Inaugural October 13 On-Line Baha’i Studies Conference on the Legacy of `Abdu’l-Baha Announced

It had to happen. The Cloud Conferences are here. The first one is scheduled for October 13.

Bringing together leading authors, young scholars, and group participation, we will together harness the power of the internet to achieve new levels of engagement, consultation, and collaboration in the rigorous, diverse and inclusive venture that is Baha’i studies.

The Cloud Conferences will be the first Baha’i studies online conferences ever held. At a time of global access to knowledge, Baha’i scholarship is being pursued in a wide variety of fields across the world. This vital service, however, is often limited by the logistical constraints of traveling to conferences across the world, with the financial restraints and environmental impacts that entails. The result impedes the free, consultative flow of ideas for those who could otherwise greatly contribute to and benefit from such events.

The Cloud Conferences Baha’i Studies Series seeks to overcome such access barriers; to broaden exposure to, audience for, and participation in Baha’i studies; to use the power of new media to dramatically expand the culture of Baha’i scholarship; and to systematically seek to build the capacity of Baha’i studies to contribute to the discourses of society.

During the centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s historic voyage to the West, the first Cloud Conference, with the theme  “`Abdu’l-Baha: Legacies and Resonances” will take stock of the impacts, legacies, and, above all, the ongoing relevance that the figure of ‘Abdu’l-Baha still holds in a planet in transition.

The date of the first online Cloud conference is October 13.

Among the speakers will be (more to come):

  • Robert Stockman (USA): author of ‘Abdu’l-Baha in America
  • Jan Jasion (France): author of ‘Abdu’l-Baha in France  and of ‘Abdu’l-Baha in the West: A Biographical Guide to ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Western Travels   
  • Arthur Dahl (Switzerland): President of the International Environment Forum and former Deputy Director at the United Nations Environment Programme
  • Gloria Yazdani (Canada): Artist, human rights activist, and former co-editor of the Online Journal of Baha’i Studies
  • Steven Cooney (New Zealand): Independent scholar and editor the Baha’i Studies Review
  • Ismael Velasco (UK): Interdisciplinary Baha’i scholar and social action specialist

Participants at the conference will be as much protagonists as audience, for the simple and accessible online conference platform makes possible an unprecedented degree of interaction, reflection, discussion, and exchange. Outstanding participant contributions and conversations will be featured in the conference proceedings, subject to previous consent.

Participants will be able to put questions to the speakers, comment live, communicate with one another in public and in private, and contribute their own ideas in an innovative, scholarly, consultative atmosphere. All that you need is a computer and an internet connection . . . and presto!

Presentations will be recorded. Hence time-zone differences will be no barrier to attendance, and no contribution will be missed.

The event will open for registrations during the week of September 17, 2012. To make sure you are notified, communicate your wish to attend by joining the event on Facebook, or by sending an e-mail

Why not take the plunge and present a paper yourself?  Cloud Conferences will take place four times a year. The call for papers is for the whole year. There are no limitations on theme, discipline, or topic for expressions of interest. Submissions from young scholars such as (but not at all limited to) graduate students are particularly welcome.

This is a global experiment in using new media in the pursuit of collaborative insight into the Baha’i teachings, community, history and spirit. 

Your participation might just help birth something beautiful and significant. 

Let others know, and let’s discover the power of word of mouth.

And now, let’s hit the cloud.