Israel (Bahá'í pilgrimage) - Czech Republic - India - Bulgaria - Quebec - Netherlands - France - Croatia - England

In addition to short trips for conferences and seminars to Rome, Acuto (Italy), England and other places, my major trips for the year began in February with a nine-day pilgrimage to the Bahá'í Holy Places in and around Haifa, Israel, my first visit since 1972 (see separate page). While in Prague in late May for a meeting on our values-based indicators project, the group took a little time to visit the gardens of Prague Castle. From there I went immediately for a week to India with a chance to spend three days in a remote village. In June I had another trip to Brighton (UK) and in July I spent two weeks with my brother Greg and his family in Bulgaria, mostly on the Black Sea coast. Most of August I was in Quebec visiting my son Alex and his family. In September I went twice to the Netherlands for a meeting of the Partnership for Education and research for Responsible Living (PERL) and the annual conference of the European Baha'i Business Forum. There were two more working trips to Brighton in the fall, along with another ECPD conference in the Brioni Islands, Croatia (see last year for more pictures) and a Baha'i institute in the French Alps, with a chance to climb up to a high alpine lake after the first early snow. December was our International Conference on values-based indicators in Brighton, combined with the annual conference of the International Environment Forum. For a complete report of that conference, including videos and photo album, see


For my wonderful pilgrimage to Haifa and Akka in February, see the separate page on my Pilgrimage.

Baha'i Gardens, Haifa . Arthur Dahl on terraces . Bahji


Prague Castle
Main gate, Prague Castle . Prague Castle . central fountain
Main gate

Cathedral . Cathedral door . Cathedral
A gothic church is inside the castle walls

castle from gardens . castle tower . garden monument
Behind the castle are beautiful castle gardens

gardens . gardens .

gymnasium . falcons
There is a royal gymnasium for sports, and falcons for falconry

Changing of the guard . Prague from the castle . Indicators group
The changing of the guard, a view of Prague from the castle, and our group for the ESD indicators project

Prague streets below the castle . building
Streets of Prague


I spent a week in India to teach the first module in a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Sustainable Development and the Role of Technology, organized jointly by EPFL (the University of Technology in Lausanne) and the Indian Institute of Science in Banglore (the Tata Institute). We took the students for three days to live in rural villages, to see the reality of rural life and the challenges of technology transfer. I was fortunate to go with a group to the village of C.K. Pura, 170 km from Bangalore in Karnataka State, where our host, P.R. Sheshagiri Rao, is an environmental scientist who returned to his village 20 years ago to work on the problems of rural India while maintaining an international scientific career. He was able to introduce our participants to many people representing the major dimensions of village life.

Indian Institute of Science, main building . IISc gardens
Indian Institute of Science, main building and park-like campus

C.K. Pura Village, Karnataka State
village from roof . village from roof . entrance to Rao house

village and temple . students . students
Even the remote areas have towers for mobile phones. The students met a variety of villagers

Water is the big problem in this drought-prone region. When the village was established by Mr. Rao's ancestor 150 years ago, earthworks and dams were built around the village to store water, but with agriculture spreading up the watershed, there is less runoff and the "tanks" are mostly empty. Water must be pumped from the water table more than 100 meters down, but electricity is available only a few hours a day.
reservoir for water storage . dam . behind dam

well . silt removal
Even close to the dam, reservoirs are low. An expensive project to remove silt behind the dam failed to increase the water available.

Agriculture has been dominated by groundnuts (peanuts) as a cash crop for oil production, but its susceptibility to drought means that frequent crop failures drive the farmers deeper into debt. Mr. Rao and his team are researching alternatives like agroforestry.
field . field . field

Rao house and compound
wall and gate . entrance . entrance
Gateway through the wall of the fortified compound; entrance to Mr. Rao's house
shrine . chalk symbols on threshold . doorway
Every house has a Hindu shrine inside and often outside, and symbols drawn in chalk on the threshold

pillars in main room . pillars . Sheshagiri Rao and his son at their computers
The main room of the old house has a traditional wooden ceiling and four central posts

buffalo . granite fence
Behind the house are stable for buffalo; granite slabs are widely used for fencing

group photo . Sheshagiri Rao . Mrs. Rao
The group with our guides and interpreters; Mr. Rao explaining his soil moisture monitoring programme; Mrs. Rao

house . students . students
We slept on the floor in a house across the street. The students worked hard preparing their assessments of village life

students . students . group and RAo family
At the end of our stay, our group thanked the Rao family and our guides and interpreters

In another nearby village, a tribal group of shepherds migrate annually in search of fodder, using mobile phones to find the next farm to graze their sheep (farmers like this because it fertilizes their fields).
shepherd and sheep

The trip back to Bangalore on difficult rural roads provided glimpses of the Indian countryside
workers on road . road . dirt road

field . agave hedge . field

village . village . town


In July I joined my brother Greg and his family in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, and drove across Bulgaria to spend 10 days in his apartment in St. Vlas on the Black Sea coast north of Burgas. The apartment is in The Garden of Eden, a hotel resort complex on the beach with three restaurants, six swimming pools, and a market just below their apartment. Apart from some work repairing and finishing the apartment, most of the time we spent on the beach or in one of the resort swimming pools. I often watched the kids while Greg and Emi shopped to finish equiping the apartment.  My nieces and nephew are good swimmers, so they spent a lot of time in the water, or trying to stand upright on an air mattress which I held for them. In the evening we played games or watched old films.

building with their apartment . view from their balcony . main pool
The building with their apartment and an indoor pool, the view from their balcony, and the main pool and hotel restaurant

on the way to the beach . past another pool . beach front
Greg, Emi and the kids going down to the beach for sun, sand and swim

at the beach . in the Black Sea . the Dahl family
Greg, Emi and the children at the moderately crowded beach

Joyce Dahl . Gregory Dahl
The twins: Joyce getting a tan, and Gregory preparing to swim

in the pool . Joyce, Mina and Gregory . Emi with the children
Joyce, Gregory and Mina with their air mattresses, and Emi with the children

the beach and wharf . the beach . fish restaurant and coastline
The beach in front of the resort, with its fish restaurant and undeveloped coastline beyond


Since for once I had no major commitments in the summer, I went to Quebec from 10 to 27 August to visit my son Alexander, his wife Mahalia, and Jérémie, Benjamin and Alie, with a visit to Mahalia's mother Lise's new farm, and three days at the Quebec Bahá'í Summer School. There was time for excursions and a night at the Cirque du Soleil, as well as painting the deck.

Alex, Mahalia, Benji and Alie at Lise's farm . Lise's farm
Lise's farm goes up to the top of the hill, and used to have a rope tow to the top for winter skiing

Lake, Parc national de Frontanac . Benji, Alie and Alex . Mahalia and ducks
We took a rowboat across the lake in Frontanac National Park

Lise, Mahalia and family . Picnic . Mahalia, Benji, Lise
There was time for a swim and a picnic with friendly ducks

Alie . Benji
My grandchildren, Alie and Benji
Thetford Mines . Thetford Mines . sterile asbestos mining waste
We drove through Thetford Mines, a town surrounded by mountains of asbestos mining tailings

start of the stairs . Benji . Alex and Alie
Another excursion to St. Anne de Beaupré took us down 400 steps to a waterfall

top of the falls . waterfall . base of falls

Alex and kids . Benji and friend . Benji

Alex and Alie . Alex and Alie . Benji and friend

Alex and Alie

The Quebec Bahá'í Summer School brought together about 160 people in a forest camp near a lake. There were adult and children's classes, recreational activities, and evening entertainment.
Quebec Baha'i Summer School . summer school . summer school performance

Sebastien, Alie, Mahalia . Alie and Monique . Alex and Sebastian
It was a chance to meet old friends like Sebastian and Monique, and make new ones
football . football . Benji football
A football game included players from 4 to 50+

family . performance
In the evenings, some watched while others performed

dance Mahalia Alie . dance Alex Alie
The school concluded with a dance, which Alie particularly liked


The European Bahá'í Business Forum held its annual conference at the de Poort conference centre near Nijmegen in The Netherlands. We had an EBBF Governing Board meeting before the conference, and the usual high level of talks, panels, workshops and informal networking. As usual, I was asked to give a closing summary of the conference.

new logo We lauched a new logo and rebranding of EBBF

audience . panel . workshop

the conference organizers, Jason and Daniel . George Starcher . networking at mealtime
Jason Maude and Daniel Truran were the main conference organizers, and my old friend George Starcher, President of EBBF


I gave two classes at a Bahá'í autumn camp on Environment and Health in the mountain village of La Chapelle d'Abondance in late October. One afternoon we hiked up to the high alpine Lac d'Arvouia. Snow came early to the Alps this year.

Alps . Baha'is walking up the path . Alps

mountain path . path through the forest . path

Alps . Alps . Lac d'Arvouia

lake and alpageLake . Baha'is at lake
Lac d'Arvouia surrounded by peaks


I again represented the International Environment Forum at the European Center on Peace and Development's 6th International Conference on National and Inter-Ethnic Reconciliation, Religious Tolerance and Human Security in the Balkans, on 28-29 October 2010 on the Brioni Islands, Croatia, on the theme "Implementing Human Security". I co-chaired one session with Sir James Mancham, Founding President of the Republic of Seychelles, and gave a paper on "Interstate Collaboration for Human Security: The Lessons from Copenhagen". Participants included former Ministers and Presidents, religious leaders, government officials and academics from across the western Balkans.

Sir James Mancham and Arthur Dahl . Arthur Dahl . Arthur Dahl


In December, I had multiple hats at the international conference at the University of Brighton, UK, on "Making the Invisible Visible" about values-based indicators of education for sustainable development. The conference both presented the results of the two-year research project on values-based indicators that I helped to lead, and was the 14th Conference of the International Environment Forum (see for a full report). I also gave my public inaugural lecture as Visiting Professor at the University of Brighton.

IEF members at Brighton conference
IEF members at the Conference, from left: Arthur Dahl, Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Wendi Momen, Maxwell Ayamba, Onno Vinkhuyzen, Jason Maude, Daniel Truran, Ezio Lanfranconi

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Last updated 3 April 2011

Photographs copyright © Arthur Lyon Dahl 2010