completed a memorable convention last weekend and the events are still fresh in my mind. JAINA Convention Committee 2019 is overwhelmed by the love received from the attendees. Before we start settling into our new endeavours and working towards the goals to take JAINA to a new height, we would like to share the fond memories from this convention; especially for those who couldn’t attend it. We hope to see you at the next JAINA Convention!

I thank 45 convention committees and its members, volunteers, and all the attendees for playing their significant role in making this convention extraordinary.

Also, we have sent out a survey form to all attendees. Please respond with your feedback as the members of JAINA Convention Board and Committee Chairs would like to know what specific things you liked or disliked so as to apply your recommendations in our future planning of JAINA programs and events.

Sincerely,

Mahesh Wadher
President
JAINA

JAINA CONVENTION 2019
We are immensely happy to tell you that around 3,450 people including 600 youths and young adults attended JAINA Convention 2019 in celebrating Jain Religion in the 21st Century, from July 4-7, 2019 at the Ontario Convention Center in California, USA.

These four days, we all came together as a family to celebrate Jainism through various programs like Jain spiritual discourses by renowned scholars and dignitaries, multi-faith Keynotes, colourful procession, on-site Jain Temple, Yoga, and Meditation sessions, Jain Academic Bowl, Jains Got Talent, Youth Activities, Young Jain Professionals, Jain Connect, Shatavdhan, Cultural Entertainment Program, and a Bollywood Show. To top these off, we prepared and served over 48,300 vegetarian/vegan meals over this 4-day event.

The convention began with a grand procession featuring colourful floats and banners represented by Jain Centers from across North America, an unveiling ceremony of Jain Temple, and a Swagatam ceremony welcoming the attendees in the OCC’s grand ballroom. At the opening ceremony, the attendees observed a moment of silence in recognizing the Jain pioneers, Late Gurudev Shri Chitrabhanuji, Late Acharya Sushil Kumarji Maharaj, and Late Amrendra Muniji; all deserving credit for grassroots efforts of establishing Jain community in North America.

In the opening session, Convener Mr. Mahesh Wadher (right) and Co-conveners, Dr. Jasvant Modi (center) and Dr. Nitin Shah (left), welcomed and explained the aspects of the theme, logo and purpose of the convention, highlighting its five distinct tracks of Seva, Satsang, Samarpan, Sadhana, and Self-Realization, that enrich Jain principles and practices.



It was followed by speeches from invited Keynotes and leading Jain thought leaders. The Convention was also graced by speeches from Jain acharyas, Shri Namramuniji Maharaj and Acharya Shri Yashovijayji Maharaj (pre-recorded) and from Acharya Shri Vijay Ratna Sundar Suriji Maharaj (live streamed). The convention was sanctified by 22 invited Jain sadhus, sadhavis, scholars and spiritual guides who have significant diaspora following, such as; Acharya Shri Chandanaji, Acharya Dr Lokesh Muni, Bhattarakji Charukeerthiji, Brahmrishi Guruvanandji and Gurudevshri Rakeshbhai.

In this convention, we tried to illustrate the commonalities of the world’s religions with Jainism’s core teachings of Ahimsa (Non-Violence), Aparigraha (Non-Attachment) and Anekantavada (Non-Absolutism) by inviting keynotes leaders of multiple faiths and global service organizations who addressed the gathering’s four General sessions and an Interfaith Roundtable – represented by Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity. Top keynotes were Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Gaur Gopal Das, Ingrid Newkirk, Philip Wollen, Sadhvi Bhagawati, Rahul Kapoor Jain, and Audrey Kitagawa.

The convention evenings were filled with fun and interactive activities of Garba-Raas, Jains Got Talent competition, and Jain Cultural Program - “One World, One Rhythm”. The cultural program featured uniquely choreographed performances representing the countries and cultures around the world, involving 20 non-stop dances with universal themes of harmony performed by over 200 youth and adult dancers to thunderous audience applause. Attendees enjoyed a Bollywood Concert on July 6.

The safety and security team did an outstanding job in ensuring a sustained and calm endurance of more than 3,000 people in the main hall during evening program when at the onset of the show, a 40-second 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the LA metro area on July 5th and felt by all in the audience. Needless to say, the show went on without an impact!

One of the significant youth education and development initiatives, Jain Academic Bowl (JAB) was very well received. 100 youths from 15 JAB teams, ranging in ages 10 to 18 years participated in the JAB competition. This 13th Jain Academic Bowl competition involved 33 hours of gameplay requiring JAB students to master 400-pages of Jain facts, concepts, and stories from our ancient literature. This year’s senior winner team is Team “Hrim” of the Jain Society of Metropolitan Chicago and the junior team is Team “Arham”, also of the Jain Society of Metropolitan Chicago. Congratulations Chicago!!

The other significant accomplishments at this convention were the sold-out events of Young Jain Professionals and Youth Activities. Almost 600 youths and young adults enjoyed this convention by attending focused tracks at their opening and closing keynotes, and dedicated parallel sessions including; Ted Talks, Mind Connection, Lifestyles, Jainism 101, Jainism in College, Jains in Action; and more; all of these were organized by and for youths and young adults.


Another well-received event, presented for the first time at a west coast JAINA convention, was Shatavdhan (a demonstration which tests a person’s memory power by performing multiple tasks simultaneously) at which Mr Jaynesh Jain, a young disciple of Acharya Chandanaji, demonstrated his unique skills and talent by memorizing in about 45 minutes 50 questions, objects, and statements asked by a live audience of over 400 youths and adults, and then immediately recalling them and answering the questions in any order prescribed.

We heartily thank each and every volunteer and all the attendees for making this convention successful.

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