20TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Nur University, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, 7-9 October 2016
on the theme
With the launching of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals approved at the UN General Assembly Summit last September, governments and the international community are heavily involved in implementation at the national level and in creating the relevant indicators and supporting measures. However, governments will not be able to reach these ambitious goals without widespread public support and involvement, and little has been done to make the SDGs accessible and relevant to the public. What has largely been a top-down process needs to be accompanied by a bottom-up process of public buy-in and participation. This conference will explore implementing the SDGs as communities and individuals.
The conference will focus on three issues that concern everyone, and are of particular interest to Latin America:
• Responsible and sustainable lifestyles (SDG12)
• Values and education (SDG4)
• Sustainable urban communities (SDG11)
Wilmette Institute Course on Sustainable Development
Spiritual Approach to Ecology
Approche spirituelle de l'écologie
Présence, a Christian magazine at the meeting of spiritualities (in French), published its number 3 in May 2016 on the theme: Choose to live! A spiritual approach to ecology, with 49 articles by religious leaders and intellectuals. Arthur Dahl contributed an article on "The relationship with nature in the Bahá'í Faith", pp. 76-79. See more at https://revuepresence-leblog.com/.
Présence, Revue chrétienne à la rencontre des spiritualités, a publié son numero 3 en mai 2016 sur le thème: Choisis la Vie! Approche spirituelle de l'écologie, avec 49 articles des responsables religieuses et intellectuelles.
IEF speakers in Kuwait
IEF board members Wendi Momen and Arthur Dahl were invited to be keynote speakers at the first Vision Gulf Business Conference in Kuwait on 31 May 2016, on the theme "Opportunities for Innovation and Coexistence", preceded by a press conference on 30 May. The conference, planned to be an annual event, aims to explore, inspire and offer practical approaches for building a better future for Kuwait. Ethical Business Building the Future (ebbf) was a conference partner.
The Interfaith Study Course on the Scientific and Spiritual Dimensions of Climate Change prepared for IEF by Christine Muller and used successfully in many communities for study circles, is now available in Spanish, translated by IEF member Zulay Posada of Colombia. The original course in English in 9 modules is available on the IEF web site, and was used to design the very successful on-line course on Climate Change offered through the Wilmette Institute.
Workshop on Implementing the SDGs
Geneva, Switzerland, 27 April 2016
A high-level workshop on "Implementing the SDGs: creating and sharing knowledge" was held at International Environment House in Geneva, Switzerland, on 27 April 2016. The workshop was organized and convened by IEF member Dr. Joachim Monkelbaan with the assistance of the University of Geneva Institute for Environmental Sciences and the support of the Swiss Network for International Studies, and brought together over 40 experts from the international organizations, academic community and civil society organizations in the Geneva area. IEF represented civil society organizations in the planning of the workshop.
IEF Governing Board member Duncan Hanks has co-edited with Roy Steiner a book: "Harnessing the Power of Collective Learning: Feedback, accountability and constituent voice in rural development" (London and New York: Routledge, 2016, 260 p.). The book includes eleven case studies of organizations trying to develop and implement collective learning systems as an integral component of sustainable development practice. Both the editors and several of the authors are Baha'is, and this is reflected in their approaches to professional challenges in their field.
Justice in Action: From Local to Global
Several members of the International Forum participated in the 21st annual Justice Conference at de Poort, the Netherlands, a Bahá'í-inspired forum for the exploration of international law, global governance, justice and ethics, which draws lawyers and other experts from all over the world. The theme of the conference this year on 25-27 March was "Justice in Action: From Local to Global". Ismael Velasco presented his work on suicide prevention with young people in Greenland, gave a workshop on "The Next 30 Years: Perspectives on Radical Technological Change & the Social Transformation of Justice - Trends, Prospects and DiIemmas", and also entertained with evening story-telling. Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen spoke on a plenary panel on "Perspectives on Global Order and the Rule of Law" looking at issues of accountability. Arthur Dahl gave a keynote on "Using the new UN 2030 Agenda to work for justice at the local level". IEF members Nigel Jollands, Wendi Momen and Iko Kongo also attended the conference.