Irfan Colloquia 2001

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Posted by Iraj Ayman on February 18, 2001 at 03:08:13:

`Irfán Colloquium 2000

The `Irfán Colloquium has just completed its eighth year of activities. During the past eight years, a total of thirty-two sessions of the colloquium were held in Europe and North America. The main goals of these activities were to promote comprehension and clearer vision of the fundamental principles of the Bahá'í Faith, systematic study of the Bahá'í holy texts, and studies of the world religions and schools of thought as they relate to the Bahá'í Faith. Special attention has been paid to inviting those engaged in scholarly research to present the results of their studies and to increase the number of women, youth, and members of various minorities engaged in systematic Bahá'í scholarship.

The `Irfán Colloquium was initiated and is financially assisted by the Haj Mehdi Arjmand Memorial Fund, which is managed by the Treasurer's Office of the U.S. Bahá'í National Center. In order to facilitate participation of youth and those from financially less privileged countries, a scholarship fund in the memory of Nadia Saadat was donated in 1998.

During the past eight years, thirty-two colloquia were held in Europe and the United States. The combined number of participants in these sessions were 2,000, coming from forty different countries. Every participant received a booklet containing abstracts of the presentations. In 2000 they also received a volume containing texts of papers presented at earlier sessions, a guidebook for the study of the writings of Bahá'u'lláh, and other occasional papers and handouts.
Since 1996, a seminar section has been added to the colloquium sessions. The seminars were devoted to the systematic study of the writings of Bahá'u'lláh in chronological order of revelation. This year the writings revealed during the Akka period were discussed at the colloquia in Europe and at Louhelen, while writings revealed in Istanbul-Adrianople were studied at Bosch.

During the current year, six sessions of the `Irfán Colloquium were held, three in Persian and three in English, at the Acuto Centre for Bahá'í Studies (Italy; Persian only), London School of Economics (U.K.; English only), Louhelen Bahá'í School (U.S.; English and Persian) and Bosch Bahá'í School (U.S.; English and Persian). The main themes of the colloquium were two: mysticism and the Bahá'í Faith and world religions and the Bahá'í Faith. In these sessions 64 scholars, including 18 women and 16 youth, made a total of 103 presentations.

Activities of the Wilmette Institute and the `Irfán Colloquium are complementary. Students of the Wilmette Institute are most welcome to make presentations based on their research and studies initiated in Wilmette Institute courses. This year, in addition to ten Wilmette Institute faculty, two Wilmette Institute students were among the paper presenters at the `Irfán Colloquia. Brian Wittman presented a paper on "Keys to the Proper Understanding of Islam in Shoghi Effendi's The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh" and LeRoy Jones gave a paper on "The Mystic Cup: The Essential Mystical Nature of the Bahá'í Faith." It is hoped that as both the Wilmette Institute and the `Irfán Colloquia expand, more and more students will be stimulated in the former to attend or speak at the latter.

`Irfán Colloquium Call For Papers/Presentations

    The `Irfán Colloquium at Bosch Bahá'í School, instead of being held over the Thanksgiving weekend as in previous years, will be held over the weekend of May 18-20, 2001. The theme topic of the Colloquium will be "Mysticism and the Bahá'í Faith" as well as fundamental principles of the Bahá'í beliefs. The seminar section of the program will be devoted to the tablets revealed during the early Akka period. Alumni and students of the Wilmette Institute are cordially invited to participate in the program. Proposals for presentations should be received before the end of February 15, 2001. For further information please contact:

      Bahá'í National Center
      1233 Central Street
      Evanston, IL 60210-1611
      Tel: 847-733-3501
      Fax: 847-733-3502

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