“A Second Charter: Imagining a Renewed United Nations” – A Talk from Augusto Lopez-Claros

Date: Tuesday 27th February
Time: 7.30 – 8.30 p.m.
Venue: Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, CB2 3HU

We are excited to announce Augusto Lopez-Claros will be offering a talk on Tuesday 27th February in Cambridge at Sidney Sussex College, titled “A Second Charter: Imagining a Renewed United Nations”, exploring the future of global governance to better address worldwide challenges.

This event is free to attend and open to all, no booking required. We look forwards to seeing you and your friends.

Talks for Cambridge Festival 2023

Education: The Evolutionary Engine of Civilisation

Date: Sunday, 26 March, 3:00pm-4:30pm
Venue: Sidney Sussex College, William Mong Hall, Sidney Street, CB2 3HU

Ongoing, accelerating and escalating global crises may lead some to despair. From an evolutionary perspective, however, this may not be just another random resurgence of trouble and conflict in the world: we may be experiencing birth pangs of the next phase in the unfolding of civilisation.

This period of intense transformation is ripe with occasions for genuine breakthrough as well as spectres of catastrophic breakdown. Humankind is becoming painfully aware of its essential interdependence and unity – learning, in profound and tangible ways, that “the earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens” (Bahá’u’lláh, circa 1880).

From simple bands of hunter-gatherers, our species has emerged, through increasing complexity and deepening cooperation, into tribal societies, city-states and nation-states. Now we stand at the threshold of an emerging world society and the possibility of global civilisation.

There is a fundamentally ethical dimension to this evolution: from primordial animalistic egoism and self-love, advancing towards various degrees of limited social altruism and loyalties, and now approaching the possibility of genuine universal coherence and belonging.

Alongside this ethical dimension, workings of an educational momentum can be seen: human potential would have remained dormant, unrealised, were it not for some form of active educational influence – left to mere ‘cumulative self-learning’, neither individual humans nor our collective species could have attained to their inherent potentialities.

The effects of this educational impulse run like a story line in the annals of history. Responding, though reluctantly, to the promptings of this momentum, peoples have progressively attained to the intellectual, moral and spiritual capacities that serve to civilise human character. Today, the opportunities offered by a profoundly global perspective give this age-long process entirely new dimensions and new meaning, opening civilisational prospects undreamt of in earlier ages.

Exploring this narrative of recurring social, ethical and spiritual education can help us to understand the dynamics of constructive and destructive forces in history.

Dr Partow Izadi explores these insights in a conversational session organised by the Cambridge University Bahá’í Society. Dr Izadi is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Lapland. His areas of expertise include systems theory, global education, evolution of civilisation and universal ethos.

Registration page: https://www.festival.cam.ac.uk/events/education-evolutionary-engine-civilisation

‘Eleven’: The Rising Global Population and the Future of Humanity

Date: Wednesday, 29 March, 8:00pm-9:00pm
Venue: Online (Zoom Webinar)

United Nations projections show the global population reaching 11 billion and the world economy growing 500% by the end of this century. Can the planet accommodate 3 billion more people when our current ecological footprint already exceeds Earth’s biocapacity? This question will preoccupy humanity throughout this century, affecting everything we do from designing cities to producing food to using energy. Our mission is daunting. Somehow, we have to support 40% more people, raise billions out of poverty and reduce our ecological footprint to the sustainable level it was when we were just 4 billion. However, every facet of our social, economic and political order – indeed the totality of the dominant global culture – compels us to maintain the status quo. Clearly, we have to change direction.

Join Paul Hanley, journalist, author of the award-winning book ELEVEN and Bahá’í, as he considers how we got into this predicament and maps a way forward.

Paul is a recipient of the Canadian Environment Award, the Meewasin Conservation Award, the Saskatchewan Sustainability Award and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Food System Vision 2050 Prize. His book ELEVEN received the 2015 University of Saskatchewan President’s Award for Non-fiction. His biography Man of the Trees: Richard St Barbe Baker, the First Global Conservationist features an introduction by Jane Goodall and a foreword by HRH King Charles. He has published a total of six books and 1,600 articles on the environment, sustainable development, agriculture and other topics. Alongside his writing, Paul has extensive practical experience in organic gardening, living on an off-grid acreage in Saskatchewan for 10 years, and helping to build Saskatchewan’s organic farming movements.

Registration page: https://www.festival.cam.ac.uk/events/eleven-rising-global-population-and-future-humanity

Update: You can watch a recording of this talk on our YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDPAUkoStJQ

Earth Reflections

You are warmly invited to join us for Earth Reflections to enjoy poems, reflections, prayers, tributes, and music reflecting love for the Earth.

This event was first held in preparation for the COP26 conference in Glasgow, and has since spread throughout the UK.

The event will take place online on Tuesday, 31st May 2022 at 7pm.

To register your interest and receive further information, please sign up using this form: https://forms.gle/sJzPqoxKL3HtR24v7

Talks for Cambridge Festival 2022

Philosopher, Mystic, Social Reformer, Promulgator of Peace: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (1844–1921) in Biography and Three Short Stories

“About the greatness of this man and his power no one who met him could entertain a doubt”, Professor E.G. Browne, Cambridge, 1890.

The speaker, Sean Hinton studied ethnomusicology at Cambridge University, served as Mongolia’s first honorary Consul-General in Australia, and is CEO of the Soros Economic Development Fund. He is joined by story tellers Tebogo Khutsoane, Sarah Percival and Ismael Velasco.

Online event, 8 – 9pm, Sunday 3rd April 2022
Registration link: https://www.festival.cam.ac.uk/events/philosopher-mystic-social-reformer-promulgator-peace-abdul-baha-1844-1921-biography-and-three

Update: To view the recording of this talk, visit our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/bbN7gEXgBIs

Climate Change, Global Pollution, Biodiversity: Can we Turn the Corner?

To overcome our environmental crises, we need to rethink our human purpose, our economy and our systems of governance, with young people in the lead.

Dr Arthur Dahl studied at Stanford University and worked as a senior official of UNEP. He was involved in drafting Agenda21 for the Rio Earth Summit and coordinated UN Earthwatch. He is president of the Baha’i-inspired International Environment Forum.

Online event, 8 – 9pm, Thursday, 7th April 2022
Registration link: https://www.festival.cam.ac.uk/events/climate-change-global-pollution-biodiversity-can-we-turn-corner

Update: To view the recording of this talk, visit our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/cDUsE-yw9Wg

Series of Talks for the Centenary

To commemorate the centenary of the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Cambridge University Bahá’í Society has arranged online talks by eight international speakers. Each speaker will focus on one theme based on the teachings and life of this unique individual and its relevance to our world today.

Visit this page for further details of all the talks and registration links on Eventbrite.

Cambridge Festival: “New Perspectives on Justice”

Layli Miller-Muro explores the revolutionary Baha’i concept of justice as a means to unity and how we can achieve it. Layli Miller-Muro is CEO of the Tahirih Justice Center, which provides free legal and social services and engages in advocacy on behalf of immigrant women and girls fleeing human rights abuses. Layli founded the organization in 1997 following her involvement as a law student in a high-profile case that set national precedent and revolutionized asylum law in the US.

Since 2001, Layli has led the Tahirih Justice Centre in its service to more than 27,000 women and children (https://www.tahirih.org). Prior to joining Tahirih, she was an attorney-advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice, Board of Immigration Appeals. Tahirih gained recognition for innovative use of pro bono services in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. She was listed in the Newsweek/Daily Beast 150 most fearless women. She is a frequent lecturer and has appeared in numerous news outlets including CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. The talk will be followed by discussion.

Date/Time: 7:30pm-8:30pm on Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Talk will take place online (book free tickets through Eventbrite to receive link)

Booking/Registration page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/new-perspectives-on-justice-tickets-131769775947

Update: View a recording of the talk on YouTube.

Cambridge Festival: “Post-COVID Recovery and the Future of Global Economics”

By late-September 2020 the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center had tracked more than 33 million confirmed cases of the virus globally, causing close to 1 million deaths. The remarkable speed, global reach, and ease with which the virus crossed borders and is being transmitted between people has sent stock markets tumbling worldwide, with the World Bank projecting the deepest global recession since World War II. This excessive volatility, the sudden drop in confidence by consumers, and severe knock-on economic and social effects have resulted overnight in a swift contraction in cross-border finance, trade, air travel, and most other sectors of our interconnected global economy, as well as millions of job losses. This talk and discussion will examine measures to overhaul our system of global economic and social governance, both to respond to the immediate challenge of recovery from COVID-19 and to redouble efforts to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The talk draws on the teachings of the Baha’i Faith. 

Dr. Augusto Lopez-Claros is a Cambridge alumnus, and an international economist with over 30 years of experience in international organisations, including most recently the World Bank where he was director of the Global Indicators Group. Previously he was Chief Economist and Director of the Global Competitiveness Program at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, and Professor of Economics at the University of Chile. In May 2018, he was co-awarded the New Shape Prize for his work on Global Governance and has recently co-authored two books: ‘Equality for Women = Prosperity for All’ and ‘Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21stCentury’ published by Cambridge University Press.

Date/Time: 8:00pm-9:00pm on Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Talk will take place online (book free tickets through Eventbrite to receive link)

Booking/Registration page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/post-covid-recovery-and-the-future-of-global-economics-tickets-131767998631

Update: View a recording of the talk on YouTube.

Cambridge Festival: “Working for Change: How Social Action Creates Impact”

Can positive impact and change at a local, national or even international level arise from our individual actions? Katina Jones challenges existing norms typically associated with our professional goals. Founder of the United Nations NGO Centre for Equality, and a group of organisations dedicated to health, education, philanthropy and human rights, she is in conversation with Jenifer Varzaly from the Cambridge University Baha’i Society. The discussion will explore topics related to meaningful work, personal drive and passion, and what each of us can do to make an impact in challenging times, whether large or small.

Date/Time: 12:00pm-1:00pm on Saturday, 27 March 2021

Talk will take place online (book free tickets through Eventbrite to receive link)

Booking/Registration page: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/working-for-change-how-social-action-creates-impact-tickets-132348498923

Update: View a recording of the talk on YouTube.

Elimination of Extremes of Wealth and Poverty

The Cambridge University Bahá’í Society is delighted to host Dr. Lopez-Claros to talk about the elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty.

Income inequality has quickly emerged as a serious economic problem, with the potential to disrupt our social and political order. How to address widening income disparities is now an urgent challenge, for governments, the business community and civil society. In this talk Dr. Lopez-Claros will present a range of proposals currently being considered to alleviate the extremes of wealth and poverty. He will also explain why income inequality has an ethical and moral dimension and the contribution that the Bahá’í Faith makes to a deeper understanding of the problem and its solutions.

Augusto Lopez-Claros is an international economist with over 30 years of experience in international organisations, including most recently at the World Bank where he was director of the Global Indicators Group. Previously he was Chief Economist and Director of the Global Competitiveness Program at the World Economic Forum in Geneva. In May 2018 he was co-awarded the New Shape Prize for his work on “Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century” and has recently co-authored the book “Equality for Women = Prosperity for All”.