As part of a national campaign, five members of the Bahá'í Club delivered a statement on women's equality to top University officials yesterday.
In the morning, members met with President Shapiro. Later, Steve Phelps GS and Mona Mahboubi '01 met with Dean of Student Life Janina Montero and Dean of the College Nancy Weiss Malkiel.
In the meeting with Montero and Malkiel, Phelps added that Bahá'ís see the maltreatment of women as an obstacle to world peace.
"The longstanding and deeply rooted condition of inequality must be eliminated," said the "Two Wings of a Bird" statement that was presented to officials. "To overcome such a condition requires the exercise of nothing short of 'genuine love, extreme patience, true humility.'"
Phelps said he believed the University had a good record on women's equality. However, he added that the population of graduate students was overwhelmingly male.
The campaign will raise awareness of the women's liberation issue and of the Bahá'í faith in general, Phelps said. While Phelps added thatBahá'ís do not proselytize, he added "of course, Bahá'ís believe that the message they have is important and relevant to the times."
Around the country, other college Bahá'í clubs have discussed the same statement with senior administrators on their campuses, Mahboubi said. Phelps added that the members of the month-long "One Voice Project," directed by the National Spiritual Association of the Bahá'ís in the United States, have also approached officials of local governments.
Throughout the academic year, the Bahá'í Club has educated students about the faith with "Daily Meditation" advertisements in the 'Prince,' club president David Nawi '00 said. He added that the group also will run a children's activity center at the University's annual International Festival.
As part of the "One Voice Project," Mahboubi said the club will sponsor a forum on gender equality.
The Bahá'í faith, which is independent of all other world religions, was founded in the nineteenth century by the prophet Baha'u'llah, Mahboubi said.
Today, 5 million Bahá'ís in 235 countries are spiritually unified by a gold-domed headquarters in Haifa, Israel, said the Bahá'í Website. Bahá'ís believe in "progressive revelation" to past prophets from Abraham to Jesus to Muhammad to Zoroaster, Mahboubi added. The faith emphasizes the oneness of God, humanity and all religions.
From the focus on unity comes the Bahá'í value of gender equality, said the Website.
Phelps said the Bahá'í faith "gives me a positive view of the future."