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20th anniversary

A Bounty of Free Web Talks in September: “Transitioning to Sustainability” and “Women Closely Related to the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh”

Aug 31, 2015
A Bounty of Free Web Talks in September: “Transitioning to Sustainability” and “Women Closely Related to the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh”
Two free Web Talks celebrating the Wilmette Institute’s Twentieth Anniversary are on the docket for September. On September 6, Dr. Arthur Lyon Dahl will discuss “Navigating the Storm: The Transition to Sustainability.” On September 28, Baharieh Rouhani Maani, drawing on her book of the same name, will talk about “The Leaves of the Twin Divine Trees.” Please watch for Wilmette Institute flyers on which you can sign up for the talks. SEPTEMBER 6: DR. ARTHUR LYON DAHL’S WEB TALK ON “NAVIGATING THE STORM: THE TRANSITION TO SUSTAINABILTY” On Sunday, September 6, Dr. Arthur Lyon Dahl will discuss “Navigating the Storm: The Transition to Sustainability, the eighth Web Talk in the Wilmette Institute’s 2015 series. As usual, the talk will begin at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 11 a.m. Pacific, 8 p.m. Western European Time. Dr. Dahl will start his talk with a bold and frank statement: The world is on a very unsustainable trajectory. While the news is filled with the possibilities of economic crises, mass movements of refugees and migrants, climate-change disasters, threatened species, health impacts of pollutants, food crises, and other symptoms of unsustainability, it is hard to imagine what they together imply other than disaster. The only safe prediction is that the years and decades ahead will not be smooth sailing. Then, placing all the dire predictions in a broad systems perspective, Dr. Dahl will look at the concepts from the perspective of the principles of science and the Baha’i Faith that can help us to see that these are all symptoms of a world in transition moving toward a better future. They teach us that we must break free of the old ways of doing things and start building, from the community up, the elements of a new world order based on ethical principles. The expected adoption of the post-2015 agenda and Sustainable Development Goals at the UN at the end of September, Dr. Dahl says, shows that all governments now recognize that we must transform our world, supported by the Pope’s recent encyclical, and, we hope, by the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December. This convergence of global aspirations with the Baha’i vision will open many opportunities for constructive learning and change as we face the inevitable challenges in the years ahead. Dr. Arthur Lyon Dahl, who lives in Geneva, Switzerland (, has more than forty years of international experience in sustainable development and the environment. He is President of the International Environment Forum (, a Bahá’í-inspired organization for environment and sustainability; a partner in an international project on values-based indicators of education for sustainable development ( and; and a consultant on indicators to the World Bank. He teaches sustainability in several academic programs and was a Visiting Professor at the University of Brighton, in the United Kingdom. He is a retired Deputy Assistant Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and a consultant to international organizations and research programs on environmental assessment, observing strategies, indicators of sustainability, coral reefs, biodiversity, islands (, environmental education, and social and economic development. He holds an AB in biological sciences from Stanford University and a PhD in biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. A specialist on small islands and coral reefs, he spent many years in the South Pacific as Regional Ecological Advisor with the Pacific Commission ( and organized the Pacific Regional Environment Programme ( He represented the Bahá’í International Community at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment (1972) and the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (COP15) in 2009; was in the Secretariat of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to prepare Agenda 21, the global action plan for sustainable development; and organized several parallel events at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2002) and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20, 2012). In 2011–12, he was co-coordinator of the UNEP Major Groups and Stakeholders Advisory Group on International Environmental Governance ( He is also on the governing board of another Bahá’í-inspired organization, ebbf, Ethical Business Building the Future ( He has published many scientific papers and books including Unless and Until: A Bahá’í Focus on the Environment and The Eco Principle: Ecology and Economics in Symbiosis. Dr. Dahl is lead faculty for the Wilmette Institute’s course Sustainable Development and the Prosperity of Humankind, which will be offered on September 15 through November 15. For the Wilmette Institute’s July eNewsletter, Dr. Dahl wrote a summary and commentary on the Pope’s recent encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, noting the Catholic position on the material and spiritual aspects of the environment and poverty. You can still sign up for Dr. Dahl’s course Sustainable Development and the Prosperity of Humankind. Click here. To register for his Web Talk, click here. SEPTEMBER 28: BAHARIEH ROUHANI MAANI’S WEB TALK ON “THE LEAVES OF THE TWIN DIVINE TREES” On Sunday, September 28, Baharieh Rouhani Maani will be giving the Wilmette Institute’s ninth Web Talk on “The Leaves of the Twin Divine Trees,” also the title of the first in-depth study in English of the lives of women closely related to the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh, and the name of the Wilmette Institute’s online course she will be teaching from October 7 through November 24, 2015. The free Web Talk will begin at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 11 a.m. Pacific, 8 p.m. Western European Time. Among the women Maani will cover in her talk are the two who bore and raised the Twin Manifestations of God as well as those who suffered immensely, sacrificed their all, and never wavered in their love for and selfless service to the Cause of the Báb and Bahá’u’llaáh. She will also discuss the lives of a few who outwardly remained indifferent, one who opposed Bahá’u’lláh fiercely causing Him and His family much suffering and anguish, and two who joined hands with the Covenant-breakers after His ascension. Although some the women have played major roles in influencing some historical events, they are generally absent from the pages of the early history of the Bahá’í Faith. Maani will discuss the context for the absence, emphasize the importance of treating women fairly in history, and highlight the glorious legacy left by some of them as gleaned from the Bahá’í writings revealed in their honor. The names of the women to be discussed in the Web Talk are these: Fátimih Bagum and Khadíjih Bagum, the mother and wife of the Báb respectively, titled the Most Favored of All Women; Zahra Bagum, sister of the wife of the Báb; Fátimih Khánum, the second wife of the Báb; Khadíjih Khánum, mother of Bahá’u’lláh; Ásíyih Khánum, wife of Bahá’u’lláh, titled Navváb and the Most Exalted leaf; Bahíyyih Khánum, daughter of Bahá’u’lláh and sister of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, titled the Greatest Holy Leaf; Fátimih Khánum, the second wife of Bahá’u’lláh, titled Mahd-i ‘Ulyá; Gawhar Khánum, the third wife of Bahá’u’lláh; the sisters of Bahá’u’lláh; Jináb-i-Maryam, Bahá’u’lláh’s cousin and sister-in-law, titled the Crimson Leaf; and Munírih Khánum, wife of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Baharieh Rouhani Maani is the author of Leaves of the Twin Divine Trees, An In-depth Study of the Lives of Women Closely Related to the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh; Against Incredible Odds, Life of a 20th Century Iranian Bahá’í Family; and Laws of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Tracing Their Evolution in Religious History (co-authored with Sovaida Maani Ewing); Asiyyih Khanum, the Most Exalted Leaf, entitled Navvab; and numerous articles in English and Persian, mostly on the status of women in religion. She has translated from the Persian Years of Silence and “Glimpses of `Abdu’l-Bahá, Excerpts from the Memoirs of Muhammad-Shafi` Rouhani (Rawhani) of His Thirty-nine Day Pilgrimage in April/May 1921,” published in The Bahá’í World, Volume XIX. She has also translated many tablets revealed to and about women, some of which after approval have been included in the compilation on Women, published in The Compilation of Compilations, Vol. 2, and cited in her publications and talks on gender equality and the status of women in religion. You can sign up for Maani’s course on Leaves of the Twin Divine Trees by clicking here. To register for her Web Talk, click here.

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