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April 30, 2011

Ottawa Bahá'ís gather to elect Local Spiritual Assembly
On April 20, 2011, Bahá’ís in Ottawa gathered to elect the nine members of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Ottawa, the governing council that will manage affairs for the Ottawa Bahá’í community for the year. At the same time, hundreds of Canadian Bahá’í communities and Bahá’ís in over 11,000 cities, towns, and villages around the globe gathered to elect their Local Spiritual Assemblies.

The annual elections are held on the first day of the 12-day Festival of Ridván, which commemorates Bahá’u’lláh’s proclamation, in 1863, that He was a Messenger of God and that His teachings represented the continuation of that process of divine revelation which had given birth to previous religions.

As the Bahá’í Faith has no clergy, the Local Spiritual Assembly guides and administers the affairs of the community as a whole. In this way, governance in Bahá’í communities springs from the grassroots.  Common activities in the Bahá’í Community of Ottawa include classes for the education of children, devotional services, study classes, discussions on global issues, social events, the observance of holy days, marriages, and funeral services. Many local Spiritual Assemblies around the world also oversee small-scale educational, economic or environmental development projects. Such efforts range from the sponsorship of community health workers to small agricultural projects.

The elected members of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Ottawa for 2011-2012 are: Fred Afagh, Philippe Allard, Ayafor Ayafor, Niels Hansen-Trip, Pejman Mosleh, Nabil Seddigh, Sherri Yazdani, Frank Ziaei, Zahra Ziaei.

The Bahá’í electoral system removes partisanship from the democratic process, thus ensuring that those elected are not bound by narrow interests, but rather seek the well being of the entire community. All Bahá’í elections occur by secret ballot without candidacies, nominations or campaigning, and all Bahá’ís 21 and older may vote and serve.

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© The Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Ottawa, Canada 2011