|In 1985, Bahá'ís
around the world launched an effort to help eradicate from human consciousness the old
world attitudes and behaviors that have for so long presented seemingly insurmountable
barriers to the achievement of world peace.
campaign began with a letter, entitled The Promise of World Peace, and addressed to
"The Peoples of the World." It called on world leaders to gather and discuss the
ways and means by which world peace may be established. More than simply a demand for
action by the world's political leaders, however, the document analyzed the reasons that
world peace had for so long been considered unattainable--citing the barriers of
nationalism, racism, poverty, and religious strife--and outlined new approaches for the
demolition of those barriers.
Written by the Universal House of Justice, the document also
indicated that because of humanity's new stage of maturity, these barriers could at last
be overcome and that peace was now inevitable although whether it would be achieved
through intelligent collaboration or after disastrous conflicts remained to be seen. [See excerpts on page 71]
Galvanized by this message, the world-wide Bahá'í community
began a systematic campaign to diffuse these ideas around the world. Within a few years,
more than one million copies of this treatise had been disseminated, many to individuals
in the highest ranks of government and academia. Indeed, copies were presented to
virtually all of the world's heads of state. It has also been published whole or in part
in magazines and newspapers around the world. In conjunction with this distribution,
Bahá'í communities around the world organized thousands of local, regional, and national
peace conferences, lectures, concerts, dramas, exhibitions and fairs.
In 1987, the Bahá'í International Community and five
national Bahá'í communities were recognized by the United Nations with the "Peace
Messenger" award, a prize in recognition of contributions by non-governmental
organizations during the 1986 United Nations International Year of Peace.