At BIC, bicentenary celebrations explore peace, oneness of humanity

BIC ADDIS ABABA — Baha’i International Community offices brought together dignitaries and leaders of international organizations for celebrations of the historic 200th anniversary of the birth of the Bab earlier this month. The gatherings, held at BIC offices in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Tuesday and in New York City on 1 November, explored the relevance of the Bab and Baha’u’llah’s teachings two centuries ago to the conditions of the world today.

In Addis Ababa, Solomon Belay, a representative of the Baha’i International Community, focused his presentation on the imperative of peace and the emphasis placed on it in the Baha’i teachings. “The reality of peace is so complex that no individual or organization can claim to grasp and promote it alone. We all need to come together and consult on the possibility, prerequisites, and the way of peace.”

In New York City, the celebration was held in the BIC offices where attendees explored some of the implications of the oneness of humanity.

“The conviction that we belong to one human family is at the heart of the Baha’i teachings,” Bani Dugal, Principal Representative of the Baha’i International Community, said to the celebration’s attendees. She noted that acceptance of this principle “calls on each of us to strive to overcome all forms of prejudice—whether racial, religious, or gender-related.”

The bicentenary celebration held at the BIC office in New York City included many joyful discussions about the significance of the Baha’i teachings.

The celebrations served as an opportunity to reflect on the current state of world affairs, as well as the impact that the teachings of the Baha’i Faith are having on diverse populations. Participants in New York’s celebration watched excerpts from the film Dawn of the Light, which demonstrates the implications of some of the core Baha’i teachings in addressing contemporary forms of oppression in diverse settings around the world.

“Profound changes in the structures of society are, of course, essential to lasting peace,” noted Emily Osvold of the BIC, as she introduced a section of the film about individuals working for peace in their communities. “The role of women, of young people, of education, and our economic models—all require reexamination. But individuals need not wait for structural change before contributing to peace. Each person has the potential to become an active agent of social change and to contribute to building a peaceful society.”

Reflecting on the film, one participant noted, “My heart was touched by the message of love. This message is really what gives meaning to all of our lives, and is applicable to all of us, no matter our background.”

In the film, which tells the stories of eight people’s personal search for truth and meaning, one of the interviewees underscores this message of love: “The unquestionable truth is love. Love is what we share with everyone in our society. Love is the reason we exist.”

Dozens of dignitaries, representatives of international organizations, and others attended the bicentenary celebration at the BIC office in New York City.

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