An attractive program and special speaker are in store for those attending this year’s Association for Baha’i Studies Conference. The focus will be on ways Baha’i scholarship can help generate a consensus in the discourse on human nature. “Registration is higher at this time compared to previous years,” said conference coordinator Parvin Rowhani.
The theme of the conference, taking place August 12 – 15 in Vancouver, British Columbia is “Rethinking Human Nature” and a panel across various academic fields will take steps to relate the Baha’i writings and experience to prevailing conceptions of human nature.
The conference will feature a presentation by recently retired member of the Universal House of Justice Hooper Dunbar, entitled “The Dual Character of Human Reality”. Mr. Dunbar, originally from Los Angeles, was appointed to the International Teaching Centre in 1973 and elected to the Universal House of Justice in 1988.
He has worked as an actor on stage, screen and television; as a painter with showings in Europe and elsewhere; and as an author, both of a study guide to the “Book of Certitude”, one of Bahá’u’lláh’s major works, and of “Forces of Our Time: The Dynamics of Light and Darkness”. Before serving at the Baha’i World Centre in Israel, he lived in Central America for 15 years where he was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Nicaragua, then an Auxiliary Board member and finally a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors for the Americas.
Another panel called “Many Generous Hands” will bring together First Nations leaders and scholars to consult about how to create social, cultural and spiritual reconciliation, including the roles of individuals, communities and faiths. Payam Akhavan, Professor of International Law at McGill University, will make a presentation about the Baha’is and Iran’s coming of age. Alison Milston, member of the Continental Board of Counsellors for the Americas will address the conference on Sunday morning. Italian National Assembly member Julio Savi will deliver the Balyuzi lecture about “Destiny and Freedom in the Bahá’í Writings”. Artistic performances are incorporated throughout the four days as well as impromptu music in the evenings after the sessions. There will also be Persian sessions and a children’s and junior youth program.
Further details, accommodations and registration are available at http://www.bahai-studies.ca/.