The 60’s were a turbulent and exciting time in the history of civilization, and no less so in the history of the Baha’i community. A few months ago, the American Baha’i National Centre posted videos of the 1968 Baha’i National Youth Conference, perhaps for the benefit of those of us who were merely glimmers in our parents’ eyes at the time—but perhaps also to remind us of the world-reviving spirit that permeated the Baha’i community at the time, a community fresh out of its Ten Year Crusade and already into the Nine Year Plan, which brought the message of Baha’u’llah to countless receptive souls across the globe.
Howdy. I’m currently reporting from the Cultivating the Roots conference at Bosch Baha’i School in Santa Cruz, California. So far, the sharing has been awesome. Everyone has has amazing insights and ideas for different types of projects and collaboration tools—all to help Baha’is develop better ways of interacting, collaborating, and channeling their energy into systematic action. I’m currently posting up a bunch of photos from the conference; check them out on flickr. Big ups to prema for letting me use her laptop.
It’s fascinating to ponder the holes out there in the Baha’i community that could be filled by judiciously chosen and developed IT initiatives. Throughout the day today, we’ve been talking about the needs out there—from tools to benefit Baha’i Institutions (for example, accounting software that operates according to the 19-month Baha’i calendar, or geomatics software to aid in planning various types of community campaigns) to software to sift through the Sacred Writings of the Baha’i Faith, to collaboration software to help Baha’i institutions, communities, and individuals to work together more effectively… there are so many ways that computers and the Internet can help us do our work better, yet there’s so little time to accomplish them all. A few projects that were put forth in one of the last workshops this afternoon: a functional Baha’i events database (similar to bahailocations.com) that can be used by Baha’i communities throughout the world to track their core activities, holy days, and various gatherings; an online presentation platform (similar to webconferencing) for holding formal or informal talks and “fireside chats”; and a process for providing technical and material support for Baha’i communities throughout the world who wish to develop their first websites.
So yeah, some really intense consultation here. The workshops have been the best—that’s why I really came to this conference. This morning, I attended a workshop on blogging by the authors of bahainine.com, the growing online portal to Baha’i blogs everywhere. That was awesome, just to be there and to be able to talk shop with them about blogging software, search engine optimization, content management systems, and miscellaneous Web 2.0 hobbledyhoy. The whole project is really interesting—creating an online portal to basically aggregate all the Baha’i-related content on the Internet, giving the “Baha’i blogosphere” a friendly face. The current site just contains a map and a searchable index of Baha’i blogs, but there’s a lot more in the works—photos, videos, full tagging capability, and so on. Speaking with the team that’s working on this mammoth task is immensely uplifting and exciting, and the possibilities are endless. I’ll be sure to post more later; remember to check back—apart from photos, there’ll also be videos (and/or mashups) for your enjoyment and upliftment.
ok, so I didn’t end up going to NEBY Fest (aka the Northeast Baha’i Youth Festival). That doesn’t mean I can’t live the experience vicariously through the photos of others. Check back regularly to this post; I’ll be adding more photo sets as I find them.
Delta alerted me to the upcoming NEBY Fest 2006 (where NEBY == North East Baha’i Youth), which is happening February 17th-20th in Stamford, Connecticut (site of WWE headquarters, among other things). Where is Stamford? Here. It’s right on the coast, north of Long Island, and within an hour of New York City. Apparently NEBY Fest is the largest youth conference of its kind in the US (probably even in North America). Maybe you should go! If you do, call Delta and start hooking up rides for the weekend.
Registration is $50 USD before January 31st; Family rates are also available before that date. They accept credit cards, and you can fax in your registration form. FYI.