Leysin, Switzerland

The Swiss Baha'i WInter School was held on 26-31 December 2015 in the beautiful Alpine village and winter sports resort of Leysin, above Aigle in the Canton of Valais, the first time in many years that it was held in French-speaking Switzerland. With the unusually warm weather and lack of snow, it was more like a summer than winter school. About 215 participants gathered in a multilingual family atmosphere, including 17 infants, 19 children and 23 junior youth who developed spiritual qualities and built friendships under the loving guidance of their teachers and animators. The overall theme was the Covenant, with most adults studying Ruhi book 8 units in French, German, English and Persian, while others followed an alternative programme about the processes of integration and disintegration in the world. The high quality intensive courses were balanced by the lighter evening programmes with music and dancing, and the excellent conversations and food at mealtimes. The school attracted participants from France, Germany, Luxembourg and even China.

The village of Leysin

Leysan . Leysan . Leysan
Village of Leysin with views of the surrounding Alps

Hotel, Leysan . Hotel, Leysan . Leysan
Alpine Central Hotel where the school was held

church . unity in diversity . church wall hanging
Leysin church with a wall hanging on unity in diversity

Arthur Dahl, Sophie Menard, Marlon Walraven-Raming . Yasmin Farhoumand, Sophie Menard, Marlon Walraven-Raming . Leysan
On a walk in the village: me, Sophie Menard, Marlon Walraven-Raming and Yasmin Farhoumand

Swiss Baha'i Winter School

Opening the school, Agnes Dahl-Farhoumand . audience . Rahim Maslum
Agnes Dahl-Farhoumand (my daughter) opening the school on behalf of the NSA (Yasmin Farhoumand translating); audience; Rahim Maslum of the school committee

mealtime . mealtime . mealtime

classes . classes . classes
Classes were held in four different languages, since Switzerland is a multilingual country with a large international population

classes . classes . classes

classes . classes . classes

classes . alternative class . alternative class

Children and youth
infants . toddlers
Infants and toddlers had a large play area (my son-in-law Bahador helping my granddaughter Laleh to walk)

junior youth . junior youth
The junior youth had their own programme and produced a video

Evening programmes
dancing . dancing
Dancing helped to release energy after a day of studying

dancing . dancing . children's evening

children's evening . children's evening . children's evening
The children sang

children's evening . children's evening . music by Colin and Alex
Even the toddlers sang, with musical accompaniment (my granddaughter Lia in white)

Jean-Paul Vader & translator . Nabil Stendardo and Alaskan Greatest Name
There were programmes about the suffering of the Baha'is in Iran, and on homefront pioneering; Nabil Stendardo won a wall hanging from Alaska

Final evening programme
audience . final evening . final evening
On the last evening, everyone performed

final evening - children . final evening - children . final evening - masters of ceremonies
The toddlers were butterflies (my granddaughter Lia in white); the masters of ceremonies (in 3 languages)

final evening - children . final evening - children . final evening - children
The toddlers performed with cloth and scarves
final evening . final evening

final evening - children . final evening - children .
The children acted out a play about unity in diversity

final evening . final evening - children
They also danced and sang
final evening - children . final evening - children . final evening - children

final evening - junior youth . final evening - junior youth . final evening
The junior youth composed and sang their own songs

final evening - junior youth . final evening . final evening
The junior youth organized a game on cooperation; even some of the adult classes performed

Everyone returned home with new and renewed friendships and a determination to carry the spirit of the school forward in their own communities.

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Last updated 10 January 2016

Photographs copyright © Arthur Lyon Dahl and Nabil Stendardo 2016