President of Pacific island nation visits Baha'i World Centre

1 December 2011

HAIFA, Israel — The head of state of the Republic of Palau has paid an official visit to the Baha'i World Centre.

President Johnson Toribiong with his wife, Mrs. Valeria Toribiong, were welcomed by a member of the Universal House of Justice, Mr. Stephen Hall, and his wife, Mrs. Dicy Hall, on 25 November. Also in the receiving party was a member of the International Teaching Centre, Mrs. Zenaida Ramirez.

Palau is one of the world's youngest sovereign states, located in the Pacific Ocean, 800 kilometers east of the Philippines. President Toribiong himself requested the visit to the Baha'i World Centre while on a state visit to Israel.

At a reception held in the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, Mr. Hall presented the president with the book, Baha'i Shrine and Gardens in Haifa and Acre. A laser-etched crystal memento of the Shrine of the Bab was also presented to Mrs. Toribiong.

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The president of the Republic of Palau, Mr. Johnson Toribiong, and his wife, Mrs. Valeria Toribiong – pictured center – are shown visiting the terraces of the Shrine of the Bab, Haifa, Israel, on Friday 25 November. Guests also included representatives of the municipality of Haifa.

"The president – who is an attorney by profession – expressed his appreciation of the Baha'i teachings on justice," said Kern Wisman, representative of the Baha'i International Community, who was a member of the welcoming party.

After speeches, the delegation – which also included Palau's Justice Minister, Mr. John Gibbons, and guests from the municipality of Haifa – visited the Shrine of the Bab and its surrounding terraced gardens, which particularly interested Mrs. Toribiong who, in her role as first lady, has done much to promote the beautification of her country.

"It is an impressive experience when a head of state is able to see something of the essence, character, scope and scale of the Baha'i Faith – and respond with such respect to the beauty and dignity of this holy place," said Mr. Wisman.