Baha'i News: Future plans discussed at global gathering

From Rob Weinberg <>
Date Tue, 4 Jan 2011 18:21:53 +0200

Baha'i World News Service
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Future plans discussed at global gathering 

HAIFA, Israel, 4 January 2011 (BWNS) – Senior officers of the Baha'i 
Faith from around the globe have gathered at the Baha'i World Centre 
to discuss the future development of the worldwide community and its 

The conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors commenced on 
28 December. Plenary sessions – which ran until 1 January – are now 
being followed by further consultations among geographic groups.  

79 of the world's 81 Counsellors, from some 58 countries, are in 
attendance. They were appointed to a five-year term of office by the 
Universal House of Justice on 26 November 2010. 33 of them are 
serving as Counsellors for the first time.

The main focus of the Counsellors' deliberations was outlined in a 
document from the Universal House of Justice, presented at the 
gathering. The message provided detailed analysis of 
community-building activities in recent years and clear direction for 
their future evolution.

Among the developments highlighted was a rise in the capacity of some 
350,000 individuals worldwide, as a result of their participation in 
a training program, "to shape a pattern of life distinguished for its 
devotional character." 

Other features of the global process of learning currently under way 
in the Baha'i world community include regularly held spiritual 
education classes for the "youngest members of society, close-knit 
groups for junior youth, and circles of study for youth and 
adults..."  No fewer than half a million people at any given time are 
now taking part in such activities, the message noted.

This educational process – described by the Universal House of 
Justice as a "potent instrument for spiritually empowering the masses 
of humanity to take charge of their own destiny" – contributes to the 
establishment of a distinctive pattern of community life which, in 
turn, offers a framework for the spiritual, social and material 
advancement of society. 

The further strengthening of this process was among the major points 
of discussion at the gathering. During both consultative sessions and 
informal conversations, the Counsellors shared their experience and 
insights and explored ways to progress activities further. 

In its message, the Universal House of Justice also spoke of the 
rectitude of conduct, spirituality, and freedom from prejudice that 
must characterize the life of individuals and their service to 

Such qualities, which must be constantly cultivated – accompanied by 
a profound spirit of love and unity among participants – are integral 
pre-requisites for the success of all Baha'i initiatives.

"The fact remains that prejudices of all kinds - of race, of class, 
of ethnicity, of gender, of religious belief - continue to hold a 
strong grip on humanity," the Universal House of Justice stated. 

The approaches and methods of the Baha'i community seek "to build 
capacity in every human group, with no regard for class or religious 
background, with no concern for ethnicity or race, irrespective of 
gender or social status, to arise and contribute to the advancement 
of civilization." 

Another topic of discussion at the conference was the relationship 
between individuals, institutions and community. "Throughout human 
history, interactions among these three have been fraught with 
difficulties at every turn," wrote the Universal House of Justice, 
"with the individual clamouring for freedom, the institution 
demanding submission, and the community claiming precedence."

"A new conception of each, appropriate for a humanity that has come 
of age, is emerging," the message said, prompting consultation on how 
cooperation and reciprocity can increasingly characterize the 
relationships that bind these three elements of society.

In a further letter addressed to the Baha'is of the World, dated 1 
January on the occasion of the closing of the conference, the 
Universal House of Justice described the Counsellors' deliberations 
as "insightful and clear visioned, well grounded and confident..."

Following almost ten days of intensive study, reflection and 
consultation, the Counsellors will return to their countries with a 
clear mandate to communicate the insights and inspiration they have 
received to national and local Baha'i communities.

To read the article online and see the official conference 
photograph, go to:


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