International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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37th IVU World Vegetarian Congress
Goa, India, September 10-16, 2006
Healthy Lifestyle - Vegetarian Way!

Comments and Stories from the Congress

The 20 Countries represented by people at Goa:
Asia-Pacifc Region: Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand
Europe: France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, UK
Latin America & Caribbean: Brazil
North America: Canada, USA

". . . the Chinese Vegetarian Union delegation (21 or more people) that came to the WVC . . . were impressive - professional, outgoing, and charming, even with pretty limited English. They joined IVU" - Saurabh, USA

"I was in China on business trip during the congress and the Chinese press through their English paper carried a full story of the delegation of Chinese Vegetarians that visited the World Vegetarian congress in Goa. The story was very interesting and a very good publicity for IVU international image. I was very impressed when I read this in my Hotel. They listed a lot of Vegetarian Restaurants and I visited 2 of them and had good rapport with the owners and workers. They talked more on the health and environmental benefits vegetarian lifestyle will bring into China. Chinese Vegetarian Union should be supported in any way we can to help them sustain their good work." - Isaac, South Africa

(see: How the Chinese Delegation arrived in Goa)

"I would like to congratulate Jashu Shah and all the team for a wonderful congress. There was a buzz and that extra Indian hospitality--the cultural programmes were superb as was the food. I was thrilled to hear of the Vegetarian Society of Goa and of course the Chinese and Indonesian delegations really raised the spirits! Was pleased to see so many Parsis---talks on Yoga and alternative medicine were informative. Just a pity that there was hardly any media coverage. The hotel was superb and I made good use of the swimming pool and the sauna and Jacuzzi! Made so many new friends and new contacts. The Brazilian contingent seemed to be really enjoying the congress specially the cultural programmes and some were in Saris looking beautiful!

I hope that those who came to India for the first time went on to see more of India--I came by train from Mumbai to Goa as did many others---it was a chance to experience the real India with all the humanity at the railway terminal. Spent the whole night and arrived at almost 1pm the next day---people in the next cabin were also going to the congress--but with typical British reserve I only plucked up the courage to ask when we had almost arrived in Goa! The Jains as expected were present in good numbers and had Jain food--the rest of us also indulged in it as extra choices! The Vegan sweets were superb and the gentleman who was giving a 'cleansing' juice everyday seems to have done me some good! The Buddhist monk from Thailand chanted the most soothing mantras on my head and I really felt full of energy afterwards!

It was wonderful to see how 2 faiths-Christians and Hindus seem to be living in perfect harmony in Goa. The Church of St. Francis was one of my places to remember. Indian vegetarians were very willing to be persuaded about the benefits of a Vegan diet and that is very encouraging in a land where milk consumption is so common. The British delegation led by John Davis, Steven Walsh and Vanessa as well as Jayant Patel kept the flag flying! All in all it was like meeting old friends --and there was a lot if teasing and laughter and I tried very hard to persuade some of the hotel staff who were serving us all day long to go veggie!" - Nitin, UK

Just to say thank you to all the organisers for throwing such a wonderful congress. I was a World Congress virgin and I am inspired to go to more.

The venue was out of this world (will I be able to survive without the turn down service every evening- such luxury!) The pool was the biggest I´ve ever seen in my life. I liked the way there was a bar midway round the circuit with music for a bit of a water disco. The grounds were amazing and the food stupendous. The vegan desserts were all works of art in my opinion.

I took advantage of the morning yoga sessions (ok so I made it up for 6.30am twice!) and was impressed by the quality of the teaching (yoga for therapy). I learnt a lot and sucked up the information and support I have been craving as I attempt the transit from vegetarian to vegan. I feel like I´m coming out of the closet as a vegetarian and recognise the importance of fellowship which I feel lacking in my life in this area. I was very inspired by people at the congress and return realising that this is indeed a big area of my life and how hard I find it in Spain...

I liked the spiritual focus to many of the talks and the holistic perspective. It was truly mind, body and spirit as many of us got up after the traditional dancers´ performances and started whirling about ourselves (just what you need after hours of concentration on so many different topics).

The tour on the Wednesday was also cool. I liked seeing the temples and the garland makers and the beach. What a wonderful adventure! I feel blessed to have been able to go. Thanks again to everyone for all your energy, love and dedication. - Clare, Spain.

Going to India has been the best trip I have ever taken-the food, the exotic scenery and the wonderful, friendly people were far beyond my expectations! The congress was great for me, start to finish. I loved the fact that the sessions, the food and the cultural entertainment were dintinctive to India. I spent a lot of time in sessions learning more about Ayurveda/yoga/meditation and was very impressed with the spiritual nature of the gathering. I also loved hearing the inspiring stories of vegetarian groups starting up against all odds, like the Iran Vegetarian Union and the China Vegetarian Union. Sincere thanks to Jashu Shah and his committe and all the volunteers for a truly memorable congress. This is my fourth congress, and I always try to meet delegates from all the countries. I missed Norway and Indonesia this time, but will make a point to seek them out in Dresden.

Thanks to Atul Jain and his generosity, a few of us had a whirlwind Golden Triangle post-congress tour that left us wanting to come back
to India as soon as possible. Seeing the Taj Mahal was a dream come true and along with the comeraderie of my new friends from the
congress made it a completely incredible experience. Incredible India-YEAH!!! Joan, USA

The venue, food, staff, facilities, presentations were excellent. However September falls in the monsoon season and it did rain for a few days. I enjoyed the Congress and was heartened to see such enthusiastic delegates as those from China. When the Indonesian delegation talked about 60000 members but ONLY 20000 being active I couldn't help myself bursting into laughter. Later I went to their leader, shook hand and said 'by those figures your are the largest Vegetarian Society in the world even dwarfing the UK Society with its 16000 members.' Indonesians were confident of doubling or trebling the membership. Pishu Murli from Malaysia gave a very good example of how to use the media most effectively. I hope many countries take part in his 'meatless day' campaign. It seemed to me that in the coming years the focus on vegetarian movement was going to shift from Western countries to Asia. I congratulate Jashu Shah and his team for their hard work.

In future events, please, use the afternoon sessions for lectures. On the penultimate day many lectures were at the same time and many delegates were disappointed that they could not listen to all the speakers they had wanted to. This situation had arisen at Goa due to the policy of confining such lectures to mornings.

- Jayant, UK

". . . And then there was the fabulous food - all those wonderful Jain dishes and then the wonderful desserts without any animal products whatever . . . by the end of the week the new friends were like old friends as well! I will certainly be at the next event in India myself. My only previous knowledge of India was as a staging point in my many journeys to China, but I knew that if I ever stopped I would be bound to get addicted. Well, I did and I can't wait to get back!" - Vanessa, UK

I have learnt a lot during and after the Congress and from the wisdom of the wise people I had the pleasure of interacting with. All these experiences and advises are, no doubt, going to help me in organising the Indian Vegan Society's future programs and events. - Shankar, India

Jashu and his wife have certainly earned a much deserved rest after concluding this most auspicious event that was many years in the making.

The Closing Ceremony featured many dignitaries from all walks of life whose professions: Legal, Political, Medical, etc., were most impressive, as was their knowledge and research on the importance a vegetarian diet to bring health and peace to all sentient beings as well as the planet. The research done on the history of vegetarianism, as well as the many quotes by august world figures, as presented by the recently appointed Judge from Goa (one of Jashu's former Law Mentors), was quite memorable.

Mrs. Shah had been so engrossed in all the efforts to bring the event to pass, she confessed she didn't even realize the Closing Banquet fell on her birthday. Few would have known had it not been for the vivacious, young Chinese girl who headed up the Chinese Delegation. She rushed up to the podium just as the ceremony had been adjourned, and called us all back to sing a hearty HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MRS. SHAH! - Gerry, USA

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