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Oxford Baha’i History

The association between the Baha’i Faith and the city of Oxford extends back to the early days of the 20th century. In December 1912, Abdu’l-Baha, the eldest son of the Bahaʼu'llah, spoke to a large and varied audience at Manchester College (now Harris Manchester College) about the complementary role of science and religion in the advancement of humanity. The talk made quite an impression on the then-Principal of Manchester College, Dr Eslin Carpenter, who said “Has Persia, in the midst of her miseries, given birth to a religion, which will go round the world?”, and on Canon T. K. Cheyne, Balliol College, 1914: “Why I am a Baha’i is a large question, but the perfection of the character of Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha is perhaps the chief reason”

In 1920, Abdu’l-Baha’s grandson, Shoghi Effendi, came to Balliol College, where he studied economics and social sciences whilst honing his translation skills.

Today the Baha’i community of Oxford, and the Oxford University Baha’i Society, remain vibrant and are active in a range of educational, charitable and cultural activities.

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