Sign Up Now To Hear Dr. Brian Aull Discuss “Consultation: A Revolutionary Model of Democratic Governance on February 14
Jan 30, 2016
The Wilmette Institute’s second 2016 Web Talk will take place on February 14 and will feature Dr. Brian Aull, who will be discussing “Consultation: A Revolutionary Model of Democratic Governance.” The talk will begin at 2 p.m. Eastern Time (1 p.m. CT; 12 noon MT; 11 a.m. PT; 7 p.m. UK.; 8 p.m. Western Europe). In describing the contents of his talk, Dr. Aull notes that “In 2007, the Universal House of Justice commented on the ‘erosion of trust and collaboration between the individual and the institutions of governance,’ and cited endemic political corruption, media bias, and the undue influence on electoral processes of vested interests with lavish resources. One other symptom of the failure of society’s institutions is the climate of partisan bickering.” He goes on to say that, “In recent years, civic renewal advocates have articulated the need for deliberative processes that are based on collaborative learning and problem solving rather than partisan conflict. Over a century earlier, however, the Bahá’í writings articulated such a process, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá began cultivating its practice in Bahá’í communities. This process is known as consultation. Consultation has as its goal the investigation of truth and is undertaken in a spirit of service, an attitude of humility, and an atmosphere of love and respect.” In his presentation Dr. Aull will review the principles of consultation and the seven requisite qualities that participants cultivate to make it successful. He will then contrast consultation to other processes, such as adversarial debate, negotiation, compromise, and consensus building. Finally, he will discusses the importance of consultation as a model of governance that can address the ills besetting the world’s political systems. Dr. Aull is a staff scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He received his Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and his Master’s and PhD degrees from MIT, all in the field of electrical engineering. A Bahá’í since 1981, he is interested in a number of topics: the dialog between science and religion, the relationship between the individual’s spiritual development and the struggle for a just society, and the relationships among the world’s religions and religious communities. In his community of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Aull served on the Cambridge Peace Commission and the board of the Coalition for a Strong United Nations. In recent years, he has been active in teaching spiritual education classes for children in urban neighborhoods. He represents the Bahá’í Faith on the MIT Board of Chaplains and has been pursuing interfaith work in that context. His publications include “The Faith of Science and the Method of Religion” (Journal of Bahá’íStudies 88) and “The Process of Social Change” (World Order 23.3/4 [Spring/Summer1989]: 9–18). He also made contributions to Nat Rutstein’s book Healing Racism in America. His most recent project is The Triad, a book on American democracy, which is described on his website http://www.AwakenDemocracy.com.
__________ Dr. Aull is teaching a new, eight-week course called Applying Baha’i Principles to Discourses on Governance in the United States, which starts on February 22 and runs through April 10. To register, click here.