The Lamp, volume 4 Number 1

The Lamp

A Newsletter Produced by the Wilmette Institute

Volume 4, Number 1, March 1999

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Debut of Studies in the Bahá'í Faith Program

      On January 1, 1999, the Wilmette Institute inaugurated its Studies in the Bahá'í Faith program, which offers distance-education courses on various aspects of the Faith and related topics. Enrollment is open to anyone who wishes to study the Bahá'í Faith seriously. The courses vary from two to six months in length and have no residential requirement. They aim to raise up knowledgeable teachers and administrators of the Bahá'í Faith by imparting knowledge; developing various skills, such as teaching skills; fostering Bahá'í identity; and nurturing a spirit of service.

      In addition to providing a rigorous, systematic program of study with knowledgeable, accessible instructors, courses in the Studies in the Bahá'í Faith program are flexible, allowing individuals to fit them into busy schedules. Work is divided into study units that take approximately six hours to complete. One or two units are assigned per month. "Free weeks" are occasionally scheduled to allow students to catch up if they have fallen behind. Furthermore, since there are no residential requirements and interaction takes place through mail, telephone, and primarily e-mail, individuals can take the courses from their home almost anywhere in the world. While students primarily reside in the United States, the Wilmette Institute has students living in Canada, Alaska, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, Hungary, and the Netherlands.

      At the present time the Studies in the Bahá'í Faith program includes two series of courses.

      The series "Exploring the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh" includes four courses covering Bahá'u'lláh's writings available in English and two courses on specific texts. The four courses on Bahá'u'lláh's entire revelation are divided by date: one covers works He revealed from 1853 to 1863 (currently underway); one covers works revealed from 1863 to 1868 (next offered July 1 to December 31, 1999); one covers 1868 to 1873 (next offered January 1 to June 30, 2000); and one covers 1874 to 1892 (next offered July 1 to December 31, 2000). The four courses can be
(Continued on page 3)

1999 Spiritual Foundations Residential Program

Taking Shape

      The Wilmette Institute is delighted to announce that a number of talented, knowledgeable, and diverse individuals have agreed to participate as instructors for the 1999-2000 year of the Spiritual Foundations for a Global Civilization program, which, during its fourth year, will focus on "Carrying Forward an Ever-Advancing Civilization." These instructors will be giving classes and workshops at the summer residential program, held July 17 through August 6, 1999, on an area of expertise related to the year's theme. Confirmed faculty are listed below.

      Dr. Iraj Ayman, a member of the Wilmette Institute Board, will speak about the theory and principles of education. Dr. Ayman received an Ed.D. and a Ph.D. in psychology. He completed postdoctoral studies at Harvard University. He is professor emeritus of the University
(Continued on page 4)
          BAHA'I FAITH PROGRAM..........1
          PROGRAM TAKING SHAPE..........1
          FOUNDATIONS PROGRAM...........2
          STARTING SOON.................2
          INSTITUTE COURSES.............8

Wilmette Institute * 536 Sheridan Road * Wilmette, IL 60091
Phone: (847) 733-3415 * Fax: (847) 733-3563 * 24-hour automated information line: (847) 733-3595
Email: * Website,

The Lamp, vol. 4, no. 1
March 1999

Time to Sign Up for the Spiritual
Foundations Program!

      Enrollment is open for the 1999-2000 year of the Wilmette Institute's Spiritual Foundations for a Global Civilization program. The theme of the fourth year is "Carrying Forward an Ever-Advancing Civilization."

      The year-long course will examine Bahá'u'lláh's social teachings, which `Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi interpreted and elaborated. The curriculum will also include a series of statements that elucidate and apply the Bahá'í social teachings. These include The Promise of World Peace (1986), Turning Point For All Nations (1995), The Prosperity of Humankind (1995), The Vision of Race Unity (1991), and Two Wings of a Bird (1997). Collectively, the statements identify issues facing humanity, emphasize their mutually reinforcing and overlapping natures, and outline the spiritual principles necessary for resolving them. Other topics included in the course will be science, agriculture, and the environment.
The program will also cover the history of the Bahá'í Faith from 1957 to the present, examine Bahá'í writings on global civilization, and build skills in conflict resolution, public relations, and media work.

      The 1999-2000 academic year begins on May 1 with two-and-a-half months of reading assignments that will prepare the students for the residential session held in Wilmette from July 17 to August 6, where students will explore the year's topics through lectures, discussion, and group work.

      In addition to class work, the residential session includes field trips, service opportunities at the House of Worship and Bahá'í National Center, homework, and community-forming activities. The residential session will end with a Farewell Dinner on August 6, 1999.

      The residential portion of the program is followed by the home study during which students complete additional reading assignments, participate in further discussion on the course listserver, and turn in assignments (firesides, deepenings, papers, artistic projects, and so on). The residential session runs from September 1, 1999, through March 31, 2000.

      Registration for the fourth year Spiritual Foundations program closes on April 9 or when maximum enrollment has been reached. For details on how to apply, see page 8.

Study of the Book of Certitude Starting Soon

            The Wilmette Institute is accepting registrations for "The Kitáb-i-Íqán and Related Texts," a six-month course beginning April 1. The course, which is part of the Studies in the Bahá'í Faith program (see page 1), will use Hooper Dunbar's new A Companion to the Study of the Kitáb-i-Íqán, an excellent commentary on the Book of Certitude, along with other material complied by the Institute.

            Tuition for the Kitáb-i-Íqán course is $225 ($180 per student if registering as a member of a local study group of three or more). The distance-education course resources include an e-mail listserver for students and faculty, regular conference calls, systematic lesson plans, and a wide variety of learning projects.

            For information on enrolling in the Kitáb-i-Íqán course, see page 8.

        The Lamp is the newsletter of the Wilmette Institute. The Institute was established in January 1995 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States to offer academic, professional, and service-oriented courses related to the Bahá'í Faith. The Wilmette Institute offers courses about the Bahá'í Faith that are at a university level of rigor and are often available for university credit. It is also interested in fostering Bahá'í scholarship; developing new, innovative curricular materials; creating courses on teaching the Faith that are of high quality; and refining Bahá'í concepts of pedagogy. It aims to produce teachers of the Bahá'í Faith of great capacity, capable of demonstrating Bahá'í truths in their lives as well as by their speech, and able to teach these truths to others.

        For more information about the Bahá'í Faith, the Wilmette Institute, courses offered by the Wilmette Institute, or registration for courses at the Wilmette Institute, please contact:
Wilmette Institute
536 Sheridan Road
Wilmette, IL 60091 * U.S.A.
Phone: (847) 733-3415 * Fax: (847) 733-3563

24-hour information line: (847) 733-3595

        The Lamp is produced bimonthly by the Wilmette Institute. Executive Editor: Robert H. Stockman.
        Subscription inquiries should be directed to the above address. All material is copyrighted by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States and subject to all applicable international copyright laws. Articles from this newsletter may be copied or republished by any organization, provided that the following credit is given: "Reprinted from The Lamp, the newsletter of the Wilmette Institute."

        Copyright ©1999 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States.

The Lamp, vol. 4, no. 1
March 1999

Studies in the Bahá'í Faith Program

(continued from page 1)     taken independently or in any order; they will be repeated in the future. While these courses allow students to contemplate the expanse of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation, a course on the Kitáb-i-Íqán and related texts (next offered April 1 to October 30, 1999) and a course on the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and related texts (next offered October 1, 1999 to March 31, 2000) provide opportunities to study two major works of Bahá'u'lláh in greater depth.

      One of the Exploring the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh courses--"The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, 1853-63"--began January 1 with a full class of 65 students. The six-month course covers Bahá'u'lláh's most prominent works revealed before He declared His station in the Garden of Ridván in April 1863. These include the Hidden Words, the Seven Valleys, the Four Valleys, and the Book of Certitude. Faculty include Dr. Iraj Ayman and Dr. Iskandar Hai, who answer student questions and post comments about tablets. Dr. Robert Stockman coordinates the course. Mr. Jonah Winters serves as a student mentor, answering questions, reviewing student learning projects, and maintaining the course's web site.

      Some texts for courses in the Exploring the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh series are provided by the Wilmette Institute at no additional charge. Others are available by mail through the Bahá'í Distribution Services (1-800-999-9019).

      The second series in the Studies in the Bahá'í Faith program is called "World Religions: An Integrated Approach." It includes courses on major world religions, including the Bahá'í Faith, taught from the point of view of comparative religion and utilizing the Bahá'í scriptures. Each course is designed to deepen students so they understand the basics of the world's religions, and, by comparison, the Bahá'í Faith, and enable them to dialogue meaningfully with members of other religions.

      The first course offered in this series, "Hinduism for Deepening and Dialogue," ran from January 1 through February 28 with 16 students. "Judaism for Deepening and Dialogue" is being offered from March 1 through April 30 and has 17 students. The World Religions series will continue with a course on Buddhism (May 1 to June 30, 1999). Other courses in the series include: the Bahá'í Faith (June 1 to August 31, 1999 and June 1 to August 31, 2000), Christianity (September 1 to October 31, 1999), Chinese Religions (November 1 to December 31, 1999), Zoroastrianism (January 1 to February 29, 2000), and Islam (March 1 to May 31, 2000). Courses can be taken independently or in any order and will be repeated.

      Texts are required for courses in the series World Religions: An Integrated Approach. Most courses require Scriptures of the World's Religions by James Fieser and John Powers, and Living Religions by Mary Pat Fisher. To ensure availability of the books, the Wilmette Institute has purchased copies from the publisher that students can buy through the Institute.

The Wilmette Institute has excellent instructors for the World Religions series. Dann May and Anne Pearson are instructors for Hinduism, Buddhism, and Chinese Religions. Dr. Pearson has a doctorate in Hinduism, and Mr. May is an expert on Chinese religions; both know Buddhism well. Dr. Moojan Momen, author of books on Hinduism and Buddhism in Bahá'í perspective, will answer student questions, as will Phyllis G. L. Chew, author of Chinese Religions and the Bahá'í Faith. Dr. Ali Merchant, a member of the Indian National Spiritual Assembly, assisted with Hinduism.

      Christianity and Judaism is coordinated by Robert Stockman. Dr. Maurine Stein, a Jewish scholar in world religions, Ms. Yael Wurmfeld, a Bahá'í of Jewish background with considerable experience in interfaith dialogue, and Mr. Michael Sours, author of a number of books on the Bible and the Bahá'í Faith, will be answering student questions about Judaism. Mr. May and Mr. Sours will be the chief faculty for the course on Christianity.

      The study of Zoroastrianism will be guided by Dr. Fereydoun Vahman, an expert in that faith and a professor of Iranian literature at the University of Copenhagen. Dr. Bijan and Ms. Farnaz Ma'sumian will be among the faculty of the course on the Bahá'í Faith. Faculty for the course on Islam are being finalized.

      The Wilmette Institute is financially independent of Bahá'í Funds and, therefore, dependent on tuition payment and donations to cover operating expenses. The Wilmette Institute has limited scholarships available thanks to generous contributions. To donate money to the Wilmette Institute scholarship fund, please contact the registrar. To apply for a scholarship from the Wilmette Institute, please send a letter or e-mail message to the registrar with the dollar amount of financial aid needed and a brief explanation of the need. The Wilmette Institute encourages individuals to ask their local spiritual assembly for financial assistance. If requested, the Institute will write a letter to it on the student's behalf.

      For more information or to register, please contact the registrar at or (847) 733-3415.

The Lamp, vol. 4, no. 1
March 1999

1999-2000 Spiritual Foundations Faculty

(continued from page 1)  of Teacher Education in Iran and has been a visiting Professor of education and management at U.C.L.A. and at the University of the Philippines. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Religious Education Association of the United States and Canada and is a former counselor for Asia. Currently, he is an education and research consultant for the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States.

      Ms. Lily Ayman, who will present a Bahá'í view of literacy, completed undergraduate studies in foreign languages, philosophy, and educational sciences. She pursued graduate studies in education and psychology at London and Edinburgh Universities and in Children's Literature at Columbia University. She was coordinator of programs on education and family life at Landegg Academy, Switzerland; Head of the Department of Life-long Education and Training, National Center for Adult Education and Training, Tehran, Iran; and Lecturer in Children's Literature at Tehran University. She teaches Persian at the University of Chicago. She served as executive officer of a number of professional organizations and published extensively in the field of education.

      With Mr. Dann May, Dr. Phyllis Bernard will co-teach a skills-development workshop on conflict resolution. A certified conflict resolution instructor, Dr. Bernard holds a B.A. in history from Bryn Mawr College, a Master's in history from Columbia University, and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She is director of a mediation program and is professor of law at Oklahoma City University Law School, where she teaches alternative dispute resolution, administrative law, legal ethics, and health law. She also teaches in the Native American Legal Assistance Clinic.
Dr. Jena Khodadad will teach classes on science and religion in relation to each other and to the pressing needs of the modern world. Dr. Khodadad received her Ph.D. in biological sciences from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in biological membranes at Rush Medical College, Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Khodadad is now an Associate Professor at Rush Medical College teaching anatomy and cell biology. Results of her research have been presented in national and international scientific meetings and published in numerous scientific journals
and books. The relationship between science and religion is a long-time interest of Dr. Khodadad's. She has given extensive presentations on the subject, including ones at Landegg Academy in Switzerland in 1993 and at the Czech and Slovak summer school in Slovakia 1994. She is a member of the Regional Council for the Central States.

      Mr. Dann May will co-teach the skills-development workshop on conflict resolution with Dr. Phyllis Bernard. A certified conflict resolution instructor, Mr. May received has Master's degree in philosophy from Northern Texas University. He has taught classes in philosophy, ethics, philosophy of religion, Asian religions, the history of religion, and religious dialogue at various universities in Texas and Oklahoma.

      Dr. Iraj Poostchi, an internationally recognized expert on Bahá'í principles as they relate to agriculture and rural development, will offer classes on that subject. Dr. Poostchi received his doctorate from Cornell University and is a former Professor of Agronomy with some 39 years of experience in teaching, research, and extension work in agriculture and rural development. He has implemented over 800 projects, plans, programs, experiments, and field trials related to agriculture and rural development in over 25 developed and developing countries. He has also published four books in the field.

      Mr. Ronald Precht will teach a short course on public and media relations. Mr. Precht is a communications professional with a background in public relations, media relations, and association management. He coordinated the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States's Office of Public Information for nearly 7 years and served on the international media task force for the Bahá'í World Congress. Currently, he directs public and media relations for a national healthcare association.

      Dr. Robert Stockman will teach part of the Bahá'í history section on the period from 1957 to the present. Dr. Stockman received his doctorate in the history of religion in the United States from Harvard University in 1990. He is an instructor of religious studies at DePaul University, where he teaches world religion. He authored two books on Bahá'í history in the United States, is the head of the Research Department at the Bahá'í National Center, and is the administrator for the Wilmette Institute.

      Dr. Richard W. Thomas is a professor of history and urban affairs at Michigan State University and has lectured on

The Lamp, vol. 4, no. 1
March 1999


click image to enlarge
      Alice Ferro--third-year Spiritual Foundations student (kneeling in bottom, left-hand corner)--dedicated a regional Bahá'í center on her property in Afton, Oklahoma, attracting a large, diverse crowd. The dedication was reported in a local newspaper in glowing terms. Visiting classmate Aaron Cederquist is pictured at back in a striped shirt. Retired, Ferro dedicates her life to the Bahá'í Faith. She recently reported two enrollments; collaboration with local black churches to organize the first Martin Luther King Day parade in Vinata, OK; and a presentation on the Bahá'í Faith to the executive director of the Wyandotte tribe. As a result of last year's classes, Ferro made a detailed four-year plan for her efforts which she is systematically following.

Traveling Teaching in Oklahoma

by Aaron Cederquist

            Since early last year I had been looking for an opportunity to go traveling teaching with someone who has had a lot of experience and understanding, as sort of a "hands-on" teaching workshop. When I met Alice Ferro this summer [1998] at the Wilmette Institute, this desire became reality, and I arranged to join her in December in northeast Oklahoma, where she has traveled to teach the Faith for fourteen years. So on January 1, another Bahá'í youth (Brent Falconer in Richmond, Virginia) and I left Virginia for Oklahoma for ten days of traveling teaching.

      The experience was very rewarding. Each day we traveled with Alice to some of the thirty towns that she covers. We visited homes of her various contacts, both non-Bahá'í and Bahá'í, sitting and talking with them. Many of the families we visited were Native American (mostly Cherokee)--often one or two members were Bahá'í, but everyone else would learn about the Faith--and some of these families were large enough to be potential LSA's. We visited at least seventy people across a number of different towns and traveled at least nine hundred miles those ten days (not including a three-hundred mile round trip to Oklahoma City).

      One Saturday each month Alice sets up an evening of dinner and fellowship at the local Bahá'í Center for anyone who wants to come. She prepares enough food to feed eighty or more and invites everyone she runs into, most of whom already know her pretty well. They provide an opportunity for people to experience the faintest glimpse of a true Bahá'í community and for the Bahá'ís to do some teaching--usually two-thirds or more of the guests are not yet Bahá'ís.

      Brent and I were fortunate enough to be there for one of these dinners. We helped Alice a little with the preparations--preparing twenty chickens, picking up a few people who didn't have cars, and a few other odds and ends (Alice, of course, also prepared spaghetti and roasts, bought bread and pies, cleaned a lot, and called various people she knew, among other things). Brent had bought a soccer ball, and that evening many of the youth went outside and played soccer together. Alice says that the mere presence of Bahá'í youth there brought many younger people to that dinner who otherwise would not have come, many of whom have now become interested in studying the Faith, and that the fact that both Bahá'í and non-Bahá'í youth were playing together greatly impressed many of the Native American parents.

      I learned a lot more than I expected from this, both about what it means to teach by developing friendships and about the wonderful things that perseverance, determination, and audacity can accomplish. The area itself seems very ripe, as the long persistent years of effort that Alice has put into the area, coupled with the recent increase in help and assistance from other Bahá'ís in the area, are beginning to bear their fruit. It also struck me how much what Alice is doing in visiting the Bahá'ís in the area mirrors what I saw in Colombia, where the Ruhi Institute initiated a deepening and consolidation program (based on the Ruhi courses) that consisted of mini-institutes of three to ten people, often a mix of Bahá'í and non-Bahá'í, and often done in people's homes. Perhaps something similar would work in Oklahoma.


The Lamp, vol. 4, no. 1
March 1999

Students Comment on Experiences in Studies in the
Bahá'í Faith Distance-Education Courses

      Many individuals who sign up for a distance-education course from the Wilmette Institute have not taken a distance-education course before and are not sure what to expect. Below are extracts of how some students have experienced Wilmette Institute courses. The extracts are reprinted with permission from messages posted on e-mail listservers, which allow students and faculty in distance-education courses communicate easily and quickly with each other. Each course has its own listserver; the extracts below have been taken from the Hinduism listserver, which serves the Hinduism for Dialogue and Deepening course, and from the Scrip Listserver, which serves the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, 1853-63 course. Both allow each member of the listserver to send a message to all members by sending a message to one central address.

      "Like someone said before, I'm learning how much I don't know, but at the same time this investigative process is helping me to own and internalize this amazing Revelation from God. Thanks All!

Regards from Canada's wet west coast,
Chantelle Warthe"
(from the Hinduism listserver)

Spiritual Foundations for a Global Civilization Program Inspires Further Study

      Mr. Marc Greenberg, a third-year student in the Spiritual Foundations for a Global Civilization program, has been accepted at the McGregor School of Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio, for a Master's degree in religious studies. Marc became increasingly interested in religious studies as a result of the Wilmette Institute's classes, referred to the program in his application, and requested a recommendation from a Wilmette Institute faculty member for the program. We are delighted to know that the Institute has proved so useful and wish Marc great success in his studies.
"I am really learning a lot; it is incredible to be able to do this. My house, my desk, my life are insanely busy; and yet I come down into our cold basement; flip the heater on, my pug comes down and makes "ehr, ehr" sounds and off we go."
(Esther DeTally, from the Hinduism listserver)

"I've observed that I study this course in bits. I wouldn't if I were going to school full time. But, studying in this manner really helps the digestive process. I've learned that I may not be through studying this course by the time it is chronologically over, and that it causes me to reflect on different aspects of things during the day. I tell people I hang out with or work with that I'm studying Hinduism. The response is always favorable. Spiritually or emotionally I feel more certitude or sense an inner presence or a quietness within me that is slightly different; this certitude is for the Bahá'í Faith and all others. I feel I have increased my tolerance of the multiplicity of practice of expression of faith; and yet, in a town which has a lot of fundamentalist Catholics and where I see enormous ritual, I still can react on a visceral level. Still I sense a stretching, and perhaps a patience. I still feel an impatience with people who see through a glass darkly, but it is not at them as it is more that I wish they saw things with less ritual, less practice."
(Esther DeTally, from the Hinduism listserver)

      Tonight's conference call made a big difference into my studying the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. This morning I was still feeling lost and confused but now I feel good for having my questions answered. It was great and so helpful!

I would like to encourage everyone else to, at least, try one conference call or more if they are still as confused as I was this morning. You will feel so much better hearing their great voices and very quickly you will understand that there is no big deal about this entire project of studies. Just one phone call made a big difference and changed my whole attitude regarding the course. Now that I understand much better how it all works I am ready to study as hard as I can. . . .

Jonah and Rob insisted [that we not] worry about the style of our homework for now.

The Lamp, vol. 4, no. 1
March 1999

Call for Papers for Spirituality Conference

      Papers and presentations are now being accepted for a two-day conference on "Revealing the Splendors of His Light: Exploring Spirituality in Bahá'í Life" to be held in Wilmette on Saturday and Sunday, August 7-8, 1999. The conference is being sponsored by the Institute for Bahá'í Studies.

            The theme of the conference comes from a statement by `Abdu'l-Bahá, in which He discusses the favorable conditions for the rapid growth of the Faith in North America. He refers to this continent, and particularly the United States, as the "home of the righteous, and the gathering place of the free" wherein "the splendors of His light shall be revealed, where the mysteries of His Faith shall be unveiled."

      The conference will consider the role of spirituality, individually and collectively, in fulfilling America's destiny. Experiential and theoretical explorations of this theme will pay particular attention to the ways in which spirituality effects social change, as the Universal House of Justice stated in its 1998 Ridván message, through "the power of the Covenant, the dynamics of prayer, the inspiration and education derived from regular reading and study of the Holy Texts, and the transformative forces that operate upon [one's] soul as [one] strives to behave in accordance with the divine laws and principles."

      Those interested in making a presentation should submit an abstract or description of 250-500 words to Mrs. Lynne Yancy, c/o Research Office, Bahá'í National Center, Wilmette, IL 60091; telephone (847) 733-3548; email: Deadline for submissions is June 1.

      [Editor's note: The conference will begin the day after the residential session of the Spiritual Foundations program ends in Wilmette on Friday, August 6. We encourage all Wilmette Institute students--both from the Spiritual Foundations program and from the various distance-education courses--to attend the conference as a practical way of seeing how their studies can come to fruition in such conferences. All are welcome to arrive during the day on Friday and attend the Spiritual Foundation's farewell dinner (individuals must sign up with the registrar at least one week in advance), where the residential students will receive their certificates and celebrate the conclusion of the summer program.]

Students Comment on Experiences in Studies in the Bahá'í Faith Distance-Education Courses

(cont. from page 6) The trick is to send the first one in.   There is no doubt that the second one will be much better. Jonah will correct our work and will let us know what was done right or wrong. There is absolutely no rule on how to present such homework but it should kept under 3 or 4 pages long. . . .

I may also want go to [the course website] and right there print the Study Schedule which is very helpful because you can see the entire agenda on one piece of
paper. . . .

I hope this will help you a lot in understanding much better how it all works. It's not as complicated as I thought it was.

Please let Rob [add you to] a conference call and I promise that you'll feel 100% much better afterwards. It was a real delight to hear everyone express their questions regarding the course, and hear some real answers for them. . . .

Best wishes to all, Annick Elziere
(from the Scrip Listserver)

"Thursday night's conference call was a settling experience for those who participated in it. It was good to hear where people were at, and it was good to get the distilled version of what we `need' to do. Essentially, I heard Rob [Stockman] and Jonah [Winters] saying that what we `need' to do is not as important as is the opportunity we have to explore the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh in our own way. And, if we want to get a certificate, we should send Jonah something for each of the sections. It could be a Tablet Study Outline, could be a work of art. Then we should participate in the email discussion not with great quantity but significant quality.

I'd encourage participants to join in a conference call. It gave me a sense of the reality the computer screen didn't provide.

Warmest regards, Mark Perry"
(from the Scrip Listserver)

The Lamp, vol. 4, no. 1
March 1999
(continued from page 4)
race relations in the United States, Canada, England, Switzerland, and Australia. He has conducted workshops on race relations for over 20 years and has written more than five books. Dr. Thomas has received many awards for his work on combating intolerance and promoting diversity. He is a member of the Regional Council for the Central States. Dr. Thomas will share his knowledge and experience in the field of race unity.

      Mr. Robert White will give several classes on the environment and nature. Mr. White holds a bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan and a master's degree in environmental studies from York University. He has worked in ecological research and planning for government and academic institutions as well as for private companies. He has also served as a consultant to the Office of Environment, Bahá'í International Community. He is currently involved in teaching, research, and writing on environmental issues and working with community-based, sustainable development organizations in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

      As reported in the November 1998 issue of The Lamp, additional faculty include: Dr. Firuz Kazemzadeh, who will cover the historical context of the peace statement; Dr. Farhad Sabetan, who will talk about the Bahá'í Faith and economics; and Dr. Hoda Mahmoudi, who will speak on the equality of women and men.

      Faculty for the Bahá'í teachings on world order, including an examination of Bahá'í writings on world order, including tablets revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, The Secret of Divine Civilization, The Advent of Divine Justice, and The Promised Day Is Come will be announced in the next issue.


      To obtain information about the Wilmette Institute's courses, contact the registrar, Heather Gorman, by e-mail at, telephone at (847)733-3415, fax at (847) 733-3563, or mail at Wilmette Institute, 536 Sheridan Road, Wilmette IL 60091, USA. Information is also available through our website,, and by calling the 24-hour automated information line, (847) 733-3595.

      To participate in the 1999-2000 year of the Spiritual Foundations program--which focuses on "Carrying Forward An Ever-Advancing Civilization"--new students should apply by April 9, 1999. The academic year runs from May 1, 1999, to March 31, 2000, and is composed of 10 months of home study and a required residential session held in Wilmette, Illinois, from July 17 to August 6, 1999.

      Each applicant must submit a completed application form, a 500-word personal statement, a recommendation letter, a photocopy of her latest transcript, and a $25 application fee. Tuition for the year is $825; room and board during the three week summer session funs approximately $35 per day. For more information please contact the registrar.

      Studies in the Bahá'í Faith courses can be completed from any place in the world, as they contain no residential requirement and are completed primarily by e-mail, although individuals without e-mail are able to participate. The article on page 1 of this issue of The Lamp contains information about the courses offered in this program.

      Tuition for courses depends on the length of the course: two-month courses cost $100, three-month courses cost $150, and six-month courses cost $225. Students who form a local study group of three or more individuals each receive a 20% discount on tuition. Students needing financial assistance are encouraged to ask their local spiritual assemblies for help. The Wilmette Institute is happy to write local spiritual assemblies a letter on the students' behalf. Because the Wilmette Institute is independent of the Bahá'í Funds and thus depends on tuition and donations to cover operating costs, the Institute has few scholarships available. Students may apply for one by sending a letter stating the dollar amount needed and a brief explanation of the need.

      The registrar is happy to answer questions about courses or provide further information. To register for a Studies in the Bahá'í Faith course, individuals must pay the full course tuition and complete a registration form available from the registrar or from our website. Students can pay by check, money order, Visa, or MasterCard and can register by mail, fax, e-mail, or phone. To receive the materials by the scheduled beginning of the course, individuals should register at least two weeks before the course begins. Registration opens several month before each course starts and closes when the course is full or two weeks after the start date.


      In cooperation with the Wilmette Institute, the Persian Affairs Office offers intensive, summer residential courses on the Persian language. For more information, contact the Persian American Affairs Office at (847) 733-3467,, or 1233 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201.
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