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Wilmette Institute (WI)

The Wilmette Institute is a higher educational institution offering courses in Bahá’í history, texts, and the Bahá’í approach to social transformation. We are committed to a diverse academic community in our student body and faculty. Our courses facilitate consultation, action, and reflection leading to personal and collective transformation for the common good. We seek to provide innovative and transformative learning experiences for college students and others who want to make the world more compassionate, just and inclusive.

Upcoming Courses Offered in Fall 2022

HRHS-8380-1: BAHA'I HISTORY (Fall 2022) Robert Stockman, Instructor
Introduction to Bahá’í History will begin with an overview of the background out of which the Bahá’í Faith emerged in the 1840s, specifically religious and social developments in nineteenth century Iran and the Ottoman Empire; Shi’ism and the Shaykhi movement; and the emergence and impact of Babi Faith. Our exploration of the major themes of Bahá’í history focuses on four distinctive historical periods: the emergence of the new Bahá’í religion under Bahá’u’lláh (c. 1856-1892) and the subsequent development of the religion under his successors: `Abdu’l-Baha (1892-1921); Shoghi Effendi and the Custodianship of the Hands of the Cause (1922-1963); and the Universal House of Justice (1963-2021). Finally, we look at several themes that can be traced across Bahá’í history, including geo-social expansion and the ‘cultural breakthroughs’ which that entailed; leadership development and construction; dominant religious concerns; and persecution and its impact on the Bahá’í community.

PRRS 8220: Approaches to Non-Violent Social Change, Chitra Golestani, Instructor
This course explores the history, theory, and practice of nonviolent social change, in dialog with the principles of the Bahá’í Faith and the relevant experience of the Bahá’í community. As students reflect on how to become effective protagonists of social change, we will explore the following questions: How has the philosophy of nonviolent social change contributed to societal development? What is the spiritual or inner dimension to social change? In the pursuit of peace and justice, how can the means we employ become fully coherent with the ends we seek? What is the role of knowledge, learning, training, and capacity building in processes of social change? Students will contribute to public discourse and community building efforts through dynamic discussions, analysis, research, and presentations.