Bahá'í Institute for Higher Education

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The Bahá'í Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) was founded in 1987 in response to the Iranian government's continuing campaign to deny Iranian Bahá'ís access to higher education.   As its graduates excel in post graduate studies internationally, the BIHE's commitment to high academic standards, international collaboration, and an innovative teaching-learning environment is increasingly recognized.  The BIHE offers 32 university-level programs across 5 faculties and continues to develop and deliver academic programs in Sciences, Engineering, Business & Management, Humanities, and Social Sciences.Faced with unrelenting religious persecution involving a wide range of human rights violations, including systematic denial of access to higher education, BIHE developed several unique features which have become its defining strengths. Courses delivered at the outset by correspondence for security reasons are now provided on-line, using leading-edge communication technologies. In addition, an affiliated global faculty (AGF) has been established comprised of hundreds of accredited professors from universities outside Iran who assist BIHE as researchers, teachers and consultants.

The need to create a new university for those who were denied access to higher education captivated the talents and minds of exceptional faculty and staff from within Iran. For twenty years they have dedicated their efforts to building an exemplary institution and cultivating a student body prepared for fulfilling careers, future study, and social responsibility. BIHE provides its students with the necessary knowledge and skills to not only persevere and succeed in their academic and professional pursuits, but to be active agents of change for the betterment of the world.

These unique strengths of BIHE, together with the top-ranking marks of its students, have helped BIHE graduates secure graduate studies at close to 72 prestigious universities and colleges in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia (India).

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Dear Friends,The Cedar Mill Library, 12505 NW Cornell Rd,
Portland, in conjunction with the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of
Washington County North, will sponsor a screening and discussion
following of the Documentary Film Education Under Fire: The Long
Persecution of Iran’s Baha’is on Saturday, Dec 1 at 2:00pm in the Cedar Mill Library Upstairs Community Room. Please see flyer attached.

Please invite your friends and family and join us for a free presentation of this moving documentary. 

Education Under Fire
is produced by Single Arrow Productions and co-sponsored by Amnesty
International. The 30-minute documentary profiles the growth, struggle,
and inspiring spirit of the Baha´i Institute for Higher Education.

Baha´is in Iran have been subjected to systematic persecution,
including arrests, torture, and execution simply for refusing to recant
their beliefs. They are also prohibited from going to college (and
blocked from many professions). In 1987, the semi-underground BIHE was
formed to give young Baha´is their only chance for a university-level
education. Despite repeated raids and arrests, volunteer teachers and
administrators created an independent, decentralized university system
that has lifted the lives of thousands of Baha´i students across Iran.
In May 2011, an organized assault was launched by the Iranian government
in an attempt to shut down the BIHE. Over 30 homes were raided and over
a dozen BIHE professors and administrators were detained. Several are
still in prison for doing nothing more than trying to teach. The film
connects a diverse audience to a grave human rights issue, a powerful
story of resilience against oppression, and the need to respect human
rights everywhere.The Documentary film will be followed by a discussion facilitated by
Professor Loni Bramson. Professor Bramson holds a PhD in History
and History of Religion, and she has taught in Africa, Europe, as well
as the United States. She resides in Cedar Mill.Refreshments will be provided.http://library.cedarmill.org/news-events/lib-news/education-under-fire

http://www.educationunderfire.com/Feel free to forward this invitation to others you know who maybe interested.With warmest greetings,
The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Washington County North, ORJulie Rubenstein, Corresponding Secretary

December 9, 2014

To the American Bahá'í community

Dearly loved Friends,

We are pleased to announce the launching of Education Is Not a Crime, an innovative new campaign designed to show support for all those denied access to higher education in Iran—including Bahá’ís—and to remind the world of the unjust imprisonment of the courageous educators and administrators who, through the Bahá’í Institute of Higher Education (BIHE), attempted to provide a workable alternative. The campaign will revolve around two elements: an interactive, multimedia website (at educationisnotacrime.me) and a powerful new film, To Light a Candle, both produced by Off Centre Productions, a company owned by the noted Iranian-Canadian journalist, filmmaker, and human rights activist Maziar Bahari, who currently resides in the United Kingdom and has recently been the subject of a feature film, Rosewater.

The campaign will culminate in “Education Is Not a Crime Day” on February 27, 2015. On that date (or in its close vicinity), we are asking Bahá’í communities across the United States to host screenings of To Light a Candle, a 55-minute documentary that presents a compelling case for the Bahá'ís of Iran and their resilient response—in the creation of the BIHE—to the cruel deprivations they continue to endure at the hands of the Iranian regime. While universities with Bahá’í campus associations may be the most appropriate venues for such screenings, educational institutions without a Bahá’í club are still quite accessible, and movie theaters, community centers, and public libraries would also be suitable locations. Wherever possible, each screening should be followed immediately by a discussion featuring a panel consisting of a well-known moderator, a former student of the BIHE, and a professor, journalist, or human rights activist familiar with the situation of Iran’s Bahá'ís. A flyer that can be customized for local advertising is attached.

To increase public awareness of the gross injustice of this case, it is vital that the campaign reach beyond the venues where screenings will be offered. For this reason, the interactive website (educationisnotacrime.me) has been created. Not only does the site provide a rich background of information about the persecution of Iran’s Bahá'ís, it provides creative ways for supporters to make their views known. One such assists individuals to upload their own videos making it known to the Iranian government how the denial of education to Bahá’í youth and others hurts the country. (No equipment more elaborate than a smart phone is needed, and the mobile version of the website makes uploading easy.) Note that it is not necessary to mention your membership in the Bahá'í community in your statement of support. Your statement will be equally as valid without mention of personal religious affiliation and should not be supplemented with that information unless there is a compelling reason to do so. (An example would be a family connection with the BIHE prisoners.) Needless to say, the tone of your statement should be respectful, and it should state facts, express your opinion on the impact of those facts, and avoid pejoratives. A sampling of videos capturing the reactions of individuals to a few screenings of To Light a Candle that have already taken place is available on the website.

Please visit the website soon to explore ways you and your community can participate. You will find other forms of support, including use of social media, are suggested on the website and are an integral part of the campaign; indeed, the campaign is already active on Twitter and Facebook. (To join the conversation, please follow and “like” the campaign’s pages, and use its official hashtag, #educationisnotacrime.) As soon as a community, college club, or an individual (with the approval of her or his Local Spiritual Assembly) organizes a screening, we ask you to contact the campaign at its email address (info@educationisnotacrime.me) and you will be provided with online access to the film.

Many of you who are connected to universities will receive emails from the campaign’s mailbox. These will provide you with suggestions for support you may be able to carry out on your campus. You may also pose questions about how the resources of the campaign can help with an initiative that you are planning. In addition, you are warmly invited to sign up for the campaign newsletter for updates.

We are confident that To Light a Candle and the Education Is Not a Crime campaign will be embraced enthusiastically by the American Bahá’í community. The film is yet another powerful addition to the extraordinary set of films, statements, and gestures that have recently been made by influential Iranians—none of them Bahá'ís—to bring attention to the indignities and injustices that have year after year been heaped upon our sisters and brothers in Faith. We have every reason to feel encouraged that this remarkable development is part of a larger process that will inevitably result in their full emancipation and recognition as a legitimate religious community in the land of their Faith’s birth.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF
THE BAHÁ'ÍS OF THE UNITED STATES