May 31, 2012

First time three Mapuche Indians elected to Chile National Spiritual Assembly

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Chile elected in April 1989. For the first time in its 29-year history it includes three Mapuche Indians. From left to right are Antonio Lizama, Felipe Jara (vice-chairman), Elena Velasquez de Reid (chairman), Robert Siegel (corresponding secretary), Doris Millalen, Nelson Sanchez, Fazael Youseffi (treasurer), Paula Seigel, and Roberto Jara (recording secretary) (Baha'i News, August 1989)

May 27, 2012

Radio Baha'i Chile was officially opened on December 20, 1986

This photograph of the main building of Radio Baha’i Chile in Labranzo, Commune of Temuco, was taken in February, 1988, shortly after the celebration of the station's first anniversary. Radio Baha’i operating on 1160 kHz and serving principally the indigenous, population of Mapuche Indian community was officially opened on December 20, 1986.

During February 1988, the group of young Baha’is shown here, from the communities of Las Condes and Temuco, Santiago, volunteered between one and two weeks each to Radio Baha’i Chile. Their project helped fulfill a youth ‘week of service, campaign launched by the National spiritual Assembly as a part of its goals for the Six year Plan directed specifically toward youth.(Baha’i News, October 1988).

May 25, 2012

1977: First Spiritual Assembly of the Maksi District, Shajapur (Madhya Pradesh), India

The members of the first Spiritual Assembly of the Maksi District, Shajapur (Madhya Pradesh), India, formed in February 1977 (Baha'i News, February 1987)

May 23, 2012

The International Teaching Center appointed by the Universal House of Justice in May 1988

Pictured with members of the recently appointed International Teaching Centre are the Hands of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum and Ali Akbar Furutan (front row, third and fourth from right). In the back row (left to right) are Hartmut Grossmann, Masud Khamsi, Magdalene Carney, Donald Rogers and Farzam Arbab. Others in the front row are (left to right) Joy Stevenson, Lauretta King, Peter Vuyiya and Isabel Sabri. (Baha'i News, September 1988)

May 21, 2012

The first Baha'i secondary school in Africa -- Ruaha Technical Secondary School in Tanzania:

The first Baha'i secondary school in Africa is a dynamic place to visit and to pioneer. The Ruaha Technical Secondary School, which is nestled on some 50 acres along the Ruaha River and several kilometers outside the town of Iringa, Tanzania, at an elevation of about 5,000 feet, was begun a mere three years ago with the laying of the foundation stone on October 29, 1985.

Only 55 days later, when the first classroom building was completed and the school administrators asked permission to open, the government Ministry of Education was astonished, and sent several officers to check the buildings. They were quickly reassured, and classes began on March 27, 1986, with students in Form I, the first year of high school. In its third year of operation, the school had Forms I, II and III with about 300 students. Plans were formulated to continue adding students until Forms I-VI are included; the latter two Forms are above the usual four of high school and will teach the technical subjects -- air conditioning and refrigeration, auto mechanics and electric power production are some of the possibilities.

The school is on property donated by the Town Council of Iringa. All buildings are constructed of brick which is fired right on the property; they include classrooms, a science lab, offices, a canteen and shop for everyday items, a staff room, and teachers' housing. The school is owned by the National Spiritual Assembly of Tanzania and approved by the country's Ministry of Education. (Adapted from the Baha’i News, August 1988)

May 19, 2012

April 29 – May 2, 1988: Six hundred sixty-three delegates participated at the 6th International Baha’i Convention in Haifa, Israel

The Convention was officially opened Friday morning, April 29, with prayers in four languages. Six hundred sixty-three delegates representing 132 of the 148 National Spiritual Assemblies were present in Haifa Auditorium to take part in the election of the Universal House of Justice. In addition, mail ballots were cast by delegates from the 16 countries who were unable to attend. The spectacular array of humanity, many wearing national costumes, colored the atmosphere of solemnity as each delegate stepped forward to cast a ballot.

Also present for the opening session were five of the Hands of the Cause of God, lending a special dignity and the spiritual force of their high office: Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, ‘Ali Akbar Furutan, Dr. ‘Ali Muhammad Varqa, William Sears and Collis Featherstone.

A highlight of the balloting was the presence of two delegates from Cuba, which had never before been represented at an International Convention. They were warmly applauded as they crossed the stage to cast their ballots. The results of the voting were announced at noon on Saturday, June 30, by the chief teller, Dr. Firuz Kazemzadeh, vice-chairman of the U.S. National Spiritual Assembly. Of the 1,296 ballots cast, only one was invalid. The members were elected by a total of 7,880 of the 11,655 individual votes cast.

The members of the House of Justice were:

‘Ali Nakhjavani, Glenford Mitchell, Hushmand Fatheazam, Ian Semple, Peter Khan, David Ruhe, Hugh Chance, Hooper Dunbar and Adib Taherzadeh.
(Adapted from Baha’i News, July 1988)

May 17, 2012

November 1985: First Baha'i pre-school and social and economic development project in Belize -- the ‘Garden of the Covenant’ Baha'i Pre-School in Dangriga



After five years of hopes and dreams the first Baha'i pre-school and social and economic development project in Belize became a reality in November of 1985 with the opening of the Garden of the Covenant Baha'i Pre-School in Dangriga.

The Spiritual Assembly of Dangriga had begun thinking about such a school in 1980. The first step was to improve the facilities of the Regional Baha'i Centre in Dangriga to house the school ... When the National Spiritual Assembly of Belize received news that two new pioneers, Mitch and Rita Wagener would be coming to the country in June 1985, and word was passed to the Spiritual Assembly of Dangriga that Rita, a Ugandan, was a trained pre-school teacher, minds began to click and it appeared that the "seed" might soon bear fruit... It was decided that the school would provide "Montessori-type" education and give individualized attention to the children, enrollment would be kept small-never more than I5 students morning and 15 afternoon. 
(Baha’i News, July 1986)

May 13, 2012

1920: The first woman speaker at India’s first Baha’i National Convention

Elizabeth Stewart was the only woman speaker at the first Baha'i Convention in India, in 1920. She was also the only Person at that time who spoke on the equality of men and women. Prior to going to India Elizabeth worked as nurse in Tihran, Persian, for many years, along with Dr. Susan Moody. 
(Adapted from Star of the West, vol. 17, no. 8, November 1926) 
(For a brief account of her life please visit We are Baha’is)

May 10, 2012

Growth of the Baha'i World Community as of January 1988

(Information provided by the Department of Statistics at the Baha’i World Centre)

Localities where Baha'is reside: World Total: (118,626) – Africa (36,621); Americas (26,880); Asia (48,839); Australasia (3,200); Europe (3,086

Isolated Centers: World Total: (33,751) – Africa (12,210); Americas (9,253); Asia (10,438); Australasia (810); Europe (1,040)

Groups with fewer than 9: World Total: (33,751) – Africa (12,210); Americas (9,253); Asia (10,438); Australasia (810); Europe (1,040)

Groups with 9 or more members: World Total: (24,760) – Africa (4,673); Americas (2,912); Asia (16,714); Australasia (432); Europe (28)

Indigenous tribes, races and ethnic groups: World Total: (2,112) – Africa (1,250); Americas (340); Asia (250); Australasia (250); Europe (22)

Languages into which Baha'i literature is translated: World Total: (782) – Africa (255); Americas (169); Asia (169); Australasia (111); Europe (78)

Countries where the Faith is established: Independent countries: World Total: (166) – Africa (51); Americas (35); Asia (37); Australasia (11); Europe (32)

Countries where the Faith is established: Dependent territories or overseas departments: World Total: (48) – Africa (6); Americas (16); Asia (3); Australasia (13); Europe (10)

May 8, 2012

First National Convention of the Baha'is of Iran, 1934

First National Convention of the Baha'is of Iran, 1934 (The Baha'i World 1934-1936)