YJA conventions are organized and hosted every two years for over 750 Jain youth, aged 14–29, from across the globe. Each convention is organized by a team of 35-40 individuals – students and young professionals – from across North America. The goal of each convention is to create a space for Jain youth to be inspired: it is a unique opportunity for us to explore and deepen our understanding of our faith by learning from our peers, leaders in our community, and a diverse range of guest speakers.

YJA conventions are divided into three main tracks:

  • High School
  • College
  • Jain Networking Forum (JNF) (ages 21-29)

Attendees are able to select their track based on their age and current status in school, ensuring they have access to the sessions and activities most relevant to them. Each convention’s Daytime Programming and Social events tie the overall theme together, and the unique experiences and memories of Convention result in lifelong friendships and communities. By interacting with attendees of all ages, youth get to see how Jainism is a source of support and guidance throughout various phases of their life.

Daytime Programming

Daytime Programming sessions are conducted by speakers both from within and outside the Jain community, keeping Jainism and its values alive in the hearts and minds of youth, while also opening them up to new perspectives. We are also honored to have monks, nuns, and scholars, many who make the journey from India, speak at our conventions. We plan a diverse range of sessions suitable for those attending their first convention as well as those attending their sixth.

Nighttime Programming

Nighttime Programming activities consist of a Talent Show, a Garba Night, a Formal Dance, and other exciting mixers! These events allow attendees to interact with each other, forming new friendships and everlasting memories in a safe and comfortable environment.

Hospitality

Each attendee’s registration fee includes registration for the convention, hotel accommodations, and admission to all activities. Delicious Jain and vegan food is served during the convention, including a variety of cuisines from Mexican to Italian to Indian. No onions, potatoes, garlic, root vegetables, meats, or animal byproducts are distributed or used to prepare the meals. Additionally, we have a 24/7 “Hospitality Suite” where youth can stop by to grab a light, healthy snack between sessions or events.

Jain Networking Forum

JNF programming tailors the Convention experience towards the needs and interests of post-undergraduate attendees. Aiming to foster professional and social relationships, all JNF programming allows attendees the opportunity to meet a variety of individuals through interactive sessions and unique social events, while creating lasting connections with individuals who are successful in a variety of careers.

Attendee Expectations

To create a safe and open environment for everyone, we expect that all convention attendees conduct themselves in a polite, professional manner. We also enforce a strict dress code during each convention in order to foster a professional image. Our dress code is used to promote a more productive, enjoyable social environment, while maintaining a high level of respect for speakers. We also could not conduct convention successfully without our adult volunteers. Any amount of time, from four hours to the length of the entire convention, helps us to provide the best experience possible for attendees!

Past YJA Conventions

Year Convention City Theme
1994 First Chicago, IL Region and Culture: Learning For Tomorrow
1996 Second San Francisco, CA Jainism: Integrating Philosophy & Practice
1998 Third Houston, TX Jainism: Back to Basics
2000 Fourth Los Angeles, CA Four Day's Journey into The Self
2002 Fifth Mahwah, NJ Walking the Path of Jainism
2004 Sixth Santa Clara, CA YJAin? To See, To Know, To Realize
2006 Seventh Stamford, CT Jain Evolution: Making Our Life Our Message
2008 Eight Lincolnshire, IL Generation Jain: Jainism Your Way
2010 Ninth New Brunswick, NJ Inspire. Connect. Do the Jain Thing.
2012 Tenth Tampa, FL iJain: Evolution of a Mind
2014 Eleventh Arlington, VA Young Jains: Today’s Learners, Tomorrow’s Leaders
2016 Twelfth Los Angeles, CA Young Jains: Agents of Change
2018 Thirteenth Rosemont, IL Reconnecting With Our Roots