NEWS BRIEFS

THE UNITED KINGDOM HOSTS MEETING OF THE 'IRFAN COLLOQUIUM

The 14th session of the 'Irfán Colloquium was held at the Manchester Bahá'í Centre from 4 to 7 July. Its theme was 'World Religions and the Bahá'í Faith', and among the papers presented were 'African Traditional Religion: A Bahá'í View', by Dr. Akwasi Osei, from Ghana; 'African Religion and the Bahá'í Faith', by Enoch Tanyi, from Cameroon; and 'Monotheistic Religion in Africa: The Example of the Swazi People', by Margaret and Crispin Pemberton-Piggot. Thirty-five people attended the gathering.

WILMETTE INSTITUTE'S SECOND RESIDENTIAL SESSION HELD IN THE U.S.A.

The second residential session of the Wilmette Institute's Spiritual Foundations for a Global Civilization programme was held from 21 July to 8 August. Fifteen faculty members provided an intensive series of classes for 27 students who 'surpassed in maturity, seriousness, and commitment the participants in the remarkable inaugural session in 1996', according to the report. In addition to attending classes, the students did volunteer service at the Bahá'í National Center, the House of Worship, the Bahá'í Home, and Bahá'í Publications. They also went to see places visited by `Abdu'l-Bahá during His visits to Chicago in 1912.

'GLOBAL GOVERNANCE' THEME OF AUSTRALIA'S NATIONAL BAHA'I STUDIES CONFERENCE

'Global Governance: a Promise for Collective Security and Human Prosperity' was the theme of the 16th annual Bahá'í Studies Conference, held at the University of Western Australia in Perth from 10 to 13 July. 'A spirit of openness and dialogue between Bahá'í and non-Bahá'í participants' reportedly characterized the gathering, which was opened by the deputy vice-chancellor of the University before an audience of 350 people. More than 35 papers, workshops and performances were presented.

ONE-WEEK YOUTH TEACHING PROJECT IN INDIA ENROLS 356 BELIEVERS

Twenty Bahá'í youth volunteered their services for a teaching project organized in the Tihiruvannamalai district and held from 7 to 13 July. The healing Message of Bahá'u'lláh was presented to more than 1,000 people, resulting in 356 enrolments and the opening of 28 new localities to the Cause. People exposed to the Faith included the district collector, the superintendent of police, district medical officers, school headmasters, government officers, businessmen and others.

APPROXIMATELY 200 PEOPLE ATTEND PROCLAMATION EVENT IN TOGO

Approximately 200 people attended a public meeting held in the goal city of Bafilo on 10 August. The theme of the event was 'The Invisible Hand of God', and Mr. Mohamadou Bakoye, a Bahá'í from Burkina Faso, talked about progressive revelation and proclaimed the coming of Bahá'u'lláh. There had been no Bahá'ís in this city before this proclamation, but while friends from Lomé put up posters announcing the event they met a man whose heart was open and he accepted the Blessed Beauty. He helped with other pre-conference publicity, including announcements made on local radio, and he helped the short-term pioneers in the city to meet with the steady stream of enquirers who are asking to learn more about the Faith.

IN FRANCE, BAHA'IS PARTICIPATE IN SOCIETY FOR SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION CONFERENCE

About 450 academics from around the world participated in the 24th International Conference of the Society for the Sociology of Religion, held in July in Toulouse. Two full sessions were devoted to the study of the Bahá'í community, while a third session included a Bahá'í paper. The first session was devoted to the Bahá'í community and globalism. The second session launched the book The Origins of the Bahá'í Community of Canada, by Dr. Will van den Hoonaard. The third session featured a paper by Dr. van den Hoonaard entitled 'Religious Singleness and the Spread of New Religious Movements: A Bahá'í Illustration'.

FAITH PROCLAIMED ON NATIONAL TELEVISION IN CHAD

The Bahá'í Faith was proclaimed on Chad Television on 29 October. During a news broadcast, a reporter who had visited the locality stated that 'in Mongo there are the Catholic, Protestant, Muslim religions and the Bahá'í Faith, which are on good terms with each other'. The National Spiritual Assembly commented that, 'This is a very important step in the recognition of the Bahá'í Faith in that northern region....'