The Netherlands

I went to the Netherlands on 19-27 March, primarily to participate in the Justice Conference on 25-27 March at the de Poort Conference Centre, where I presented a keynote on "Using the new UN 2030 Agenda to work for justice at the local level", and ran a workshop with Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen on the Paris Climate Agreement negotiations (see the IEF report).

Before the conference I spent several days with Sylvia and Onno Vinkhuyzen and their boys Erasmus and Elion in Heelsum, starting with a couple of Naw-Ruz parties for the Bahá'í New Year, where I gave a presentation on the artist Mark Tobey. On 21 March I spoke at the Impulse forum at Wageningen University on "Is Science Enough? Exploring the relationship of science and religion in addressing sustainable development" where about 36 students and faculty members came for a discussion over lunch. In the evening I went to Amsterdam for a fireside at a university professor's apartment on "What will it take to keep the planet habitable?".

some guests at Heelsum Some guests at the Vinkhuyzens in Heelsum

The next day I went back to Wageningen University for several hours of discussions with the researchers in the coral reef group, and gave a seminar on "Management of coral reef ecosystems", concluding with a dinner with the Professor and a number of other researchers. Wednesday was a fireside at the VInkhuyzen's on "Walking the Spiritual Path with Practical Feet: A Bahá'í Approach to Sustainable Development" including two videos on Bahá'í-inspired development activities in Honduras and Vanuatu. Thursday morning I met with one of Sylvia's doctoral students from Uzbekistan to discuss implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, and we had a Skype conference to plan the next IEF annual conference in Bolivia next October.

The Justice Conference

This was the 21st annual Justice Conference, a Bahá'í-inspired forum for the exploration of international law, global governance, justice and ethics, which draws lawyers and other experts from all over the world. The theme of the conference this year was "Justice in Action: From Local to Global".

Justice Conference group
Group photo of the Justice Conference

Maya Groff opening the conference . audience . audience
Maya Groff opening the conference; part of the audience

I presented a keynote on "Using the new UN 2030 Agenda to work for justice at the local level"
presenting my keynote . audience . Arthur Dahl and Sherma Deamer
Presenting my keynote; part of the audience; me with Sherma Deamer, wife of an old friend from my days in the Pacific

In addition to my keynote, Sylvia and I ran a workshop on the Paris Climate Agreement negotiations. The workshop reviewed the dynamics of the complex multiyear negotiations leading up to COP21 that resulted in the Paris Agreement adopted on 12 December 2015, and discussed the many opportunities for participation in discourses alongside the negotiations, including the side events that IEF organized in Paris. It explored the lessons for international governance, the role of Bahá'í-inspired organizations, and the ways such events can be used to contribute Bahá'í perspectives on issues important to society.
Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen . Sylvia and MayaSylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen 
Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen; part of the audience

Sylvia participated in another panel with Neysun Mahboubi, specialist in Chinese law, and Maya Groff from the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
Neysun Mahboubi . the panel . Sylvia and Maya
Neysun Mahboubi; the panel; Sylvia and Maya

Other high-level presentations included a session on Building a Global Human Rights Campaign: Education is not a crime, with film-maker Maziar Bahari, and the screening of his film "To Light a Candle". John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network spoke on "Catalysing Policy Reform at National and Global Levels: Tax Justice, Economic Inequality and Human Rights". There were a number of parallel workshops.

John Christensen . Financial times warning . Workshop
John Christensen, Tax Justice Network; a warning about the financial system; workshop on human rights investigations in China and India

A number of other International Environment Forum members also participated in the conference. Ismael Velasco presented a case study on his work with Greenlanders. IEF board member Wendi Momen also attended, as did Iko Kongo and Nigel Jollands.
Ismael Velasco . Wendi Momen . Iko Kongo . Nigel Jollands
Ismael Velasco; Wendi Momen; Iko Kongo; Nigel Jollands

The final plenary was by Kirsten Meersschaert, Director of Programs of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy, working on the Coalition for the International Criminal Court and the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, and Susan Lamb, Senior Legal Advisor to the Commission for International Justice and Accountability, which is collecting evidence of violations of international criminal and humanitarian law in Syria.
Susan Lamb and Kirsten Meersschaert . closing plenary . audience
Susan Lamb and Kirsten Meersschaert in the closing plenary; part of the audience

There was also an evening of more artistic activities including story telling about escaping from persecution of the Baha'is in Iran, and a dance about preventing domestic violence against women in which everyone could participate.
dance . dance . dance
One evening of artistic activities included story telling and a dance about preventing domestic violence against women

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Last updated 20 April 2016

Photographs copyright © Arthur Lyon Dahl and others 2016