Register Now: Symposium: The beginnings of the Bahá'í Faith in Kansas, Missouri, and North Carolina (Sunday May 16th, 2 p.m. Eastern)

WI & ebbf 'Addressing the Present, Building the Future'

Aug 1, 2020

An ebbf – Wilmette Institute co-sponsored dialogue series

In this series, we examine the underlying assumptions that brought us to this current global crisis. Together, we explore potential solutions to the vital issues that have gained new urgency at this time. We also discuss our roles and the actions we can take to address these critical challenges and build better systems for the future of humankind.

About ebbf

ebbf, Ethical Business Building the Future, is a Bahá’í inspired organization dedicated to building a prosperous, peaceful and sustainable global society. ebbf members are people of all faiths who are striving to apply Bahá’í principles in their businesses and workplaces.

July-August 2020

How Humanitarian Organizations Navigate New Global Realities in 2020

Watch on YouTube

Speaker: Rhonda Gossen
Host: Vahid Masrour

Specialized agencies of the United Nations together with international NGOs recognize the need to change what some have labelled paternalistic and outdated approaches to aid and humanitarian assistance. New approaches reflect an evolution in thinking about locally led response, the need for external experts, people as protagonists in the recovery of their communities and recognition of the capacities and resilience inherent in every person to respond in crisis. Working in various emergency response situations, Rhonda brings knowledge of how this aspect of the UN is driving new ways of working.

Transforming companies into communities

Watch on YouTube

Speaker: Oscar Rosa
Host: Gary Reusche

How can we foster unity in diversity, collective action, social justice and liberating structures? What are the Teachings that can guide our present and future? What is the evolution of companies and human-centered leadership?

Sharing the fundamental concepts of Learning organizations, organizations where people continually expand their capacities, new thinking is nurtured, collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together.

Managing global organizations in a world of justice

Watch on YouTube

Speaker: Douglas Henck
Host: Gary Reusche

Douglas Henck shares and compares his decades of experience in the corporate world with the ideas and principles of his position as CFO at the Bahá’í World Center. When bringing together the Principles of the Faith and Corporate reality, what would he suggest shape the successful global organizations of the future – a future where corporations fulfill their inherent responsibility to contribute to a more just society? What is the kind of leadership that allows such a values-drive organization to prosper? What did he discover to be the obstacles with doing business ethically in different countries around the world? What is the best approach to create a global unified culture of values in a multinational organization?

Success depends on our ability to bridge the inter-generational gap

Watch on YouTube

Speakers: Avah & Mary Darling
Host: Jean Parker

What are the views of a 16 year old and of her mother on how we can achieve it together?

How can we progress from a dualistic and often conflicting vision of whose responsibility it is to create a better future, Avah will share her insights into a new way to integrate experience, passion, joy and effectiveness to create new models of exploration, learning and action. Moving from divided and divisive assignment of blames and responsibility to a new model of integrated action and reflection.

May-June 2020

Impact Experience: creating justice & building bridges in marginalized communities

Speaker: Jenna Nicholas
Host: Jean Parker

Watch on YouTube

With inequality plaguing communities around the globe, there’s fierce urgency to invest in change from the ground up. How can we build bridges and deep relationships between impact investors, foundations, entrepreneurs, artists and local leaders to co-create solutions with marginalized communities?

How can you tap into the expertise of each individual in minority areas to generate innovative solutions that accelerate a community’s transformation and create concrete action plans that get partnership commitments?

Impact Investments is a fresh new way to create a more just, racially balanced flow of finance towards projects and companies that are good for the environment and for the people. But how can these elements be embedded in a much wider sense in the financial systems of today and tomorrow? What are the key elements of successful impact investing? What can wealth create and what can it destroy?

Rethinking society and our role, during and after pandemics

Speaker: Beppe Robiati
Host: Daniel Truran

Watch Live Streams
YouTube | Facebook

We cannot forget the times we are living in. This is a special moment in the history of humankind whose consequences were impossible to predict. No one could have imagined how coronavirus could change the daily lives of people, force a rethink of business activities nor for how long we will have to cohabit with this pandemic. But this and other unforeseen events surrounding us now, also offer us an important moment for us to redefine our way of living both at the individual and at the collective level.

View or Download PDF Transcript of Beppe’s Talk

Climate Change & Materialism: Challenges for an Ever-Advancing Civilization

Livestream Links
YouTube | Facebook

Speaker: Gary Reusche
Host: Daniels Truran

Even before the devastating effects of the coronavirus on human daily life, the emergence of a global civilization has been characterized by the twin processes of integration and disintegration. Interwoven global threats such as ecological degradation, uneconomic growth that overshoots the Earth’s biocapacity, income and wealth inequality, consumerism, and the rapid erosion of agri-food resources contribute to the breakdown of the world’s social and ecological order. This session will explore how to reduce anxieties about the future through discourse by individuals and communities. Technical solutions that mitigate such problems exist but must be administered within a new world order animated by the spirit of unity that reflects the vision of Bahá’u’lláh. This session aims at understanding the current issues and their cultural roots so that individuals and humanity as a whole may gain greater capacity to contribute in effective ways to social discourse and social action leading to transformation on an unprecedented scale.

Building Economically Cohesive Communities in the Time of the Corona Pandemic

Speaker: Jean Parker
Host: Vahid Masrour

At this time of uncertainty, humanity is experiencing both horror and opportunity. At the center of it all, are pre-existing economic disparities which are being amplified by current deficits in leadership and planning, and newly created economic inequalities that are expanding due to current questionable institutional responses.

This session will highlight the ways communities are building cohesion through their response to the crisis with ingenuity, creativity, mutualism and solidarity. We will briefly discuss the economic factors that threaten community cohesion then explore significant current trends that are enabling communities to innovate and transform economic vulnerability into economic cohesion. There will be plenty of time for discussion.

Watch on YouTube
View/Download PDF of Jean’s Slide Show

What is the role of companies and entrepreneurs during and after a crisis?

YouTube Live Stream | Facebook Live Stream

Speaker: Daniel Truran
Host: Jean Parker

Can business become the solution instead of being the problem?

Many companies are addressing current crises, trying to mitigate risks to the business and to its reputation. What could be another way and attitude that allows companies to go from being the problem to becoming the solution that we expect from them? We will share the extraordinary success that the best companies in the world are achieving during these weeks of economic crises. We will see how they manage to motivate, engage their staff and connect with their communities in a sincere spirit of service, by marshaling innovation and moral values required to lead the necessary change without limiting themselves to just “managing risks”.

View/Download PDF of Daniel’s Side Show

Rethinking Materialism from a Feminine Leadership Perspective

Speaker: Roya Akhavan
Host: Vahid Masrour

As the world goes through an unprecedented new phase of economic upheaval, a deeper analysis of materialism as the root cause of the extremes of wealth and poverty has taken on new urgency. Such an analysis involves two fundamental questions. First, what is the difference between “materialism,” which is hazardous, and “material prosperity,” which is a worthy individual and social goal? And, second, what is the most effective mode of leadership for moving society beyond materialism and facilitating the achievement of true material prosperity? It may be argued that the best mode of leadership in pursuit of shared material prosperity would be one that reflects compassion, caring, nurturing, communal behavior, and effective communication, all of which have traditionally been associated with the feminine aspects of the human society. The participants are invited to reimagine new leadership models in the context of the emerging consciousness of the need to balance the feminine and the masculine in all areas of human endeavor, including the creation of a more equitable economic system.

Watch on YouTube
View Download PDF of Roya’s Slide Show

Collaboration through Consultation: A Powerful Tool for Building Community

Speaker: Sara DeHoff
Host: Daniel Truran

Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one thing, what comes next another. What do we need to be able to rebuild? Humanity is facing an incredible challenge of collaboration and coordination at all levels and among diverse populations. Consultation is an essential tool for this effort. By aiming to understand the truth of an issue, consultation enables participants to transcend their own points of view and, together, chart a wise course of action. Come join us and learn the basics of this vital approach to problem-solving.

Watch on YouTube
View/Download PDF of Slide Show

In Pursuit of Hope in a Time of Crisis

Speaker: Arthur Dahl
Host: Daniel Truran

As COVID-19 sweeps the world, fear and panic are natural responses. The world was already in a mess, and now mass suffering is impacting everyone. For young people, their future already overshadowed by the climate catastrophe, hope may seem impossible. Yet this cloud does have a silver lining giving hope, which we can explore together. My recent book “In Pursuit of Hope”, suggests ways to arm ourselves for the environmental, social and economic challenges we are now facing and those still to come. At the individual level, all the great spiritual traditions speak of trial and suffering as paths to spiritual growth and refinement of character as we fight our inner battles. From the perspective of systems science, in a globalized world in which human organization has to adapt to a new scale of functioning, a process of rapid and often chaotic change is necessary to sweep away old institutions no longer adapted to the new reality, allowing a new and better system to emerge bringing justice and sustainability. Join us to see if you leave this discussion with more hope in the future.

Watch on YouTube

Climate Change, Coronavirus, and One World: The Choice is Clear

Speaker: Gary Reusche
Host: Daniel Truran

Climate change, the coronavirus, and other global challenges will not be mitigated without a global effort. While the connection between climate change, environmental sustainability, global governance is clear in the Bahá’í Teachings, the idea of global governance is rarely considered in the wider community and is often dismissed outright. The reaction by governments and societies around the world in the face of existential threats is incomplete as global governance is not receiving the attention that is needed to resolve world problems. To the rescue come youth activists around the world who are challenging the status quo. The possibility of engaging in discourse about global governance opens up when people are concerned with solving existential issues like climate change and strategies to deal with pandemics. In this webinar, we will explore how to hold family, neighborhood, and community together in a way that establishes unity and supports youth activists. There is also more reception of meaningful discourses about global coordination in different professions that have unique expertise to support coordinated global actions based on unity. We will explore how to create a unified vision based on guidance from the Bahá’í World Center to adopt a posture of learning and engage in genuine social discourse.

Watch on YouTube

From Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Moral Excellence

Speakers: Nabil Elias and Jean Parker
Host: Gary Reusche

Many corporations have adopted corporate social responsibility (CSR) to reconcile the profit motive with “doing good”. They saw CSR as an application of enlightened self-interest. However, many CSR applications tend to be stand-alone programs tangential to core business activities that themselves may not be socially responsible. Some have lamented the failure of CSR incrementalism. We will explore an alternative based on elevating organizations to higher moral ground such that all their core activities are motivated by spiritual values. We will contrast assumptions underlying the current business model with those drawn from the Bahá’í Revelation and invite discussion of what each of us can do to support this emerging new paradigm in business.

Watch on YouTube



Rhonda Gossen

Rhonda Gossen is a consultant for the UNDP Crisis Bureau and a former manager in the Department of Global Affairs Canada. She has worked on humanitarian and crisis response in South Sudan, Nepal, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Southern Africa and on the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon and the Rohingya refugee crisis in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. A former Canadian diplomat working in Asia and Africa, Rhonda was posted in the Philippines, Ghana, Afghanistan and Pakistan.


Oscar Mendez Rosa

Oscar Mendez Rosa is founder of His work has always been guided by two fundamental concepts: the spiritual reality of men and the inherent nobility of human beings. Oscar has been dedicating his energies to building communities and contributing to collective well-being and prosperity. He has worked in over 40 countries in four continents and has interacted with people from different cultures. He has been trained in The Netherlands in communication and design and has more than 20 years of experience in business and large corporations. His passion is to develop a deeper understanding of the nature of transforming companies into communities and how this comes about. At he is, therefore, carrying out research in different fields of knowledge, including religion, philosophy, business, social studies, and economics. Oscar loves to help people elevate their view on reality so that their inner volition is unlocked to contribute to a more prosperous and just society.


Douglas Henck

Douglas Henck is non-executive board member of several organizations and was previously the CEO of AEGON Asia. Before that, he served as Chief Financial Officer at the Baha'i World Centre from 2006 to 2009. Prior to moving to Israel, Doug was President, Sun Life Financial Asia and a member of the corporation’s senior executive team. Earlier in his career he was Senior Vice President of the AIG Life Division of the American International Group after spending 23 years with the U.S.-based Aetna, Inc., the last ten years as the senior executive in Asia working out of the regional headquarters in Hong Kong that he started in 1987. Mr. Henck joined Aetna in 1974 after graduating with a B.S. (Mathematics) degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. Mr. Henck qualified as a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in 1978.


Jean Parker, PhD

Affiliate Faculty, College of Business and Economics, Regis University

I am a qualitative researcher utilizing participatory research to build cohesive communities throughout the world. My doctoral dissertation was on emergency preparedness learning through community radio in North Indian villages. I incorporated principles of the Bahá’í Faith into my academic work resulting in the development of a new theoretical approach to community-building called the Intecritical Research-To-Innovation Conceptual Framework combining Bahá’í consultation, Critical Theory and the Integral Worlds Approach. Through my work as a Senior Research Fellow at the Trans4m Center for Integral Development in Geneva, Switzerland, I have been able to integrate the universal Bahá’í principles into a variety of diverse thematic areas. My publications include a book entitled: Emergency Preparedness Through Community Cohesion: An Integral Approach To Resilience (Routledge, 2019), in which I apply principles of the Bahá’í Faith to community-building, decision-making and community-based economic enterprise as necessary components of resilience and sustainability. My research interests include community-based economic sustainability, integral research and development and the application of the Bahá’í process of consultation to participatory research. In addition to my work at Wilmette, I teach in the Global Nonprofit Leadership Program, in the Graduate School of Business and Economics at Regis University in Denver Colorado. See Jean’s interview on BahaiBlog.netListen to “Discovering How” – ebbf podcast on SoundCloudSee Faculty Bio


Arthur Dahl, PhD

President, International Environment Forum

I have always been a Bahá’í, loved nature since I was taught about it in children’s classes, and set my goal to become a Bahá’í pioneer at the conference launching the Ten-year Crusade in 1953. I was finishing my Ph.D. in marine biology in 1969 when the Santa Barbara oil spill covered my research material and I was doing pollution studies by default. While doing coral reef research at the Smithsonian Institution, I lectured at the first Earth Day in Washington, DC in 1970, and represented the Bahá’í International Community at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972. I was finally able to pioneer to New Caledonia in 1974, becoming the Regional Ecological Adviser to all the Pacific Island Countries at the Pacific Community, where I organized the Pacific Regional Environment Programme. I then joined the UN Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya, as Deputy Director of the Oceans and Coastal Areas Programme, before serving in the Secretariat of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to prepare Agenda 21, the global action plan for sustainable development, and then coordinating the UN System-Wide Earthwatch from Geneva, Switzerland, where I am still based. I have been President of the International Environment Forum, a Bahá’í-inspired organization for environment and sustainability, since 1997, and am also on the governing board of another Bahá’í-inspired organization, ebbf – Ethical Business Building the Future. I teach sustainability in several academic programmes, participate in international research projects on values-based indicators and education for sustainability, and have been Visiting Professor at the University of Brighton, UK, and the European Center for Peace and Development in Belgrade, Serbia. I have been a consultant to the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, and other international organizations. Among my many many scientific papers and books are: “Unless and Until: A Bahá’í Focus on the Environment”, “The Eco Principle: Ecology and Economics in Symbiosis,” “In Pursuit of Hope: A Guide for the Seeker” and (with two co-authors) “Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century,” based on proposals that won the New Shape Prize of the Global Challenges Foundation in 2018. My personal web site includes a complete CV and bibliography.See Faculty Bio


Sara DeHoff, MEd

Author, Freelance Writer

I am a freelance writer and author of the Amazon best-selling book Collaboration Through Consultation: A Powerful Tool for Building Community. For over 20 years, I’ve been writing for audiences in such diverse fields as healthcare, high tech, energy efficiency and the nonprofit sector. Growing up in the only Bahá’í family in a small rural town, I was determined to find out what this “oneness of humankind” was all about. So I went on to live/work/study in China, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia and the Czech Republic. I volunteered on Indian reservations, at a residence school in Canada and in the inner city of Chicago. I studied in the radical alternative environment of Evergreen State College and in the hallowed halls of Harvard University. I got involved in community theater in rural Oregon and in an African American neighborhood of Chicago. In all my travels, the thing that has always drawn me forward is the power of human potential. We are capable of so much! What is it that draws forth from us the best in ourselves? How can we create conditions that allow us to shine? How do we learn together—as individuals, teams and communities—to create a better world? This quest led me to create a website dedicated to exploring these questions: I am currently working in various settings to develop tools to help us learn together better, both as individuals and communities.See Faculty Bio


Vahid Masrour, BA

WI Adjunct Lecturer

Having resided in 6 countries (so far!), and being a polyglot, I consider myself a world citizen. Originally trained as a psychologist, I’ve dedicated much of my time to creating and facilitating training activities both in the for-profit and non-profit worlds. I am now keenly interested in participating in the inquiry about what educational systems could and should look like in the 21st century. I first got acquainted with Anello & Hernandez’s Transformative Leadership in the 90s, and immediately started implementing it in the workshops and training I facilitated. Having worked closely with Eloy Anello and Joan Hernandez in different projects, I had the opportunity to develop materials that adapted Transformative Leadership to youth groups. I currently am collaborating with Transformative Leadership Education, sharing its approaches to international audiences. As a Bahá’í, I am particularly interested in topics related to Bahá’u’lláh’s New World Order, and the transition of humanity towards it. In the core activities, serving as a tutor has been my favorite activity.See Faculty Bio

Up Next...