Two new members join Universal House of Justice

21 March 2005

HAIFA, Israel — The Universal House of Justice has announced the election of two new members, Payman Mohajer and Paul Lample.

The Universal House of Justice, the international governing council of the Baha'i Faith, conveyed to National Spiritual Assemblies the results of a by-election to fill two vacancies on Naw-Ruz, the Baha'i new year. The holy day is celebrated from sunset on March 20 to sunset on the 21st.

Dr. Mohajer and Mr. Lample fill the vacancies created by the departure at Naw-Ruz of Mr. Ian Semple and Mr. Douglas Martin, owing to age and the related needs of the Faith.

Dr. Mohajer was born in Tehran, Iran, where he received his elementary school education. He then went with his family to India where he received a degree in homoeopathic medicine in 1984. After several years' work in his medical clinic, Dr. Mohajer completed a master's degree in psychology.

In 1996, his interest in the field of education led him to establish a Baha'i-inspired institution, the Foundation for the Advancement of Science.

He was appointed as an Auxiliary Board member in 1986, serving until he was appointed to the Continental Board of Counsellors in Asia in 1991. He was called to serve as a member of the International Teaching Centre in 1998 and was reappointed in 2003. He and his wife, Svetlana, have three children.

Mr. Lample, an author and educator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and a Master of Science from the National University in San Diego, California. In the early 1990s he served on the National Teaching Committee of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States.

In 1994 he moved to the Baha'i World Centre to serve as coordinator of the Office of Social and Economic Development. He was appointed to the International Teaching Centre in 2003. Mr. Lample and his wife, Marcia, have three children.

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Dr. Payman Mohajer (left) and Mr. Paul Lample.

The other members of the Universal House of Justice are Farzam Arbab, Kiser Barnes, Hooper Dunbar, Hartmut Grossmann, Firaydoun Javaheri, Peter Khan, and Glenford Mitchell.

The Faith, which has no clergy, administers its affairs through democratically elected councils at the international, national, and local levels.

Baha'i elections take place without campaigning or nominations, the results being determined by plurality vote. Members of the Universal House of Justice are elected by members of all National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world.

Electors are guided by the Faith's teachings, which advise each person to vote, independently and in the privacy of his or her own conscience, for "the names of those who can best combine the necessary qualities of unquestioned loyalty, of selfless devotion, of a well-trained mind, of recognized ability, and mature experience."

There are about five million Baha'is worldwide. Prominent among the Faith's teachings are the oneness of humanity, the equality of men and women, and the unity and harmony of the world's religions.

The Baha'i World Centre in the Acre/Haifa area of modern day Israel has been both the spiritual and administrative center of the Faith since its Founder, Baha'u'llah, was exiled there by the Ottoman Empire in 1868.