BAHA’IS Elect National Spiritual Assembly Members

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(Left –Right): Albert Thoudou, Behnam Roohi, Arthur C.Y. Duogee, Geebli Newray, Eddie Wright, Emmanuel Baymie Sr., Alfred G. Suah, Mehngoankeh Baymie, and Elnathan Blamo Browne.

The national convention for the election of members to the National Spiritual Assembly (NSA) of The Baha’is of Liberia was held on Saturday, April 22, at the Baha’i Development Institute in Paynesville City, where the nine members to the NSA of The Baha’is of Liberia were successfully elected.

Delegates to the convention, a release said, started arriving on Friday, April 21, from the 15 counties and cast their ballots on Saturday, April 22.

The three Auxiliary Board Members, Mrs. Tina Wright, Sam Karnue, and Isaiah Tulo Chea, resource person, Shahnaz Ardekani, and a host of observers were also present.

At the close of the day, the nine members (pictured) were elected to serve as members of the NSA of The Baha’is of Liberia.

On the first day of Ridván, April 21 to 22, every year Baha’is all over the world vote to elect nine members from their respective communities to their Local Spiritual Assemblies (LSAs). Every adult Baha’i at the age of 21 is eligible to be voted for, and they have the responsibility to participate and vote for nine members of the community who will volunteer their time to run the administrative affairs and assist in the spiritual well-being of their respective local communities for the year ahead.

In the case of election of members to the National Spiritual Assemblies, only elected delegates from unit conventions around the country, of age 21 and above, are allowed to vote for the nine adult members from the Baha’i population in the country who, as volunteers, will run the administrative affairs and help in the spiritual well-being of the Baha’i Faith nationwide for one year.

During Baha’i elections, there are no political parties or independent candidates. Rather than debates, there is community or national consultation. Rather than smear campaigns, there is encouragement and accompaniment. Rather than campaign flyers and confetti, there are prayers and personal meditation.

Participation in the elections is a sacred duty, and being elected onto a local or national assembly is considered a position of service rather than a position of power. Elected officials have no higher ‘rank’ or authority over any other member of their community or country. They are members who make up an administrative body, which has the authority to both guide the community (LSA) or nation (NSA) and serve its needs.

The Festival of Ridván, a 12-day celebration from April 21 to May 2, 2017, is considered the holiest for members of the Baha’i Faith. During those dates in 1863, Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith, left Baghdad and entered gardens now known as the Garden of Ridván, which means paradise in Arabic.

Baha’is all over the world holds annual elections for local and national assembly members during The Festival of Ridván. Election of Members to The Universal House of Justice – The Baha’i World Center (HQ) on Mount Camel in Israel – is done every five years.

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