Over 1,500 delegates representing more than 160 countries have arrived in Haifa, Israel, to participate in the 12th International Baha’i Convention.
The International Convention is a unique gathering held every five years in Haifa, the administrative and spiritual centre of the Baha’i world community. Delegates hail from virtually every nation. Over the course of the convention, they participate in a series of consultative sessions and elect the Faith’s international governing body, the Universal House of Justice.
The consultations at International Convention are generally concerned with the development of the Baha’i Faith and the contributions of Baha’i communities to the progress of society. One of the primary areas of discussion is how Baha’u’llah’s teachings such as the oneness of humankind, the equality of women and men, the harmony of science and religion, and the independent investigation of truth are finding expression in a vast array of social settings, from the remotest of villages to large urban centres,
The delegates attending this year’s International Convention are members of the annually-elected governing Baha’i councils of their countries. Referred to as National Spiritual Assemblies, and comprised of nine members, these institutions guide and support the activities of the Baha’i community within their respective jurisdictions. All nine members of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Botswana are present at the Convention this year.
On 29 April, the delegates will gather to elect the nine members of the Universal House of Justice, a task that is undertaken as both a sacred duty and a privilege.
Delegates have a period of spiritual preparation before participating in the Convention. This entails time to pray and meditate in the Sacred Shrines in Haifa and Akka as well as to visit historical Baha’i holy places.