Watch Now: "Theater and Education for Social Action" Sunday, March 26th

The Bahá’í Faith and an Evolving Framework for Action

flyer for the webinar on an Evolving Framework for Action, featuring head shots of the three presenters

Tuesday April 4, 2023
4 PM Pacific / 7 PM Eastern Time

This presentation will begin with a review of basic information about the nature of the Bahá’í Faith, its founders, and its scriptures. Three Wilmette Institute staff—Robert Stockman, Justin Scoggin, and Ymasumac Marañón Davis—will explore the principles and beliefs about individual and collective development, and conclude with an overview of what Bahá’ís are learning in their efforts to serve humanity through community building, public discourse, and social action.


Robert Stockman, ThD

WI Dean, Bahá’í History, Texts and Tenets

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


Justin Scoggin, PhD Candidate

Justin learned he was an educator as a camp counselor during the summers of his university years. Environmental education and experiential learning from those years still reverberate in his educational endeavors. Directing an undergraduate program for rural educators through FUNDAEC first in Colombia and then in Ecuador combined elements of spiritual - material education, education that values place as an educational construct, and capacity building for rural development. Justin also learned he enjoys educational administration through this experience. A subsequent Master's in education focused on constructivist pedagogy gave him access to a job as principal at two rural, k-12 private schools in Ecuador, the second on Santa Cruz island in the Galapagos. Frustrated by a mandatory curriculum that was entirely irrelevant and demotivating for students, Justin embarked on a journey to discover curricular elements that speak to island students and motivate them to become stewards of their collective home. Such a journey is better in company so he registered for a PhD in education at the University of Idaho. Working on his dissertation, he is exploring how education for sustainable development, land education and moral empowerment can serve as philosophical frameworks to empower students on islands. Carrying out instructional design on Wilmette Institute courses has been a great opportunity to put his vision into action through online extension and credit-bearing university courses. See also Justin's Personal Educational Philosophy.See Faculty Bio


Ymasumac Marañón Davis, PhD candidate

Educational Consultant/Writer/Intuitive Healing

My name is Ymasumac Marañón Davis, though people call me Yma! Ymasumac is a Quechua Indian name from Bolivia. My father is a Bolivian of Quechua descent, my mother is from New England, and her ancestors, of English and Irish ancestry, came around the same time as the pilgrims. We are a very global family and because of this, I grew up in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico among the Mayan people. I always begin with my ancestry because their choices shaped me, challenged me, and raised me up; and in correlation with the Bahá’í Revelation, shaped my life’s work.   I have a love for learning, which is why I chose education as my professional field. I taught in K12 in bilingual education and worked in the district office in Parent Involvement and at the county office of education as an administrator coordinating educational technology. My philosophy about education is that it is a basic human right. Human beings have the right to an education that will empower them to be critical thinkers and prepare them to participate effectively as members of a dynamic changing society.  Today, the backbone of what I do is explore how transformative processes can be systematized at the individual, collective and institutional levels centering on spiritual principles, informed through the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh. I am learning to engage in these endeavors as a writer, educational consultant, and as a keeper of intuitive healing spaces. Currently, I am exploring how these processes can be amplified through oral storytelling and counternarratives. See also:Yma's Interview on BahaiTeachings.orgCourageous voices: how we create and participate in stressing the dominant culture (August 2017 article)Yma's blog site (on justice Series - Part 1: Curated Conversations (video, August 2020)See Faculty Bio


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