Swiss Bahá’ís congratulated on 50th anniversary

The Regent for Liechtenstein has been among those to congratulate the 1000-strong Swiss Bahá’í community on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of its national governing council. There were also goodwill messages from the Swiss Bishops Conference and Swiss Senator Hans Altherr.

Since its founding, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Switzerland has presented a peace message to the Swiss government, campaigned together with other organisations for peace and established the Geneva branch office of the Bahá’í International Community, which has consultative non-governmental status at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Across the country, Bahá’ís located in 200 localities are engaged in promoting the spiritual education of children and pre-teens, holding study classes on spiritual issues and prayer meetings open to all.

On April 28, 2012 the Bahá’í community of Switzerland gathered in Thun for the annual election of the Swiss national governing council. The Bahá’í Faith is administered by a series of democratically elected bodies at the local, national and international levels.

His Serene Highness Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein said in a message to the community: “Upon learning that the National Spiritual Assembly of Switzerland, which is currently responsible for the Bahá’í community of Liechtenstein, will celebrate its 50 years in existence, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the community on this anniversary and express my best wishes and God’s blessings for the future.”

The Swiss Bishops Conference wished the community a successful anniversary celebration, while Hans Altherr, president of the Swiss Senate, said he was pleased to hear about the 50th anniversary and sent his congratulations.

The Bahá’í community of Switzerland dates back to 1903 and marked its centenary with various events in 2003. In 1991, “The future of Switzerland – a Bahá’í perspective” was presented to the Swiss people on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the Swiss confederation.

Back in 1978 the Swiss Parliament made a bi-partisan appeal on behalf of the persecuted Bahá’í minority in Iran and in 1983 Switzerland granted refugee status to 51 Bahá’ís from Iran who were persecuted for their religious beliefs.

For the past three years, the National Bahá’í Centre in Bern has taken part in the capital’s Night of the Religions event, as part of the Bahá’í community’s active interfaith cooperation.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Switzerland, stories were shared of this historic event and a video message shown from the only surviving member of the council, Daniel Schaubacher, a former member of the executive board of the EU Chapter of the Club of Rome and international trade advisor to the US Embassy in Bern. He now lives in Belgium.

“Local Bahá’í communities are actively involved in Swiss society, spurred on by the Bahá’í teaching that the earth is but one country and mankind its citizens. This conviction is the driving force for numerous activities carried out by individuals representing a wide variety of cultural, language, ethnic and religious backgrounds,” said the National Spiritual Assembly’s secretary John Paul Vader.

“It is our hope that a suffering and peace-yearning humanity will finally recognise its underlying oneness, a oneness that we are convinced is the foundation of the prosperity and security of all peoples on this planet.”

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