It is getting harder to cross oceans. The problem is not one of technology or economics but of nationalism. Airline travel is connecting distant spots on the globe, and ticket prices are increasingly affordable; yet, it is increasingly difficult to cross national borders.
The organizers of the 2014 Study Group Symposium found that more than half of visa applications were being denied, often without specific reason. One year later, our Canadian friends are having the same problem trying to help people attend the International Conference in Quebec. In Europe we see the rise of the European Union making it easier for those citizens to cross borders, but greater scrutiny is placed on those from outside countries.
This rise in nationalism is part of the evolutionary progress of our world. As individual countries give way to continental unions, we may see increased tensions with those outside the union but greater peace within membership, increased economic and social benefits, and a closer realization of the worldwide Brotherhood of Man.
In the meantime, how do we as a readership community react to these roadblocks? If worldwide conferences are more difficult to produce, the solution must be to hold more regional, national, and continental conferences to serve our growing and multinational community.
I am pleased to announce our 2016 slate of conferences:
- In Europe, Urantia Budapest will host a continental conference under the guidance of the Blue Club. The Blue Club is a multinational Urantia group which has been hosting conferences in central Europe for the last 10 years. With the support of the Association, we hope the Budapest conference will be the largest one yet!
- In North America, the Urantia Association of the United States will host their National Conference in Texas. Lone Star Urantia Association will organize the event, which will be the first national conference ever in Texas.
- In Latin America, the Urantia Association of Bogota will host a Latin American Conference in October. The first of what I hope is many such events to follow, the Latin American Conference will aim to serve the fastest growing Urantia community on the planet.
In addition, these three conferences will be working toward the same shared theme: Teacher Training and The Urantia Book. Each will be taking a different view of what the revelation teaches us about being good teachers and good students.
This theme will first be explored this summer at the International Conference in Quebec, from July 30th through August 2nd. “Progressing from Human to Divine” will focus on the education of family and society. Registration is now open and I encourage you all to attend.
As nations throw up roadblocks, Urantia Association International will continue to find routes to unite! I hope to meet you all at a conference in the near future.