Monday, October 30, 2006

Collaborating with a great group of enthusiatic Baha'is

Yesterday evening, we were warmly received in the home of fellow Baha'i working for Yahoo here in California. This was an individual initiative to try to followup on the meeting organised by the Baha'i Internet Agency here in the Bay Area.

For those of you who may not be aware, the International Teaching Centre has set up a Baha'i Internet Agency, to encourage individual and group initiatives to use the Internet and other communication technologies to help strenghten communitites.

Many Baha'is are enthusiatically offering their time and effort, to help pull together all the efforts of other Baha'is to use blogging more effectively. As a beginner blogger myself, I look forward to learning much from them. I also enjoyed the first consultative meeting the BIA organised here in the Valley. The BCCA (the Baha'i Computer and Communications Association)will be organising a meeting in Bosch to get likeminded Baha'is together to get the ball rolling and renergise BCCA, sometime in Spring next year.

Having been involved in telecom and the Internet over the last 20 years, I have always been excited about telecom?internet as a tool to bring us closer together as one human family.

(PS posting the picture taken at the BIA meeting in the San Jose Baha'i centre a few months back)

Experiencing the world as one country

One of the things I will start doing on this blog, is sharing my experiences with the Baha'is from around the world. I have to date been very fortunate to be welcomed by Baha's in India, Samoa, Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam, US, etc just to name a few. It truly is a very warm feeling to be welcomed wherever you are. My most recent trip was to Myanmar where I met very warm and hospitable Baha'is. Despite their time constraints and health issues, they still enthusiastically came to welcome me at my hotel and proceeded to welcome me into their homes for dinner. I was actually in Myanmar attending an official UN meeting hosted by the government of Myanmar, and they were surprised that I knew people in Myanmar despite this being my first trip there. This is what being a part of the global family is. I do have lovely pictures and videos to share but will do so at a later time.

World Summit on the Information Society

This week in Athens, the first Internet Governance Forum is resuming to discuss issues concerning the global community. There will be many workshops on different topics such as privacy, domain name management, affordable and equitable access to communication technologies etc.

I was fortunate enough to have been a part of some of the burgeoning days of these efforts, from my days as founder of the Asia PAcific Policy and Legal Forum (APPLe) and as Secretary General of the Asia Pacific Internet Association back in the late 90s, as well as the Baha'i International Community Representative both at the WSIS Geneva 2003 and WSIS Tunis in 2005.

Both at Tunis and Geneva, as Baha'is we participated mainly in the Ethics and Values Caucus to help bring forward such principles into the Action Plan of the WSIS. It was very encouraging to see other spiritual and religious groups involved in these efforts.

We met many other Baha'is during these events, such as the Mona Foundation who were invited to showcase their projects at the Microsoft booth, Dr Danesh and his efforts in the Institute of Conflict Resolution, etc. I am sure there will be many Baha'is in Athens, and only wish I could have been there. Lack of funding and time has made me have to miss attending again this year.

It is ever so exciting to see the world collaborate to use communications technologies to bring the world together. This vision of a borderless world of communication is there in the Baha'i writings.