Launching the Nine Year Plan


Inter Institutional Gatherings to Digest the Guidance for the Nine Year Plan

“Besides the  conferences, it is anticipated that national and regional institutional meetings will need to be  organized, as has been the case in connection with the launch of previous Plans.”

Department of the Secretariat, September 15, 2021

Timetable of Actions and Events

December – January

  • Council consulted with sub-regional teams re: how to assist local organizers with conference preparation.
  • Council verify conference venues with local organizers; support local organizers’ confirmation of venues.
  • Council distribute preparation tools to local organizers, including the adaptable program (template) developed by NSA and Counselors.
  • Local organizers begin refining and/or finalizing conference programs, based on National template
  • Regional Institutions and agencies attend National Institutional Meeting (NIM)

February

  • Hold a Regional Institutional Meeting (RIM) February 18-20 to distill the salient points from January 27-30, integrating them into our region’s preparations  
  • With subregional teams, reinforce conference preparations with learning from the January 27-30 NIM.

Local Conferences to Launch the Nine Year Plan – Late March to End April

“The conferences will aim at carrying to the friends in every land the spiritual energy released by the gatherings in the Holy Land, as the community prepares for a dynamic thrust forward with the launch of the Nine Year Plan. These conferences, then, will give the participants an opportunity to gain greater insight into the nature of the spiritual enterprise in which they are engaged, a sense of the distance traversed thus far, and a deeper understanding of the exigencies of the current stage in the unfoldment of the Divine Plan. They will strive to enhance appreciation of the privilege of being part of a community that has set its gaze upon the spiritual and material transformation of society, and of the bounty of being connected by bonds of love and camaraderie with brothers and sisters in a global effort, each one labouring within the same framework for action, all united under the sheltering shadow of the Covenant.”

Department of the Secretariat, September 15, 2021
  • The aim of these conferences is to carry “the spiritual energy released by the gatherings in the Holy Land” as preparation for “a dynamic thrust forward with the launch of the Nine Year Plan”. 
  • The conferences should be understood as coherent with the aims of the current Plan; that is, to reinforce the processes already in place in terms of the movement of clusters; and in anticipation of the next Plan, should create spaces for participants to review elements of the guidance for that next stage in the advancement of the Cause.
  • Flexibility and creativity will be key when determining the number, location and timing of the conferences, with the overarching aim of maximizing accessibility and attendance on the part of Bahá’ís and their friends, especially those who are already in contact with or engaged in some way in the life of the community, as well as those who are yet to be aware of the Bahá’í community. This will entail choices of venues that are accessible, affordable and possessing a comfortable atmosphere for people of all strata, reaching into every pocket and nucleus in the country. The needs of specific populations should also be taken into account; for example, those whose primary language is not English, or those with a specific cultural background. Accommodations for individuals with hearing loss, etc., should also be factored into arrangements. Whatever the configuration of the conferences in your region, participants should feel connected to the “society building power” of the process that they are engaged in.
  • Preparations for the conferences should reflect the capacities that have been developed during the prior series of Plans, particularly those cultivated in relation to the bicentenaries, including: the capacities for meaningful conversation, invitation to participate, direct sharing of the lives and teachings of the Central Figures of the Faith; creation of a devotional atmosphere; coordination and organization; institutional collaboration and the capacity for collective action. A great deal can be done between now and the conferences to exercise these capacities, to nurture new ones, and to build enthusiasm.
  • Based on the “read” of capacities, there should also be a “read” of potential; that is, what is possible to achieve in terms of greater participation and further generation of momentum leading into the Nine Year Plan. Flexibility and adaptability will be key. Not all gatherings will look alike or be of the same duration. The look and feel of each conference should be determined by circumstances and potential on the ground, ideally a milestone in a process already underway.
  • Consideration should be given to the development of devotional, artistic and other creative contributions, programs for children and junior youth, and possibly other elements. With regard to programs for children and junior youth, although youth are often asked to facilitate such programs, arrangements will need to be considered that allow young people to fully participate in the conferences given the significance of their contributions. With respect to artistic contributions, these should be a natural welling-up from the grassroots in response to the purpose of the conferences, rather than professional performances—however well-meant—that in the end entertain or at best make participants passive recipients. It may be useful at this juncture to devise a way to become aware of existing artistic endeavors as well as emerging ones that can be encouraged over the coming months, so that the conferences may benefit from them.
  • Current public health guidelines should be respected and observed, and online options made available as feasible for those who cannot attend in person.
  • The Councils should keep in mind when securing venues, food, etc., the need to exercise economy in how the funds of the Faith are expended, but without detriment to the safety and comfort of the participants. Major contracts (such as in the case of hotels and food vendors) should be reviewed by a task force appointed by the NSA.

What are the components of the program?

  1. Welcome and introductory remarks. Sharing, in an open, outward-looking and inviting language, the context and purpose of the conferences taking place around the world.
  2. Devotions at appropriate intervals.
  3. Breakout sessions to study and discuss certain relevant materials (especially the Nine Year Plan guidance), and to consult and reach consensus on the current reality of the community-building efforts, with an appreciation of strengths and opportunities for growth.
  4. Artistic and creative components related to the conference themes that deepen understanding.
  5. Sharing of developments, stories, and encouraging examples from within the region, by those participating in these activities.