15th General Assembly 2011



Baha'i Centre of Learning, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 11 December 2011


The IEF General Assembly, held during the 15th Conference of the International Environment Forum, opened at 13:30 on 11 December with a welcome from IEF President Arthur Dahl, followed by introductions from those present. There were 12 members present and 14 guests. Because time was short, it was agreed that the two present members of the IEF governing board would serve as officers of the General Assembly: Arthur Dahl (chair); Peter Adriance (substituting for Emily Firth as secretary). The agenda (Annex 1) was reviewed and approved.

Annual report

The annual report (Annual Report 2010-2011) was then presented briefly by Arthur Dahl and Peter Adriance and approved by the members.

Election of the Governing Board

The election of the Governing Board for 2011-2012 then took place with Erin O'Connor and Margaret Riebau serving as tellers. There were 11 ballots received by e-mail and 9 voting in person for a total of 20 voting. The board elected consists of: Arthur Dahl, Peter Adriance, Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Emily Firth, Duncan Hanks, Victoria Thoresen and Dimity Podger.

Consultation on activities and priorities for the coming year

The following topics were the focus of consultation:

Guidance on organizing the annual IEF Conferences – it was suggested that more explicit guidelines and expectations should be established for hosting and organizing the annual IEF conference, thus providing better direction to the host committee. It was explained that because the conference is held in different regions and under varying circumstances each year it is difficult to have a uniform set of expectations, however some models from past conferences could be offered. General principles would assist the organizers and give them a basic foundation from which to operate. To have guidance from the Governing Board in a spirit of accompaniment would be most appreciated.

Integrating environmental principles into community life – It was suggested that Bahá'í communities would find it helpful to have examples of how environmental principles can be integrated into community life. Could examples be included in the newsletter? It was noted that some case studies currently exist on the website, but more would be helpful, especially related to the core activities (devotional gatherings, children’s classes, study circles and junior youth groups).

Generation of learning resources – It was suggested that IEF might collaborate with other organizations in creating and making available learning resources. It was pointed out that there is an e-learning section of the site available to all, and more materials could be added there. It was asked whether IEF might explore giving academic credit for some courses. It was suggested that since accreditation is a rigorous process, it may not be worth the time involved for an organization like IEF to pursue. Arthur mentioned that the IEF is already involved in an accredited program which he is teaching in Geneva. Members who are professionals could possibly make IEF materials available in their own institutions.

Starting an Australian IEF Chapter – It was suggested that IEF explore setting up a chapter in Australia. It was explained that guidance received when the IEF was established discouraged the formation of chapters. However, the Australian friends who are interested could consult with the National Spiritual Assembly on how to bring this kind of network forward in their community. It was noted that a National Environmental Taskforce has been established in the Australian Bahá'í community, and it will be working on engaging interested people as part of its agenda.

Funding – It was suggested that membership dues might be established to assist the IEF in carrying out its functions and/or that a fund might be designated to receive individual contributions. It was explained that part of the hesitation in setting up a treasury has been the difficulty in determining how to identify the country in which to become recognized as a legal entity. With officers changing from year to year, it also makes it difficult to settle on a specific location. The IEF strategy has been to find another entity for each conference which could manage the funds on its behalf. It might be worth looking into ways that other organizations handle this issue.

Other business

There was no other business.

The General Assembly was adjourned at 15:10.



15th General Assembly of the International Environment Forum
Baha'i Centre of Learning, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 11 December 2011

 1. Opening of the General Assembly
 2. Introduction of members present
 3. Election of officers of the General Assembly
 4. Approval of the agenda
 5. Presentation, consultation and approval of the annual report (Annual Report 2010-2011)
 6. Election of the Governing Board
 7. Consultation on activities and priorities for the coming year, such as:
  - educational activities
  - a review and discussion on the new website and how it could help to engage members
  - activities on climate change
  - engaging with sustainable consumption
  - collaboration with various partner organizations and networks
  - contributions to the Rio+20 conference in June 2012
  - future IEF conferences
 8. Other business
 9. Closing of the General Assembly

See the Annual Report 2010-2011 of the IEF