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Big Ideas is a series of talks addressing some of humanity’s shared challenges and opportunities as we work to advance an emerging global civilization. This series brings together perspectives from the Baha'i writings with current research and experience as well as contemporary discourses on key issues of our time.

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Friday, October 2, 2020, 7:30 pm

Creating a Refuge from Racism

Carol Mansour explores this issue on a regular basis with Bahá’ís from throughout North America and around the world. She is es-pecially drawn to discourses connecting the Writings and guidance of the Bahá’í Faith with current social movements aimed at elimi-nating anti-Blackness. She has been spurred into action after re-flecting on the admonition in “The Advent of Divine Justice” to consider it a primary obligation to “nurture, encourage and safe-guard” minorities, and by coming to a fuller understanding of Ba-ha’u’llah’s metaphor comparing people of African descent to the “pupil of the eye”, necessary for spiritual sight.

Carol challenges the Bahá’í community to examine its assumptions about itself. Does it reflect the diversity of the wider society? Do racial minorities feel warmly welcomed? Are they valued for more than photo ops? What do we need to stop doing, start doing or continue doing to transform into refuges from racial prejudice?

About Carol:
Carol Mansour grew up in a racially segregated neighborhood, attending an all Black church, and troubled that nothing in the scenario seemed congruent with what she was learning about God’s love for all His creatures. When she heard of the Bahá’í teachings as an adult, she was intrigued that working for the elimination of racial prejudice was deemed a spiritual obli-gation. As a journalist, professional and personal skepticism made it difficult for her to take much of what she was hearing at face value. She has officially been “becoming” a Bahá’í for nearly 30 years now.

Carol is one of the founding admins of an international group de-voted to exploring social justice issues through a Bahá’í lens, Race Unity in America – an Oral History, and is active in the Nashville area in interfaith circles, especially those dealing with the issue of eliminating racial prejudice.

Visit this site to see videos of Carol’s experiences: Here!

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Friday, 11 September 2020, 7:30 pm

'Abdu’l-Bahá: The Master of Social Action and Public Discourse

Among His many areas of service to humanity, 'Abdu’l-Bahá initiated remarkable social and economic projects that even today would be at the forefront of agriculture and community development initiatives. Similarly, His public discourse, which occurred 100 years ago, remains transformational in its content on innumerable topics still at the forefront of contemporary discourse. In all things, He is our Exemplar. This presentation features a number of his accomplishments in these areas, focusing particularly on ‘Adasiyyah, the model agricultural village established by the Master in the early 20th century.

About Paul Hanley
Paul Hanley lives in Saskatoon. He has published five books and 1600 articles on the environment, sustainable development, agriculture, and other topics. His most recent book is Man of the Trees: Richard St. Barbe Baker, the First Global Conservationist. Paul has received several awards including the 2015 University of Saskatchewan President’s Award for Non-fiction and the 2015 ABS North America Award for Distinguished Scholarship.



Friday, 21 August 2020, 7:30 pm

Towards a New World Order: Governance Issues with Andy Tamas

“The world’s equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order….” - Baha’u’llah

Two objectives of the Baha’i revelation are the recognition of the one-ness of humanity and the establishment of a New World Order. These have major implications for governance, from individual, interpersonal and community to global levels.

Baha’u’llah proclaimed His mission to the kings and rulers of His time, calling on them to establish the Most Great Peace. Their rejection of His call has set humanity on a rocky road towards the Lesser Peace.

In this presentation, Andy Tamas explores how patterns of governance (order) have changed in the last century, the various stages in the inter-national movement towards world peace, and the major challenges and lessons learned from the establishment of the United Nations and the European Union. What will drive world leaders to recognize the “imperative necessity” described by Baha’u’llah? How will the Baha’is fulfill their task of breathing life into the political unification of mankind? Please join us for a series of talks addressing some of humanity’s shared challenges and opportunities as we work to advance an emerging global civilization. This series brings together perspectives from the Baha'i writings, current research, experience, and contemporary discourses on key issues of our time. Read about this talk here.

About Andy Tamas
Andy is a governance and organizational change specialist with a focus on national and sub-national institutional analysis, policy implementa-tion and reform in fragile and conflict-affected states. He has worked on public sector reform and governance initiatives for decades in Afghani-stan, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere, most recently on projects for Swedish SIDA and USAID to help with their planning for support to Afghanistan. He recently received a Doctorate in Governance from University College Dublin, with a focus on governance in fragile states – his previous studies were in Continuing Education and Social Work.

Some years ago when on pilgrimage Andy prayed to be able to pioneer – not geographically in the normal sense, but rather professionally – to find a way to move into fields of practice where there were not many Baha’is. Since then his work has taken him to some of the world’s most troubled states, where he has done what he can to apply the principles of the Faith to help strengthen governance in these countries.

Friday, 7 August 2020, 7:30 pm

Decolonization and Anti-Racism: A View of Creating Change by Danielle Ewenin

This presentation will provide an overview of Decolonization and Anti-Racism, but with a view that there may at first glance be two sides. A closer look shows learning and development provides that growth of individual, community and nation is required for a just society. One does not wake up one morning in a just society, but via human development and growth change occurs, and it must occur at the level of the individual, family, community, and nation. Please join us for a series of talks addressing some of humanity’s shared challenges and opportunities as we work to advance an emerging global civilization. This series brings together perspectives from the Baha'i writings, current research, experience, and contemporary discourses on key issues of our time.

About Danielle Ewenin
Danielle is from Kawacatoose First Nation, Saskatchewan, the mother of 5 children and grandmother of 19. Danielle is a graduate of the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, now First Nations University, and holds a degree in Indigenous Studies. Her expertise is in community development and she has worked extensively in the USA and Canada, as well as being a published author of articles and book chapters. Danielle has been a strong advocate for Indigenous Peoples both in the USA and Canada, with a focus on women and youth. She was a community coordinator for Amnesty International’s report, “Maze of Injustice; Sexual Victimization of American Indian Women in the USA.” and has spoken at national and international conferences on social and economic development. She holds to the belief that we live in a society where equality and justice and peace are attainable for all.

Friday, July 17, 7:30 pm

Where Spiritual Teachings, Collective Learning and Community Building Align

Several key concepts and guiding principles are emerging in development discourse and practice that are shaping its methods and approaches, universally. And not surprisingly, many of these elements are entirely consistent with the experience and teachings of the Baha’i Community. This presentation will reflect on some lessons learned from an independent research activity with eleven grantees of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, exploring from their perspective what contributes to positive and sustained change at the individual and community level. The presentation will then contrast this experience with some insights generated from participating in the capacity and community building programs of the Ruhi Institute.

About Duncan Hanks
Duncan has worked with non-governmental, Baha’i, and Baha’i-inspired organizations in the fields of international and community development for over twenty-five years, including seven years as a consultant to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His areas of expertise include organizational development, change management, capacity building and sustainable development.

Friday, July 3, 7:30pm

The Spirit of Agriculture

Paul Hanley will discuss how spiritual principles and practices can be applied to food systems to ensure that they are equitable, just, healthy and sustainable.

About Paul Hanley
Paul has published five books and 1600 articles on the environment, sustainable development, agriculture, and other topics. His most recent book is Man of the Trees: Richard St. Barbe Baker, the First Global Conservationist. Paul has received several awards including the 2015 University of Saskatchewan President’s Award for Non-fiction and the 2015 ABS North America Award for Distinguished Scholarship.

Friday, June 19, 7:30pm

How to Make the World Work For 11 Billion People

Eleven billion people will share this planet by century’s end. Adding 3 billion to an already overburdened world will admit force everyone to change everything. Only an ethical revolution will allow us to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization. This evening’s talk, based on Paul’s book ELEVEN, proposes a transformational model that will help individuals, institutions and communities make an 11 billion world work for everyone – and the planet. Read about this talk here.

About Paul Hanley
Paul has published five books and 1600 articles on the environment, sustainable development, agriculture, and other topics. His most recent book is Man of the Trees: Richard St. Barbe Baker, the First Global Conservationist. Paul has received several awards including the 2015 University of Saskatchewan President’s Award for Non-fiction and the 2015 ABS North America Award for Distinguished Scholarship.

Friday, February 21st, 7:30pm

The Bahá'í Faith and Human Rights

The idea of universal human rights may seem timeless, but international agreement on rights did not exist before 1948. Over a century ago, however, Bahá’u’lláh articulated a global vision of the equal dignity and rights for all. This presentation will explore the Bahá’í teachings on human rights and Bahá’í community engagement on this issue dating back to the drafting process of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Tony Michel

Friday, January 24th, 7:30pm

Environmental crisis; Climate Emergency: Looking for Answers in the Baha'i Revelation

The Baha'i teachings point to revolutionary change in how the world is organized. Climate change experts and activists insist radical changes are needed in our economic and political structures and our way of life – as Naomi Klein suggests, the climate emergency “changes everything”. How does Baha'u'llah's prescription for a future global civilization correspond to the challenges of today and can it set in place the fundamental changes needed? Read about this talk here.
Diana Cartwright

Notice:
The views and opinions expressed in this series of presentations are those of the speakers and not necessarily those of the Ottawa Bahá'í community and/or its institutions.


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