Leaving after many years of service

March 24, 2005

HAIFA, Israel — Two members of the Universal House of Justice have left the Baha'i Faith's international governing council after many years of service.

Mr. Ian Semple, 76, served as a member of the Universal House of Justice since it was first elected in 1963. Mr. Douglas Martin, 78, served as a member since 1993.

Re-elected successively to five-year terms, Messrs Semple and Martin requested the Universal House of Justice for permission to resign their office owing to considerations of age and related needs of the Faith.

The request was granted and they served until a by-election to replace them was completed. The by-election was held by postal ballot and the results were announced on 21 March 2005.


Both Mr. Semple and Mr. Martin had extensive experience in the Faith's activities before their election to the nine-member council, which has its Seat on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel.

Mr. Ian Semple (left) and Mr. Douglas Martin. Slideshow
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Mr. Ian Semple (left) and Mr. Douglas Martin.

Born in 1928 in England, Mr. Semple did his national service in the British Army from 1947-50 during which period he earned a commission in the Royal Corps of Signals.

He studied at Pembroke College, Oxford, obtaining a BA in German and French Language and Literature in 1952 and an MA in 1955. He subsequently studied accounting in the City of London, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1955 and becoming a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Mr. Semple became a member of the Baha'i Faith in 1950 and was first elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the British Isles in 1956. He served on that body, latterly as its secretary, until he moved to Haifa upon his election in 1961 to the International Baha'i Council, on which he served as assistant secretary.

From 1957-61 he also served as a member of the Auxiliary Board for the propagation of the Baha'i Faith in Europe.

Mr. Semple has delivered many addresses on the history and teachings of the Baha'i Faith. He is married to Mrs. Louise Semple (nee Gloor) and they have three children.

Mr. Douglas Martin was born in 1927 in Ontario, Canada. He holds a Bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Western Ontario and a Master's degree in history from the University of Waterloo, Ontario. His wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Martin, passed away in 1999.

Mr. Martin was a consultant in advertising and public relations until he devoted himself exclusively to Baha'i administration and scholarship.

He was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada from 1960-85, serving as its general secretary from 1965-85. From 1985-93 he was director-general of the Baha'i International Community's Office of Public Information at the Baha'i World Centre in Haifa.

With Dr. William S. Hatcher, he co-authored "The Baha'i Faith: The Emerging Global Religion," published by Harper & Row and later by the US Baha'i Publishing Trust. He has also published articles and scholarly monographs and lectured widely on the Baha'i Faith.

He is a former editor-in-chief of "One Country," a Baha'i international news magazine, and "The Baha'i World," a series of annual reference volumes. He was a founding member of the Association for Baha'i Studies, serving on its international executive committee from 1974-85.