Skip to main content

The UN, the Baha'is, and the San Francisco Conference of 1945

The UN, the Baha'is, and the San Francisco Conference of 1945

Interested to learn about the connection between the UN, the Baha'is, and the San Francisco Conference of 1945? This read has the answers.


5 min read

June 25, 2021

When you think of the Golden State, you may think of sunny weather, coastal beaches, and celebrity sightings, but California’s connection with the Baha’i Faith and the United Nations might be even more noteworthy. In 1912, one of the central figures of the Baha’i Faith visited California and spoke of the importance of international peacekeepers before the United Nations historically began in San Francisco.

Before the UN, A Baha’i Leader Came to California With A Message of Peace

Abdu’l-Baha said that the decision to visit California, especially San Francisco, comes in response to the heartfelt invitations, passionate appeals, and persistent requests from its residents. Their expressions of longing and moments of despair have not gone unnoticed, leading to a committed decision to make the journey to California. 

These were the words of Abdu’l-Baha, the son of Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, and the authorized interpreter of the Baha’i writings. The Baha’i Faith is a world religion composed of members who love humanity and are actively working for world peace. Baha’is view Abdu’l-Baha as the perfect exemplar of the Baha’i teachings, so they were eager and excited for his arrival to the U.S. in 1912. 

Abdu’l-Baha comes to America to spread the message of oneness of humanity and the abolition of all forms of prejudice.

Abdu’l-Baha’s journey in 1912 to the United States lasted for 239 days, from April to December. During his trip, he visited people of diverse classes, colors, and cultures, sharing the revolutionary teachings of the Baha’i Faith, such as the oneness of humanity, the  , the truth of all religions, the agreement of science and religion, and the equality of women and men. While he was in California, he traveled to Berkeley, Inglewood, Los Angeles, Oakland, Palo Alto, Pasadena, Pleasanton, Sacramento, and San Francisco.

As Abdu’l-Baha spoke about the need for international peace and addressed the social and spiritual issues that needed to be remedied, throngs of people sought him out and reporters rushed to interview him for numerous publications, such as the Los Angeles Herald and the Sacramento Union newspaper. Headlines often celebrated and hailed him as the “Persian Peace Advocate” and the “Apostle of Universal Peace and Brotherhood.”

The Importance of the UN’s San Francisco Conference in 1945

Abdu’l-Baha said that the people of California are widely recognized for their peaceful nature and remarkable abilities, fostering a hope that the spirit of peace will continue to flourish among them. As this sentiment grows, it's envisioned that the entire community will become champions of this noble cause. It's crucial for leaders and influencers within this democratic society to actively support and promote the ideals of global harmony and understanding. From this foundation, the aspiration is for selfless goals and ideas to extend from this region to all corners of the world, marking a significant achievement in the annals of this nation's history. The ultimate dream is for California to be the birthplace of the first flag symbolizing international peace, setting a precedent for the rest of the world to follow.

Abdu’l-Baha shared his high hopes of Californians on October 26, 1912 to an audience in the Assembly Hall of the Hotel Sacramento on his last day in California. In his speech, he said that international peace is the “greatest need in the world today” and expressed how urgent it was for warfare to be abolished and nations and governments to unify. He explained that Europe is like “a storehouse of explosives” and “one spark will set the whole of Europe aflame.”

Less than two years later, his predictions of a global violent conflict became a reality when the First World War began after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on June 28, 1914. Although Abdu’l-Baha did not live to see the “first flag of international peace” upraised in California, this prediction also came true with the San Francisco Conference in 1945.

After World War II ended on September 2, 1945, 850 delegates from fifty nations gathered in San Francisco between April 25 and June 26 to establish the United Nations. There, the Charter of the United Nations and the Statute of the International Court of Justice was adopted unanimously at the end of the San Francisco Conference on June 25 and was signed the following day.

In addition to the hundreds of delegates and thousands of news, press, and radio representatives, representatives of the Baha’i International Community were present at the signing of this charter and called for the recognition of the oneness of humanity at the founding of the UN. On October 24, 1945, which is now observed annually as United Nations Day, the United Nations was established. 

Through the UN, the Baha'i International Community is paving the way for positive change worldwide.

In 1948, the Baha'i­ International Community registered with the UN as an international non-governmental organization. They were later granted consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, the United Nations Children's Fund, and with the UN Development Fund for Women. The Baha’i Community has also worked closely with the UN Environment Program, the World Health Organization, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the UN Development Program. 

The Baha'i­ International Community was also fully involved in the World Summit for Children in 1990, the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993, the Global Conference on Small Island States in Barbados and the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994, the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen and the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, the UN Conference on Human Settlements in Istanbul and the World Food Summit in Rome in 1996. 

In their statement for the United Nations’ 50th Anniversary, the Baha'i International Community expressed their praise of the progress the UN has made in peace-keeping and paving a “path toward a future without war.”

Currently, the United Nations consists of 193 “member states”. Goals include improving economic growth, ending poverty and famine, ensuring everyone has access to clean water and sanitation, achieving gender equality, reducing pollution, making clean energy more accessible and affordable, funding projects that build infrastructure in developing countries, and promoting peaceful, just, and inclusive societies. 

Although the UN isn’t perfect and has its own shortcomings, it still remains to be one place where nations around the world can unite and collaborate on what solutions are needed for the world’s pressing problems. The San Francisco Conference in 1945 is seen as one of the most important and largest gatherings of international peacekeepers in history. After the biggest and deadliest war in history, an international organization was created to end war and promote peace and justice for humanity.

Need help with a home improvement project? Get a free quote today!

Enter Your Zip Code

Enter Your Zip Code

RELATED Articles

Discover More

fueled by the power of California love
We're committed to helping you discover the places, people and businesses that make our state Golden. Our online publication, updated daily, brings you all the content you need to live your California dreams. And that's just the beginning…
Purpose section
Purpose section