The Development of the Baha'i Community:
1963 — 2013

By Muin Afnani

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #116
Bosch Bahá'í School: Santa Cruz, California, USA
May 30 – June 2, 2013
(see list of papers from #116)

    While the growth of the Bahá'í Community under the guidance of the Universal House of Justice in the 50 years since 1963 expands over a wide range, it could be perceived in terms of two parallel sets of activities. On the one hand we have witnessed the expansion and consolidation of the Bahá'í community to such an extent that it practically covers the entire globe; on the other, the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh has increased its influence substantially in the life of society. Having passed the stage of obscurity the Faith has earned the respect and admiration of international & national institutions and many world leaders. On Issues as diverse as human rights, environment, education, peace, race and ethnic issues, and development the views of the Bahá'í community are sought and respected by many at local, national, and international levels.

    In essence the House of Justice has continued the processes that were started by `Abdu'l-Bahá and expanded by Shoghi Effendi based on the provisions of the three Charters of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh: The Tablet of Carmel, The Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, and the Tablets of the Divine Plan. In this period we have observed the expansion of the Bahá'í community, consolidation of Bahá'í institutions as well as the creation of new institutions at various levels, the development of institutions at the Bahá'í World Center, as well as acquisition and development of local and national properties and endowments. Through 11 global plans, ranging from 12 months to 9 years in duration, the House of Justice has nurtured the members of the Bahá'í community while increasing the stature of the Faith in the eyes of the public. The era from 1963 to 2013 could be divided into various periods each with particular set of priorities and emphasis in the unfoldment of the divine Plan. With the introduction of the institute process by the House of Justice in 1996, the community has embarked on a steep learning process to increase the capacity of all its members to arise and serve humanity.    

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