Government officials visit Baha'i book display in Senegal

February 5, 2006

DAKAR, Senegal — The Minister of Culture and Historical Heritage visited a display by the Baha'i community of Senegal at an international book fair, held in the West African capital city of Dakar in December 2005.

His Excellency Mame Birame Diouf, head of the Ministere de la Culture et du Patrimoine Historique Classe, represented Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade at the fair. Minister Diouf accepted a gift of Baha'i books.

Other government visitors to the display included three officials from the Department of Books and Reading of the Ministry of Culture (Direction du Livre et de la Lecture).

The book department bought 30 copies of the book, Baha'u'llah and the New Era, in order to place them in public libraries throughout the country, said Shahnaz R. Ardekani, secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Senegal.

Ms. Ardekani said the Baha'i display was visited by many of the publishers, authors, librarians, students, intellectuals and others interested in publishing, who came from many countries to attend the fair, which was held 6-11 December 2005.

"The Baha'is manning the stall met a wide variety of people including school pupils, university students, teachers, government officials, artists, members of different religious orders, writers, and business people," Ms. Ardekani said.

Several of those who visited the Baha'i display attended a subsequent public meeting at the Baha'i Centre where the topic "Unity of the human race -- utopia or reality?" was discussed.

Baha'is reside in 382 localities in Senegal, and there are 34 Local Spiritual Assemblies. Social and economic development projects include classes for junior youth.

The Baha'is of Senegal, along with the other National Baha'i communities of former French West Africa, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2003. [see]