’Idál, 15 ‘Alá’ (Loftiness), 178 B.E.
Vase in the sunlight …
To build a better world requires an ever-growing pool of people capable of contributing to the accomplishment of the myriad tasks at hand.
In this connection, the concept of the “training institute” was introduced by the Universal House of Justice in the mid-1990s. Its purpose is to assist individuals to deepen their understanding of the Bahá’í teachings, and to gain the spiritual insights and practical skills they need to carry out the work of the community.
The nature of the training institute can be understood by imagining an ongoing conversation taking place among friends in thousands upon thousands of social spaces—neighbourhoods, villages, schools, universities, and workplaces—concerned with contributing to the advancement of civilization through the application of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings. As the number of participants in the conversation grows, processes to achieve collective spiritual and material goals in each space are set in motion.
We may think of the work of the training institute, then, as maintaining a system of distance education to fuel and facilitate this evolving conversation. The principal elements of the system include the “study circle”, the tutor, and a set of materials, grounded in the Bahá’í writings, that express the spiritual insights and the knowledge gained in the process of translating Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings into reality. The materials help the individual enter into the discussion of what the Bahá’í community has learned through experience as it has tried to contribute to the advancement of civilization. More crucially, they seek to involve him or her in this process of learning and in the diffusion of relevant knowledge. 1