The monthly electronic Newsletter provides news of the Wilmette
Institute, a schedule of online Web Talks, and upcoming courses

Wilmette Institute January 2020 News

The Wilmette Institute has renewed its partnership with United, which allows Baha'is to pursue a variety of religious studies degrees and include Wilmette Institute courses in them.

While we have the funding to cover our efforts to make Wilmette Institute courses available for college credit, we do NOT have the revenue to continue our non-credit courses and Web Talks. Tuition alone cannot supply the income for them and so far we've received only $30,000 from our generous supporters. Please assist us by sending a check or making an online contribution.

Why do you need to pay for a Wilmette Institute course? We explain the reasons and list the many options available to you to reduce or eliminate the cost.

Because relationships courses can involve very personal matters, anonymous registration for those courses is now available, for those who need it.

screenshot from Jan 2020 WI Courses video

Student News

Mark Johnson of Overland Park, Kansas, reflects about the way the course Sustainable Development and the Prosperity of Humankind changed his understanding of the world situation and what he can do to effect change.

Tip for Sustainable Living

Did you know that a third of the food produced for people never gets eaten by people? Avoiding food waste can make an important contribution to saving the environment. 

The talks are live web video and are free. Just click to register or watch live via our Facebook page or YouTube channel.

30% discount for first-timers in 2020
January 9 to March 4, 2020

Video: January Sacred 
Texts Courses
Shoghi Effendi has written that the Aqdas "may well be regarded as the brightest emanation of the mind of Baha'u'llah, as the Mother Book of His Dispensation, and the Charter of His New World Order." We will read the Kitab-i-Aqdas and supplemental texts related to it, while studying several of its main themes: covenant, succession, and manifestation; Baha'i institutions, including the rulers and the learned, the Universal House of Justice, Houses of Worship, Feasts, Holy Days, and the Baha'i calendar; the nature and purpose of Baha'u'llah's laws; Baha'u'llah's ordinances; prohibitions and punishments; Baha'u'llah's proclamations to kings, rulers, places, and groups of people; education and transformation; and teaching the Baha'i Faith.
January Marriage Courses video _screenshot_
Video: January Marriage
and Family Courses
January 6 to February 16, 2020

When individual partners strive to be emotionally and spiritually healthy, it contributes to the strength of their marriage. We invite individuals to refresh their understanding of the Baha'i teachings about marriage and gain insights into how their feelings, thoughts, words, actions, self-respect, happiness, and spiritual practices affect themselves and their marriage partner. As individuals increase in well-being, they benefit their marriage.
January 16 to March 4, 2020

Finding the Hidden Gift: An Approach to Studying the Bahá'í Writings introduces students to a systematic method of studying Bahá'í scripture using a number of literary and exegetical tools. In the course, we will view passages from Bahá'í scripture through four "windows" on the meaning of divine wisdom: language, theme, structure, and the work as a whole. We will also discuss briefly five other "windows": biography, historical context, oeuvre (the place of a work in the entire body of the author's works), literary tradition, and world scriptural tradition. The course is designed to help students learn to read slowly and carefully and to assist them in developing tools for analyzing Bahá'í texts systematically.

All readings for this course will be provided online, with no purchase of books required
January 16 to March 11, 2020

Promoting Moral Excellence in Business allows learners to explore and redefine the fundamentals of a new business and management paradigm founded on revolutionary spiritual and moral principles drawn from the Baha'i Revelation. We will first review current understanding of business ethics, then challenge commonly held assumptions in business and management. We will take time to rethink the purpose of business, examine the meaning of such spiritual and moral values as unity, justice, nobility, and service, and explore how these values and operational principles such as consultation apply in a business environment. We will then explore groundbreaking concepts of leadership, power, and corporate governance.

The course is for anyone interested in starting a business, improving their business, transforming their work environment, providing innovative and transformational consulting services or sharpening their social entrepreneurship skills .
January 20 to March 8, 2020

Family unity is linked to the quality of respectful and effective communication between all family members. Inspired by quotations from the Bahá'í Writings as well as stories from the life of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the course materials invite you and your family to explore different techniques for communicating effectively, understand the importance of encouragement, foster a learning mode, and implement and carry out family meetings.

This course is appropriate for those with children 14 years old and under
January 23 to March 12, 2020

Baha'u'llah described agriculture as "a vital and important matter" that was foremost among the principles "conducive to the advancement of mankind and to the reconstruction of the world." Yet current agricultural policy often prioritizes yield and profit over health, sustainability, and sociocultural features of rural communities, while the poor struggle to even feed themselves, and climate change makes farming increasingly unpredictable. These and other factors threaten food security. In Baha'i Perspectives on Agriculture and Food, we will examine the teachings of the Baha'i Faith on agriculture, food, and rural development; relate these teachings to contemporary public discourse on these issues; and suggest ways in which agricultural activities can be incorporated into core activities, community-building, and emerging social action.

Required textbook (not included in course fee): The Spirit of Agriculture, Paul Hanley (ed.), George Ronald, 2005. See details by clicking on course title above.
February 6-April 8, 2020

This course will examine anti-black racism and racial prejudice in North American society in some of its most serious manifestations, explore the content and significance of relevant Baha'i authoritative texts, and consider how Baha'is can initiate meaningful conversations and public discourse in a variety of contexts. It will explore definitions of race, racism, and prejudice, and examine such subjects as colonialism and slavery; the prison industrial complex; Black Lives Matter and policing issues; white privilege and bias/stereotyping; segregation, gentrification, and reparations; black women and social justice; and the Civil Rights Movement. Ultimately, participants will acquire tools to apply this knowledge to Baha'i community life and to use it in social-action projects.
February 13-April 2, 2020

What does "leadership" mean, once it's been stripped of the mindset of domination? How do we go about transforming ourselves and the social environment we find ourselves in? Since its initial formulation 25 years ago, transformative leadership has been applied in education, health, youth programs, community development and in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations in five continents. The course questions existing mental models of human nature, society, and leadership that impede progress toward a just, united world community, proposing an explicit, principle-based framework that can bolster cooperative action in teams, organizations and communities. The course is open to all and is especially useful to those who are involved in social action or participating in the discourse of society.

Required Text: Transformative Leadership: Developing the Hidden Dimension, by Eloy Anello, Joan Hernandez, May Khadem (2014). Google Books link
February 13-April 15, 2020

Discovering the Bab's Persian Bayan is the first concise yet comprehensive online study of the Bab's "pivotal" and "doctrinal" work. Participants will explore and examine the various themes and dimensions of this very lengthy book which Shoghi Effendi describes as "that monumental repository of the laws and precepts of the new Dispensation...." Learn about the "central message" of the Bayan and discover how the Bab as "the Promised Messenger of God" broke away from traditional Shí'a and Sunni doctrine by introducing new laws and ordinances for the next phase of the human spiritual development.
February 20-April 2, 2020

The Bahá'í Faith has a unique calendar of 19 months of 19 days each, plus 4 or 5 days of Ayyam-i-Ha to bring the length of the year up to a full solar cycle. Through this calendar, "sacred moments are distinguished, humanity's place in time and space are reimagined, and the rhythm of life recast." The Universal House of Justice, in a letter dated July 10, 2014, has called "upon the Baha'is of the East and West to adopt . . . the provisions that will unite them in the common implementation of the Badi' calendar." The House of Justice has also fixed the start of the year on the first day of spring as it occurs in Tehran. In The Badi' (Baha'i) Calendar we will consider the purpose and nature of calendars in general, the organization of the Baha'i calendar (created by the Bab and called the Badi' calendar), the spiritual significance of the names of "the periods and cycles, months and days" in the calendar, and the purpose and timing of Baha'i holy days. We will also compare the Baha'i calendar to the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic calendars.
One Common Faith
February 27-April 16, 2020

People of different faiths (including those with non-religious worldviews) increasingly dialogue with each other. Even so, interreligious conflict is still all too prevalent in the 21st century. Study of One Common Faith - centred as it is on the bold assertion that "the time has come when religious leadership must face honestly and without further evasion the implications of the truth that God is one and that . . . religion is likewise one" - will give us concepts, understandings and tools for effective contributions to interfaith dialogue and to public discourse on the role of religion in society.
Register anytime and study them at your own pace!

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The Wilmette Institute eNewsletter 

The Wilmette Institute eNewsletter is published monthly by the Wilmette Institute, which offers quality online courses on the Baha'i Faith. The Wilmette Institute is committed to engaging a broad and diverse international community of learners in deep study of the Faith and to fostering love for study of the Faith. The Wilmette Institute was established in January 1995 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States.

Information from the eNewsletter may be copied or reproduced, provided that the following credit is given: "Reprinted from the eNewsletter of the Wilmette Institute," followed by the issue's date. Recipients are encouraged to forward the eNewsletter to friends. If you have questions, please email us at

Robert H. Stockman

Robert H. Stockman
Niki Daniels

Christine Muller
Mark Johnson

Wilmette Institute, 1233 Central Street, Evanston, IL, 60201-2886 USA
Phone 1.877.WILMETTE (1.877.945.6388)


© 2020 National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States
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