EBBF activity in different Universities in Italy

1.- Surrounded by the spectacular scenery of blue sea and green nature, last Wednesday 8th of June saw the closing ceremony of the academic year of the University of Economics of Naples.
A conference centre built in the highest part of the island of Capri, with around 100 students of economics, guests of a program that included a greeting by the mayor of Capri, a welcome address by the Dean of this large university of Napoli Parthenope, Professor Gennaro Ferrara.
EBBF was a guest speaker with an intervention of some 45 minutes in the central part of the program on the topic “The individual : a prime asset for a company”. The name of Baha’u’llah rang over and over again in this conference centre together with a number of quotations from His Writings, on a topic where Bahai’s have a lot to share, touched the hearts and minds of those present.
At the end of the talk, during the buffet lunch, on a marvellous terrace under a porch lined with purple glicine and a spectacular 180 degree view of the sea, of the gulf and islands of Naples, a student approaches me with a slight foreign accent but in perfect Italian asking me “excuse me, during your talk I hear a number of times a name, but I would like to be sure that I understood it correctly” So I reply “tell me yourself what was that name?” and she replies “Baha’u’llah?”.
“Exactly” I reply “I mentioned the name of Baha’u’llah, where EBBF obtains its core philosophy from”. And she says “I am an Iranian student, I graduated in languages at Teheran University and have been studying for the last two years economics at the University of Naples, and I never knew that Baha’u’llah wrote so many interesting things. Are you Baha’i?” and I reply “yes I am a Baha’i”. She then adds “but back in Persia people do not know that Baha’u’llah wrote so many interesting things as you said today” and I replied “they do, they do know, and that is why Baha’is are persecuted” ….

Our conversation clearly went on for a while in a very open and beautiful manner with this and other students who were also listening.

Dear friends, every time that this Greatest Name is mentioned, new opportunities are opened and the result is always light over light.

2.-  On Friday 6th May the national conference 2005 of AIESEC took place, this organisation links the students of economics in Italian universities who have a desire to deepen their knowledge and involvement in topics such as Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainable Development and so on 
This year’s national conference was atttended by 150 students  in their last two years of university courses attending the faculty of economics in 22 universita’ spread all over Italy and it was held in a beautiful grand hotel near Rome.
EBBF is the main partner of AIESEC Italia so it had the honour of being the keynote for pretty much the entire duration of the day-long event, with three plenary sessions reflecting themes that are dear to the baha’is :  ” Towards a New World Order “,  “Spiritual handling of human resources : human being as a mine of precious gems ” ” the responsibility of business in the development of the planet ” .
With certainty the Baha’i vision of development, of the way in which business should be handled, of the individual as an essentially spiritual being, the need to insert spiritual values in their handling of life and, in the field of economics, introducing new ethical values.
All of those topics plus more conquered these young souls with the extraordinary vision of the principles of Baha’u’llah.

The meeting was highly qualifying, rich in its interaction and ended with a very long applause, everyone standing in a common embrace, where all of us held close as one human circle, were able to taste the ocean of love, tenderness and joy.

I believe that these young individuals, who will be the managers of the future, chief economists, or professors, will carry in their minds and in their hearts this new vision, these strong spiritual principles and above all that wave of love that was started during the meeting, and that allowed them to sail over it for the entire day, ending with Baha’i quotations in a deep, joyful and touching unity of prayer.

3.- In Italy, thanks to the many doors that have opened, and thanks to a core group of tightly knit friends, we were able to enter working relationships with Universities, Companies and Training Institutes.One of the latter Institutes is IFOA in Reggio Emilia (Italy) a training institute owned by the Italian Chambers of Commerce and the Government Department of Education, that has asked us to officially work with them in a post graduate MBA covering the area of Ethics in the management of Human Resources. So now 23 young managers (15 women and 8 men) will focus on this subject during the course of the year.
EBBF was awarded the entire philosophical – spiritual topic on ethics. A subject that the Writings of Baha’u’llah developed excellently with great richness of texts.

We have already made a number of presentations, offered Writings from Baha’u’llah on the subject and read the thesises written by the students in reply to our inputs: very interesting papers where the profile of Baha’u’llah is constantly present as the Inspirer of the vision, of the means and of the implementation methods of ethics connected with the management of human resources.

A few days ago, during the 8 hours we spent with the students I was co-presenting with Daniel Truran, who flew over from Madrid. We deepened together the areas of international ethical finance, of the key role of human resources in the field of microcredit, the effects of development of human beings’ potentials in developing countries where many companies are moving their production. How recent shifts in capital investment, social entrepreneurship and ethical funds are affecting ethical human development.
The rules and principles of Baha’u’llah in these areas are very pertinent and create great interest in these teaching environments and with these students.

We also used quotations and learning methods taken from the Ruhi book 1 methodology: photocopying for each student the quotation from Abdu’l-baha – When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace, a thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love – a quotation that has great impact in every day life in our companies and dealing with the individuals who work in our companies.

Each student then read out loud the quotation and after some 5 or 6 minutes of reflection, everyone replied, sharing with the rest of the group (just like in the Study Circle process) their own answers to the 3 questions that were written on the board:
1. What is the literal meaning of the phrase
2. What did it move inside my soul
3. What influence will this quotation have, from tomorrow morning, in my everyday life and in my career

You can imagine the comments and answers that these young future managers offered: interesting, deep, moving to the point that Daniel and I look at each other in the eyes and in silence thanked Baha’u’llah for what He was allowing us to do.

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