HAIFA, Israel, (BWNS) More than 1,000 delegates representing 157 countries have arrived here to participate in the 11th International Baha'i Convention. A global election process that began with Baha'is in more than 100,000 cities and villages around the world culminates on Monday, when delegates will gather to elect the nine members of the Universal House of Justice, the international governing council of the Baha'i Faith.
First elected 50 years ago in 1963, the Universal House of Justice is entrusted by Baha'u'llah in His own writings with exerting a positive influence on the welfare of humankind, promoting education, peace and global prosperity, and safeguarding human honor and the position of religion. It is responsible for applying the Baha'i teachings to the requirements of an ever-evolving society and legislating on matters not explicitly covered in the Faith's sacred texts.
The convention, held once every five years, runs from 29 April to 2 May. In addition to the election, it will include consultation on various issues related to the work of the worldwide Baha'i community.
The election process began more than a year ago when Baha'is around the world began meeting in district conventions to elect delegates to their own national conventions. At those national gatherings, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of each country is elected annually. The members of these Assemblies gather as electors at the global level for the International Baha'i Convention.
As well as the delegates attending the convention in person, more than 400 are sending their ballots by mail.