Two new members join the Universal House of Justice

HAIFA, Israel – In a by-election involvIng the 183 national Bahá'í communities worldwide, two new members have been elected to the international governing council of the Bahá'í Faith.

The two new members of the Universal House of Justice, Payman Mohajer and Paul Lample, fill vacancies created by the departure of Ian Semple and Douglas Martin, who left after many years of service on the council.

The results of the by-election were announced on 21 March 2005, the first day of the Bahá'í new year. Balloting was done by mail, with the nine members of each of the 183 national-level Bahá'í governing councils around the world serving as electors.

Dr. Mohajer was born in Tehran, Iran, where he received his elementary education. He then went with his family to India where he received a degree in homeopathic 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 Bahá'í-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 Bahá'ís of the United States.

In 1994 he moved to the Bahá'í 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.

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.

Re-elected to five-year terms in 2003, Messrs. Semple and Martin requested permission from the Universal House of Justice to resign their office owing to considerations of age and related needs of the Faith. Mr. Semple, 76, served on the Universal House of Justice since it was first established in 1963. Mr. Martin, 78, served since 1993.

Mr. Semple was born in 1928 in England . He 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 Bahá'í Faith in 1950 and was first elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís 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 Bahá'í Council, on which he served as assistant secretary.

Mr. Semple has delivered many addresses on the history and teachings of the Bahá'í 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.

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

He was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada from 1960-1985, serving as its general secretary from 1965-1985. From 1985-1993 he was director-general of the Bahá'í International Community's Office of Public Information at the Bahá'í World Centre in Haifa.

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

He is a former executive editor of One Country . He also served as editor-in-chief of The Bahá'í World, a series of annual reference volumes. He was a founding member of the Association for Bahá'í Studies, serving on its international executive committee from 1974-1985. His wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Martin, passed away in 1999.

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