Articles

Webinars: A Great 2020 and Innovation in 2021

Jan 02, 2021

by Robert Stockman, WI Director

The pandemic crisis and increased awareness of web video and its convenience drove the Wilmette Institute’s web video efforts to new heights in 2020.

As people began to shelter in place in March, the Wilmette Institute instituted weekly webinars. The first one provided an overview of the technology available to everyone to create their own online webinars.  They then turned to various topics connected with world unity, such as the need for effective international bodies to coordinate responses to world crises and the ongoing but less visible crisis of climate change, with its inexorably rising seas, violent storms, and massive wildfires.

Wilmette Institute partnered with ebbf (ethical business building the future) a Bahá’í-inspired group based in Europe, to offer a series of webinars on the ethics of governance and business. It created regular firesides with Rainn Wilson to explore important topics at a more popular level. Finally, with the assistance of people offering courses on transformative leadership for youth, it began a series of web-based courses for 11 to 17 year olds, a series that has expanded and continues as a permanent part of the Institute’s offerings.

Altogether, in 2020 we provided 58 free, informative webinars, including 14 in partnership with ebbf. These are now easier to find and view than ever on our new Webinars page (wilmetteinstitute.org/webinars).

Here, you can scan down the list of upcoming webinars and click through to a page describing each one, then click on a register button. By registering you will receive an email reminder before the webinar begins. After the webinar is over, the same information page will include a link to the recording and to any other available materials, such as a PowerPoint or a publication. In this way, all our webinars continue to be available to the public.

Webinar registration button screenshot (annotated)

Below the list of “Upcoming Webinars” you will find a list of “Recent Webinars.” To the right of the title, you have two options. One lists “All Webinars” but if you click on the box you will get a list of nine subjects you can choose among. That way you can view only the webinars that particularly interest you.

Webinars Filter (annotated screenshot)

Farther to the right are two icons: one is a square of four boxes and the other is a group of three horizontal lines. The latter will give a very simple list of titles to scan quickly. The former gives a “card” with information and images to inform your choice.

The 2021 schedule of webinars is rapidly taking shape. We have 19 in the planning process and several more have been proposed. Our “discourse webinar” series will continue with the interview of a prominent philosopher. We are also inaugurating our symposium series with a Sunday afternoon devoted to American Bahá’í history, featuring presentations about the history of the Faith in Kansas, Missouri, and North Carolina. We also hope that, once public gatherings become possible again, we will be able to sponsor a talk at a university before a live audience, and broadcast it over the internet as well.

The last half of 2021 will have quite a few webinars focusing on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, leading up to the commemoration of His Ascension on November 27-28. That subject will continue into early 2022, when three additional webinars are being considered.

Three Abdu'l-Baha Webinars (screenshot)

The year 2021 is shaping up to be an exciting one where Wilmette Institute webinars are concerned. It is our hope that people will be able to gather with friends and family again to watch a live or a recorded webinar together, as a form of deepening or a stimulus for significant conversation. They are designed to cover a wide range of topics related to the Bahá’í Faith, so there is a good chance you will find one that interests everyone.


Many thanks to all our YouTube Channel subscribers! We had 1,454 new subscriptions in 2020. Click to see graphic with more stats from our 2020 YouTube Year in Review.

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