Bahá’í International Convention to be held in Haifa on 29 April- 1 May, 2018
Imagine the people of the world, in all their diversity and beauty, converging on one place in the world, in peace and joy. Now imagine that all these diverse people are delegates to the election of a global administrative body...with no nominations, caucusing, or campaigning. And now imagine that, after the global administrative body is elected by secret ballot after thoughtful prayer, that everyone celebrated, regardless of who is elected!
That is exactly what is happening as nine Alaskans will be members of the global family who will participate in this remarkable process.
Once every five years, members of the Bahá’í Faith from all over the globe gather in Haifa, Israel for a most amazing event, the Bahá’í International Convention. The primary purpose of the Convention is to elect the Universal House of Justice, the international governing council of the Bahá’í Faith. The Prophet/Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh, ordained this global election process back in the 1800s. Bahá’u’lláh brought a new body of divine scripture to bring all of humanity to a just and lasting world peace.
To achieve this far-reaching goal, Bahá’u’lláh conferred authority upon the Universal House of Justice to exert a positive influence on the welfare of humankind, to promote education, peace and global prosperity, and to safeguard human honor and the position of religion. It is charged with applying the Bahá’í teachings to the requirements of an ever-evolving society and is thus empowered to legislate on matters not explicitly covered in the Faith’s Sacred Texts. The guidance provided by the Universal House of Justice ensures unity of thought and action in the Bahá’í community as it learns to translate into reality Bahá’u’lláh’s vision for a spiritually and materially prosperous global civilization.
The upcoming Convention will include as many as nine delegates from 166 different Nations. In the Bahá’í Administrative Order, Alaska is regarded as a “Nation” with its own nine-member National Spiritual Assembly. The gathering is a celebration of the diversity of the human family. On the day of the election in Haifa, delegates are invited to dress representing their Nations’ traditional clothing or regalia. The atmosphere created is one of love and fellowship amongst the many diverse peoples of the world, all seeing themselves as one human family. The photos on this page were taken at the 11th Bahá’í International Convention in 2013. Additional images from the convention can be seen by clicking here.
The Universal House of Justice is elected through a three-stage process.
In every national Bahá’í community, all adult Bahá’ís in good standing, 21 years of age or older, are eligible to take part in elections at the grassroots level—known as unit conventions—held once a year throughout their country. At these conventions, the Bahá’ís vote by secret ballot for delegates who are duly responsible to elect the nine persons to serve on the National Spiritual Assembly for the term of one administrative year. The National Spiritual Assembly is then elected at the National Convention.
The members of all National Spiritual Assemblies elect, in turn, the nine members to serve on the Universal House of Justice. The election of the Universal House of Justice is conducted once every five years at the International Bahá’í Convention. Of several days’ duration, the Convention is held at the World Centre of the Bahá’í Faith in Haifa, Israel, where the members of the National Spiritual Assemblies are able to visit the Holy Shrines in preparation for the duty they are called upon to discharge. Foremost in their minds as they cast their ballots are passages from the Bahá’í Writings which describe those whom they choose to serve on such an august body as “daysprings of knowledge and understanding”, “steadfast in God’s faith”, and the “well-wishers of all mankind”.