England - Copenhagen - Delft
Wedding of Sylvia Karlsson and Onno Vinkhuyzen
Grenoble and Savoie, and Rouen, France
Bulgaria - Bornholm Island, Denmark
IEF Conference in Washington, D.C. - Quebec
Rovinj and Brioni Islands, Croatia
Windsor Castle, United Kingdom
Malaga, Spain

My traveling started early in 2009, returning from Quebec on 1 January and leaving for England on the 2nd for the big Baha'i conference. I did not take my camera on short trips for meetings and lectures in Cambridge, Brighton, Rome, Berlin, Paris and Prague, but I did get some pictures of the International Climate Change Science Congress in Copenhagen, and of the beautiful city of Delft while attending a dear friend's wedding. Other trips followed, including a vacation with my brother and his family in Bulgaria, visits to Rouen, Bornholm, Malaga and Croatia while speaking or teaching, and a wonderful celebration at Windsor Castle of the launching of the Bahá'í International Community Plan of Action on Climate Change. The year ended with the International Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.


I had to go to England for work at the University of Brighton in connection with our values-based indicators project, but I was also able to attend the regional Baha'i conference in London on 3-4 January 2009. There were over 3100 participants, mostly from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Scandinavia. It was a very inspiring occasion.

London Conference . London Conference

London Conference . Workshops
The enormous hall was packed with Baha'is from many backgrounds. Workshops allowed participants from each country to plan their own activities.

Counsellor Birkland . Counsellor 
Two representatives of the Universal House of Justice from the International Teaching Centre addressed the conference

A choir assembled for the occasion by the Irish Baha'is provided the finale.


The International Climate Change Science Congress in Copenhagen on 10-12 March was intended to summarise the latest scientific views on climate change before the intergovernmental conference on climate change in Copenhagen in December 2009. I attended for the International Environment Forum, along with Sylvia Karlsson, the IEF General Secretary. My presentation was on "The response to climate change from the Baha'i community" and featured the relevant IEF conferences and related events.

Over 2200 scientists participated in the congress with over 600 presentations. The plenary talks in particular were excellent but depressing, as everyone said that climate change was preceding faster than the worst predictions of the IPCC two years ago.
Plenary Plenary session

conference centre . conference centre . conference centre
Bella Centre where the congress was held, and where the December intergovernmental conference will take place

Poster and exhibit area
Exhibit area for posters

Sylvia Karlsson presenting her paper on energy governance
Sylvia Karlsson speaking  Panel with Sylvia Karlsson Panel with Sylvia Karlsson

IEF poster presented by Arthur Dahl
 . IEF poster . Arthur Dahl and poster


Delft is a beautiful small city with canals through its historic centre and some lovely old buildings. The following are some glimpses from a stroll through the town centre, before walking to a park near to the city for Sylvia Karlsson's wedding in the afternoon.

canal with houses . canal and church steeple

Old houses
house . house . doorway

City hall and church at opposite sides of the central square
city hall, back side . city hall . square and church

steeple  Old farmhouse along canal old farmhouse on canal

Views in the park next to Delft where the wedding took place
park and canal . canal and bridge

trees and canal . ducks . trees and canal

Wedding of Sylvia Karlsson and Onno Vinkhuyzen
Delft, 21 March 2009

Dr. Sylvia Karlsson from Sweden, a long-time friend and General Secretary of the International Environment Forum, encountered Onno Vinkhuyzen, a Dutch member of the European Baha'i Business Forum, at the joint conference of the two organizations last September. The relationship blossomed, and they married on 21 March, the first day of Spring and Naw-Ruz (the Baha'i New Year), in a small tea house in the park not far from the centre of Delft.

Wendi Momen, master of ceremonies . readers . arrival of the bride and groom
Wendi Momen presided                               Some of the readers                                          Arrival of the bride and groom

start of the ceremony . signing the marraige certificate
The start of the ceremony                                                                      Witnesses signing the wedding certificate

the rings . the happy couple . the mother of the bride
The rings                                              At the end of the ceremony                                                                     Congratulations of the bride's mother

first embrace . receiving the guests . cutting the cake . exchanging mouthfuls
The first hug                                                Receiving the guests                                        Cutting the cake, and exchanging mouthfuls

the wedding party
Group photo of the wedding party

with the mothers of the bride and groom . Mr & Mrs Vinkhuyzen
With the mothers of the bride and groom                               The happy couple

A walk through the park along the canal before the wedding dinner
walking along the canal . on the walk

walking . walking

Grenoble and Savoie, France

When a young Dutch intern, Lieuwe Vinkhuyzen, came to work with me for two weeks in May 2009, I showed him some of the sights, including Geneva and the Saleve (see the Switzerland page) and my chalet (see the activities page), as well as a visit to my good friend and island specialist Christian Depraetere in Grenoble. We also drove through the Massif des Bauges on the way back.

Christian Depraetere and Lieuwe Vinkhuyzen . Lieuwe and Christian . Arthur Dahl and Lieuwe Vinkhuyzen
Christian asked Lieuwe to make a traditional Dutch recipe for lunch

St. Pierre d'Albigny . Les Bauges
Views from above St. Pierre d'Albigny (where we used to live) and in the Bauges


In June 2009, I spent two weeks with my brother Greg and his family (Emi, the twins Joyce and Gregory, and Mina) who live in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. They made it into a real vacation with some days in two different mountain resorts hiking and swimming. Some of the pictures of Bulgarian mountain scenery and streams can also be seen on my photo page.

houses in Dolen . old house in Dolen . Dolen
Traditional Bulgarian houses in the village of Dolen

Dolen Gregy liked to try to remove stones from the road

In many places along the road, people split stones for the construction industry, but with the recession, business was not good

countryside near Dolen . stone splitting . on the way to Devin

We spent a few days in the spa town of Devin, famous for its mineral water. The hotel had a nice indoor pool, so we swam every day.
Devin . Devin . Devin
Views from our hotel in the spa town of Devin, known for its mineral water

The river above Devin winds through a rocky gorge, where the trail in some places is suspended over the water on a boardwalk. We hiked up the river, stopped for a picnic lunch, went as far as a farm above the gorge where we stopped to play Rummy-o, and then walked back down again, admiring wildflowers and butterflies, and taking many pictures of the rocks and water (see my photo page).
Canyon above Devin . river above Devin . canyon above Devin

Joyce, Mina and Emi . family on the trail . picnic lunch
Joyce, Mina, Emi and Gregy, and the picnic lunch by river

Emi and children by the stream . on the board walk . Greg photographing
The Dahl family, and Greg taking pictures
children in a meadow . Gregy and Joyce in the meadow . Joyce with butterfly
The farm above the gorge where we stopped to play Rummy-o, and a butterfly landed on Joyce

butterfly on flower .

From Devin, we made an excursion to Yagodina, with a spectacular gorge and caves with beautiful stactites and stalagmites.

gorge of Yagodina . car in gorge of Yagodina . gorge of Yagodina

We stopped for a night in the ski resort of Bansko where the kids had gone for a school outing. A spring-fed stream gushed through the forest.
mountain stream at Bansko . children along stream, Bansko . Mina and Joyce
Mina and Joyce in the forest

Greg and Emi . Emi . Greg, Emi and Gregy
Greg and Emi, and Gregy

Bornholm, Denmark

At the beginning of August 2009, I went to the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic, to teach at the Danish Bahá'í Summer School. The school was a short walk from the beach, and we also had a day of rest in mid-school to visit some parts of the island, which is also an artists' colony.
school . summer school 
The school buildings, and the Danish Bahá'í Summer School

solar oven   View from centre of Bornholm view from highest point .
A solar oven made in a practical workshop (left); From the highest point on Bornholm where a tower has been built, you can barely see the sea (right)

windmill . fish smoking chimney
Windmill in Svaneke, now an ecological centre and restaurant, and old chimney for smoking fish

view from windmill . Baha'is by windmill
View from the windmill; some Bahá'ís at lunch

Coast at Gudhjem . Gudhjem
Coastline and houses at Gudhjem, on the north side of the island

harbor at Gudhjem . harbor at Gudhjem
Harbor at Gudhjem
Norresan, artist Oluf Host's home and now gallery . Ole, Jane, Gird
Norresan, artist Oluf Høst's home and now gallery; Ole, Jane and Gird, who took me around the island

RundKirke, Osterlang . Rund Kirke
Medieval round church, Rundkirke, in Osterlars, that also served as a defensive tower and refuge from invaders

path to the beach . forest
Path from the school to the beach

beach . port at Ronne
Beach near Ronne, and Ronne harbor in the distance

Washington, D.C., USA

On 13-16 August 2009, the International Environment Forum held its 13th Conference in Washington, D.C., in association with the annual conference of the Association for Bahá'í Studies - North America. There were nearly a thousand participants. A full report is on the IEF web site.

plenary hall . IEF exhibit
The plenary hall; an IEF exhibit

Arthur Dahl . Arthur Dahl
I gave the opening keynote on "Transforming environments from the inside out"

IEF paper session . IEF paper session
IEF paper sessions
Larry Staudt . Sam .
Speakers Larry Staudt (left) and Samuel Benoit (right)

Tahirih Naylor-ThimmCarol Curtis
Speakers Tahirih Naylor-Thimm (left) and Carol Curtis (right)

workshopsEmily Firth and Diana Cartwright
Workshops (left); new IEF board members Emily Firth and Diana Cartwright (right)

Quebec, Canada

After the IEF conference, I stopped for a few days in Quebec to visit my son Alex and his family. The time was too short for many pictures, but I did get one of my granddaughter Alie, and my step-grandson Jérémie and a friend stenciled a t-shirt especially for me.

Alie Gagnon-DahlJérémie and friend stencil t-shirts
My granddaughter Alie (left); my step-grandson Jérémie and friend custom stencil me a t-shirt (right)

stenciling . stenciling

Rouen, France

In October 2009, I took the train to Rouen and Caen in the north of France to speak on climate change and its ethical implications for an inter-faith group in Rouen and some environmental associations in Caen, both organized with the collaboration of local Bahá'ís. There was a little time to walk around Rouen and see some of the architectural beauties of the capital of Normandy.

Market . Market
Architecturally stunning market and church

Market . Jeanne d'Arc's martyr spot
Next to the market (right) is the spot where Joan of Arc is supposed to have been burned at the stake

brasserie . househouse
Old houses and businesses

clock . ceiling in clock tower . by clock
Clock tower and gate with sculptured ceiling

cathedral . cathedral . cathedral
Rouen Cathedral
cathedral . cathedral

church . church . church door
One of many old churches

Palais de Justice . Palais de Justice
The Palace of Justice, badly damaged during the war and under restoration for 50 years

Palais de Justice . Palais de Justice - gargoyle
Palace of Justice, with a restored gargoyle

street . street . street
Narrow streets in the old centre of Rouen

Chamber of Commerce . door . street
The Chamber of Commerce, and interesting architectural details everywhere

Rovinj, Croatia

On 27 October I traveled to Rovinj, an historic city on the Istrian Peninsula of northern Croatia, as the emissary of a large number of former colleagues and admirers of Stjepan Keckes, founder of the Regional Seas Programme of the United Nations Environment Programme, the Mediterranean Action Plan and Barcelona Convention, and many other regional action plans and conventions. I had been Stjepan's deputy for a few years in Nairobi and consider him one of the most outstanding people I have had the pleasure to work with. Stjepan has always refused any awards or credit for what he has accomplished, so through a world-wide conspiracy of his many friends, we created a unique award in his honour, the Siren Award 2009, as well as a web site with tributes from most of his friends and colleagues over the last 50 years. It fell to me to surprise him with the presentation of this award.

presenting award to Stjepan KeckesSK . A Dahl and S Keckes
Presenting the Siren Award 2009 to Stjepan Keckes

presenting the web siteAD searching web site 
Showing Stjepan the web site created for him by his many friends

lunch with Mera Keckes . AD at lunch . AD
Lunch with Mera Keckes and Stjepan by their beautiful garden (photos by Stjepan Keckes)

Stjepan and his lovely wife Mira hosted me for the night at their beautiful house with a lush garden and view of the Adriatic Sea, fed me Croatian delicacies, and left some time for me to visit the old city of Rovinj.

old town . plaza by port . SK in bistro 
The old city of Rovinj is on the end of a peninsula. The plaza by the port has popular bistros where Stjepan waited for me

A Dahl . street . church
Having a juice with Stjepan (he had something stronger). Polished stone streets, and the church on the hill

gate to old town . doorway . street . street
The gate to the old town; narrow streets and doorways

municipal office . building . church
City Hall, old tobacco factory, now a university centre, and the church on the top of the hill facing the sea

waterfront from church . park
Views from the front of the church

coastline . coastline

port . port
The port full of fishing boats and pleasure boats

port . boats

market . market
The market

Stjepan then drove me to Pula to catch the boat to the Brioni Islands.

Brioni Islands, Croatia

The European Center for Peace and Development, associated with the UN University for Peace, invited me to its 5th International Conference on National and Inter-Ethnic Reconciliation, Religious Tolerance and Human Security in the Balkans, where I gave a paper on "Human Security and Climate Change - the Ethical Challenge". The conference was held on the Brioni Islands off the Istrian Peninsula near the city of Pula, Croatia, in a hall previously used by the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Yugoslavia. A little time was set aside to visit the main island, which had been developed as a resort by an Austrian industrialist early in the 20th century, before becoming the main residence of Marshall Tito, where he governed Yugoslavia and received many heads of state and celebrities. The islands are now a national park open to the public, except some houses reserved for government use.

map . hotel
Map of the National Park, and the hotel where our conference took place

harbor . boathouse . chapel
The harbour, the old boat house from the Austrian period, and a chapel dating from Venetian times

forest . deer on golf course . beach
The island has been reforested, but numerous deer keep the vegetation clear and mow the golf course; one of the swimming beaches

safari . zebras . olive tree 1600 yrs old
There is a safari park and former zoo where Tito kept the animals he received as gifts; one olive tree is 1,600 years old

Windsor Castle, England

On 2-4 November 2009, I went to Windsor, United Kingdom, where representatives of nine major faiths gathered to celebrate their long-term action plans for a living planet, addressing climate change and the environment. The International Environment Forum had helped the Bahá'í International Community in the preparations, and I was one of two BIC representatives for the launching of the Bahá'í International Community's Seven Year Plan of Action for Climate Change. The event was organized by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh received us at Windsor Castle on 3 November, together with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and both presented us as representatives of the Bahá'í International Community with certificates of appreciation from the United Nations and from ARC for the action plan. A full report is on the IEF web site, and the ARC web page about the celebration is courtesy of ARC/Richard Stonehouse)

Procession to Windsor Castle . Prince Philip and Ban Ki-moon . Celebration in Waterloo Room
We made a procession to and from Windsor Castle, with banners for all of the faiths (left). HRH Prince Philip and Ban Ki-moon with the certificates (center). The celebration was held in the Waterloo Room, with over 200 representatives of religions and secular environmental groups in attendence. Since Bahá'í comes first in alphabetical order, the BIC representatives are first row center (right). There were 31 faith-based action plans launched in Windsor, and 6 more announced to come later.

Receiving certificates We were the first to receive the certificates of appreciation while a summary of the action plan was read out. From left to right, Arthur Dahl and Tahirih Naylor representing the Bahá'í International Community, Prince Philip, Martin Palmer (Secretary-General of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation), and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. 

Receiving certificates  

 BIC reps Tahirih Naylor and Arthur Dahl . Tahirih Naylor and Arthur Dahl
Bahá'í International Community representatives Tahirih Naylor and Arthur Dahl

Group of religious leaders
The dignitaries of nine religions launching their action plans at Windsor, with Prince Philip and Ban Ki-moon
(I am in back, third from the right)

After the presentation of the certificates and a keynote address by Ban Ki-moon, we had the first all vegen banquet in an English royal residence in the hall of the Knights of the Garter, followed by a musical/theatrical performance drawing on all the faith traditions. There were also workshops on the days before and after the ceremony where we could exchange experience among the religions and with secular environmental organizations.

After the Windsor event, I went to the University of Brighton, which has now made me a Visiting Professor, to chair the consortium group meeting of the EU-funded project on values-based indicators of education for sustainable development. We took a break the evening of Guy Fawkes' Day to watch the torchlight parades, bonfires and fireworks in Lewes, dramatic and rather pagan, with loud firecrackers thrown everywhere. On the weekend I returned to London to speak for the Bahá'í community of Barnet at its Dignitaries Meeting, and went back to Brighton for a talk on coral reefs at a Bahá'í fireside and two more days work at the university, before returning to Geneva.

Malaga, Spain

On 19-22 November I went to Malaga, Spain for the International Union on Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for a global meeting on islands. Because of the importance of islands for evolution and the conservation of biological diversity, IUCN has launched an Islands Initiative with a full-time programme officer, and is hosting a coordinator for the Global Islands Partnership (GLISPA). I have been asked to lead a thematic group on island ecosystems with experts from the IUCN Commissions in support of this initiative. This was my first time to visit Malaga since I passed through over Christmas vacation in 1961, when I was a student in France. We were staying close to the cathedal, so I snapped a few pictures in the neighborhood.

map of downtown Malaga . cathedral doorsport
Map of Malaga, with its castle on a forested mountain, and the sea port to the south. The cathedral doors are ornate

The cathedral shows the wealth that came with the Spanish empire in the New World
cathedral . cathedral right tower . cathedral tower . cathedral side door
The chathedral is surrounded by buildings and hard to photograph. Its right tower was never finished. Even the side door is elaborate

garden by cathedral . bishop's palace . square
A small garden to the side of the cathedral.     The bishop's palace.     A square on the main thoroughfare

main street . street . shopping street
Street scenes. A pickpocket nearly took my wallet while I was taking one of the pictures.

For my trip to Copenhagen 2-19 December 2009 for the International Climate Change Conference, see the report with pictures on the International Environment Forum web site at

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Last updated 20 March 2015

Photographs copyright © Arthur Lyon Dahl 2009, except Windsor Castle