In order to achieve these aims, there is a systematic programme covering the following themes in the first phase:
• The nature, underlying cause and outward expressions of the universal crisis and basic illness afflicting mankind today, using the example of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire in the light of our era.
• The crucial need to find a unifying vision of the nature of man and society, and a common conviction of the course and direction of human history
• Human nature and the purpose of physical reality - powers of the human soul and its immortality
• Organic evolution of mankind - an ever-advancing civilisation, from infancy to adulthood
• The power and influence of the Manifestations of God as Educators of humanity’s collective infancy and childhood, and as Agents of one civilising process
• The necessity of developing the spiritual life of each individual through spiritual exercises as delineated in the Writings, such as prayer, meditation, immersion in the Sacred Writings, and living the Bahá’í life in all its aspects
• The significance and greatness of this most mighty Revelsation, whose purpose is to create an organic unity between the inner and outer realities of human life
• The Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh as the unassailable foundation of Divine civilisation and the wellspring of the prosperity of humankind
• The significance of the edifices of the Bahá’í World Centre as the heart and nerve centre of the embryonic Bahá’í World Commonwealth
• The twin processes at work in the world today - the Lesser Peace and the Most Great Peace
• The source, meaning and purpose of justice in the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh
• The mission of this generation - the role of Bahá’í youth as moral and spiritual leaders, and as promoters of true liberty
The first phase, which covers the above topics during a period of approximately 8- 10 days, includes a daily programme of organised devotionals, interactive lectures, workshops, drama, music, audiovisual presentations, memorizing verses, interactive quizzes, and accounts from the history of the Faith relating closely to the subject of the day.
The course continues in phase 2 when the central focus will be the documents Century of Light and One Common Faith, when certain subjects will be entered into more deeply, such as the Kitáb-i-Aqdas as the Charter of future civilisation, the Covenant, the history of the Faith, major themes in Islam and Christianity as they relate to effective teaching of the Faith, consultation, the significance of Huququ’lláh, the art of public speaking, etc
The course is open to non-Bahá’ís. The effect on these youth has been magnificent, with several of them leaving as confirmed believers. Some of the visible results have been as follows:
The vast majority of the participants, when returning to their localities, have enthusiastically and effectively participated in the core activities of the current Plan. They have established study circles, thus tremendously reinforcing the institute process; they have contributed to the vitality of the Nineteen-Day Feasts; they have developed excellent presentations on the Faith and utilized them in schools, universities and the media with eloquence and confidence; they have imaginatively used the arts and drama to effectively convey some of the deepest verities of the Cause with dignity; they have established children’s classes and have become better animators for junior youth; they have organised devotional meetings open to all.
In the light of the writings of Shoghi Effendi, the young people acquire a profound understanding of the operation of forces of decline and growth creating universal ferment in the world today, and leading a travailing humanity to its glorious destiny. They are able to appreciate the dynamics of crisis and victory. They can demonstrate to their peers by personal example as well as by their knowledge, the society-building power of the Faith, creating true liberty and abiding happiness. Thus they can, with deep conviction, vindicate the truth of these divinely inspired words of the Universal House of Justice: