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Friday, August 15, 2003

Bahá’í summer school attracts attendance of 500

By Jennifer Long UP to 500 adults and children who are members of the Baha’I faith have descended on Waterford for the 25th annual Bahá’í summer school which kicked into action at Newtown School on Sunday.

The residential summer school, which runs for a week until August 17, is booked out again this year with the attendance mostly made up of members of the Bahá’í faith, their families and other interested parties. Bahá’í is an independent world religion with more than five million adherents in virtually every country comprising all nationalities, classes, trades and professions.

The theme of this year’s school is ‘Sincerity of Faith’ and several visiting guest speakers including author Dr. Nicola Towfigh from Germany and Dr. K. Fananapazir from Scotland who will deal with the challenges of spirituality in the modern age.

Meanwhile, speakers drawn from within the Irish Bahá’í community include Dr. Iarflaith Watson who will speak on the evolution of a global society, Dr. Vivien Hick who will run a workshop on historical research methods, and the chairwoman of UNIFEM Ireland, M. Sefidvash, who will participate in a panel discussion on working with refugees in Ireland.

City Mayor Ald. Tom Cunningham attended the school yesterday (Tuesday) where he warmly welcomed the hundreds of attendees to Waterford. He was introduced by the Vice-Chairman of the Waterford Bahá’í community, Matthew Kennedy.

The summer school, according to its organisers, has several functions. It is a forum in which to study the Bahá’í faith and related topics, plus it is also a venue for social interaction, for the education of children and youth and for general inspiration and fun.

This year, a new feature will be a day devoted to interfaith activity when persons from various faith backgrounds will engage in discussions and presentations about their approaches to faith and spirituality. Generally, attendees will participate in classes, mini-seminars, sports and craft activities appropriate to various age groups.

There has been an elected Bahá’í administrative council in Waterford City since 1974. Nine adult local Bahá-ís male and female, are elected annually.

They arrange year-round activities including study circles and devotionals to which people of all faiths are welcome.

A central principle of the Bahá’í faith is ‘The Earth is but one country and mankind its citizens’. For more information on the Bahá’í faith, go to

©Copyright 2003, Waterford News & Star (Ireland)

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