Bahá'í World Congress

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Emblem of the Second Bahá'í World Congress

The Bahá'í World Congress is a large gathering of Bahá'ís from across the world that is called irregularly by the Universal House of Justice, the governing body of the Bahá'ís. There have only been two conferences of this nature; in 1963 and 1992.

1963: First Bahá'í World Congress[edit]

The first Bahá'í World Congress was held in Royal Albert Hall in London, England and approximately 6,000 Bahá'ís attended. It was called to announce and present the election of the first Universal House of Justice, elected by the participation of over 50 National Spiritual Assemblies. Enoch Olinga, last of the named Hands of the Cause, chaired the main meeting of the Congress.[1]

Issam Tahan was in London during treatment for heart problems he later died from. He was the small boy who, while his father was in prison in Morocco that had risen to public pressure on Morocco,[2] chanted a prayer before the audience of the Congress.[3]

Mrs. Ruthy Tu, the first woman citizen of Taiwan to become a Bahá'í, was able to attend the first Congress,[4] as did the first Bahá'í convert outside the mainland of Scotland - Lilian McKay.[5] O. Z. Whitehead, actor in Grapes of Wrath movie and writer[6][7] also attended.

1992: Second Bahá'í World Congress[edit]

The Second Bahá'í World Congress from November 23–26, 1992 took place in order to pay homage to the 100th anniversary of the passing of the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, Bahá'u'lláh. 30,000 Bahá'ís attended the event in the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, United States, for four days of commemoration in the form of music, speeches, artistic performances and social gathering.

The Congress participants represented the diversity of the Bahá'ís from over 180 different nations. The purpose of this World Congress was to "celebrate the Centenary of the inauguration of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and to proclaim its aims and unifying power."


The main sessions of the World Congress took place two hours each day at the Jacob Javits Center.

  • Day one concentrated on the recognition of Baha'u'llah as the Promise of All Ages.
  • Day two celebrated `Abdu'l-Bahá as the Center of the Covenant. The program highlighted the nature of the Covenant, and New York as the City of the Covenant.
  • Day three covered some achievements of the Bahá'í community.
  • Day four explored humanity's encounter with Bahá'u'lláh as a prelude to the culmination of the congress, a message from the Universal House of Justice.


  1. ^ Francis, N. Richard. "Excerpts from the lives of early and contemporary believers on teaching the Bahá'í Faith: Enoch Olinga, Hand of the Cause of God, Father of Victories". History; Excerpts From the Lives of Some Early and Contemporary Bahá'ís. Archived from the original on 28 February 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  2. ^ Rutstein, Nathan (2008). From a Gnat to an Eagle: The Story of Nathan Rutstein. US Baha'i Publishing Trust. p. 119. ISBN 978-1-931847-46-9. 
  3. ^ "News Briefs". Bahá'í News (417): 23. December 1965. 
  4. ^ R. Sims, Barbara (1994). The Taiwan Bahá'í Chronicle: A Historical Record of the Early Days of the Bahá'í Faith in Taiwan. Tokyo: Bahá'í Publishing Trust of Japan. 
  5. ^ Lilian Jean McKay 10 February 1929 – 11 July 2004, The Scottish Bahá’í, No.37 – Autumn, 2004
  6. ^ "Obituary: O. Z. Whitehead, Actor and writer", Bahá'í Studies Review, 8, 1998, archived from the original on 2 May 2008 
  7. ^ "You Have Been Chosen The story of Carrie and Edward Kinney". Bahá'í News (512): 10–15. November 1973. 

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