Register Now: 'Online Learning for Constructive Engagement' (Free webinar, Sunday 16 August)  
Webinar

Online Learning for Constructive Engagement (ABS Poster Presentation)

Aug 16, 2020

Abstract

The Wilmette Institute is working towards constructive engagement by raising the capacity of participants to meaningfully contribute to social discourse and social action. This presentation will explore how Bahá’í online learning can lead towards personal and collective transformation with participants applying spiritual principles and academic knowledge to grassroots efforts. Learn how learners, faculty and administrators create a learning community in courses such as Anti-Black Racism in the U.S., Climate Change, and Sustainable Development that nurture constructive engagement.


Note: The backbone of this webinar is a poster presentation submitted to the Association for Bahá’í Studies’ 2020 online conference. The Wilmette Institute’s Executive Team will be joined by selected Faculty and students. All are welcome to explore the WI’s pedagogy, and its plans and hopes for the coming years.

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Robert Stockman, ThD

Wilmette Institute Director

I have had a passion for researching and teaching about the Bahá’í Faith for more than half of my life. My fascination with American Bahá’í history and with the first American Bahá’í, Thornton Chase, caused me, in 1980, to switch my academic field from planetary science to history of religion in the United States. As I was finishing my doctorate in that field at Harvard University in 1990, I drew up plans to create a Bahá’í Studies institute that would offer courses, encourage research, and publish. Instead, I was hired by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States to start a research office at our national Bahá’í headquarters in Wilmette, Illinois. Some of the responsibilities of the research office led to the creation of the Wilmette Institute, which ​focuses on most of the tasks of the institute I originally conceived. Meanwhile, I have also remained involved in academia, teaching religious studies part time at DePaul University in Chicago and currently at Indiana University South Bend, just a mile from home. I have also published four books on aspects of Bahá’í history (including a biography of Thornton Chase) and one introductory textbook on the Faith. Listen to Robert’s interview on ‘A Bahá’í Perspective’ podcastSee Faculty Bio

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Chitra Golestani, PhD

WI Associate Director, Faculty, Institute for Humane Education

Dr. Chitra Golestani is a faculty member at Valparaiso University and the Institute for Humane Education in a hybrid Master of Education program. She is a co-founder of the Paulo Freire Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where she is a research associate and lecturer. Dr. Golestani serves on the editorial board for Global Commons Review, a new magazine published by the Paulo Freire Institute and produced by the UNESCO-UCLA Chair on Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education. She holds a PhD in Social Science and Comparative Education from UCLA and a Master’s in Education from University of California, Santa Barbara. Her areas of interest, lectures and research include Human Rights, Social Justice and Global Citizenship Education, Conflict Resolution and Restorative Justice, Youth Activism in Extended Education, Conscious Living and Social Action. In September 2019, she began a new administrative position as Associate Director of the Wilmette Institute. Her work is inspired by her lived experience with persecution in the country of her birth, Iran, where members of the Bahá’í Faith are not allowed to practice, are prohibited from accessing higher education, and denied other civil rights. While still a young child, her family escaped this marginalization and fled to the US in search of religious freedom, equality between women and men and human rights. Currently, Dr. Golestani is engaged in numerous grass-roots programs aimed at raising human capacity, locally and globally, to work towards a more just, united, and sustainable planet. Listen to Chitra's interview on "A Bahá’í Perspective."See Faculty Bio

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Nicola Daniels, MSc

WI Registrar & Student Services Specialist

I was born in Kingston, Jamaica. My interest in music, theatre, and the literary arts led me to abandon my academic degrees and a career in the Forensic Sciences, to take up a position with the British Council Caribbean as Arts & Education Officer. I worked for several years as the British Council Manager in my homeland, performing at various times with the Jamaica Musical Theatre Company, the National Chorale, and the Carifolk Singers. A small book of my poetry—Weights and Measures—was published by the Calabash Foundation in 2005, and my poems have garnered awards and been honored by publication in several anthologies. I served (and learned) alongside Jamaica’s first national poet laureate, Professor Mervyn Morris, as a judge for the Cultural Development Commission’s annual poetry competition. In 2008 I migrated to the US to live with my husband, Julian, whom I met on Bahá’í pilgrimage in Israel. My first teaching experience was as a poetry tutor at the Phillip Sherlock Center for the Creative Arts. Later, I participated in one of the first Wilmette Institute Science & Religion courses, and have since served as faculty on that course, and several others. In March 2012, I gave a presentation on World Peace at a Peace Conference hosted by Lander University. This experience inspired me to create a board game called Heart to Heart, featuring short quotations on unifying spiritual themes from 10 of the world’s religions and cultures. The game led to a website, a video channel, firmer friendships, a lot of learning, and a good deal of fun! I have served as a member of the Wilmette Institute Board, and also worked part-time for the Institute as Marketing Coordinator and Course Creation Assistant. I get a thrill from using my creative and (mostly self-taught) computer skills to create instructional materials. In March I took up a position as the Institute’s first Registrar. I enjoy crochet, drumming, walks to the lake, and (since 2019) handbell ringing with the Emerald Bells.See Faculty Bio

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