Governor opens Baha'i Centre of Learning
The Governor of Tasmania, Mr Peter Underwood
The Governor of Tasmania, the Honourable Peter Underwood AC, officially opened the Tasmanian Baha’i Centre of Learning on 29 May 2009.
In his address to some 300 people at the opening ceremony, the Governor praised the design and intended use of the building, which is located in a prominent position in the heart of Hobart.
“This Centre of Learning will make a significant contribution to the religious and intellectual life of Hobart,” said Mr Underwood, who unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion.
“It is a tribute to the skill and ingenuity of the architects and builders,” he said.
The opening ceremony was webcast and watched live by viewers in other parts of Australia and in other countries.
The design of the building has won accolades for the attention paid to environmental sustainability through the innovative use of materials, the conservation of water and low energy consumption.
Among the distinctive aspects of the design are a domed roof covering a 300-seat auditorium, and a glassed courtyard enclosing a tree that continues to flourish within the building itself.
In his address, the Governor praised such Baha’i principles as the abolition of all forms of prejudice, the equality of women and men, the independent investigation of truth, and the establishment of a global commonwealth of nations.
“These values are values of right thinking men and women and should be pursued at every opportunity,” said Mr Underwood.
“We are indeed fortunate to have a community of people living amongst us who subscribe to those ideals,” he said.
Among the dignitaries attending were members of the Federal and State Parliaments, municipal leaders, leaders of religious communities, and representatives of the business community, educational institutions, non-governmental organisations and the media.
Baha’i representatives included members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Australia and the Continental Board of Counsellors and a former member of the International Teaching Centre at the Baha’i World Centre.
The program also included a Welcome to Country, a prayer, a reading of the charter of the Baha’i Centre of Learning and musical performances.
Principal architect Stuart Hall spoke about the development and construction of the Centre, the purpose of which is to provide programs that enable the insights of religion, science, and the arts to contribute to the spiritual, intellectual and social development of individuals and groups.
The Baha’i Centre of Learning serves the wider Tasmanian community as well as providing a venue for Baha’i activities. More than 50 organisations have held events there since it opened its doors in October last year.
The Baha’i Centre of Learning is also the headquarters of the Baha’i Council for Tasmania.
Funded by the Naveed Foundation, the Centre is dedicated to the memory of former Hobart Baha’i community members Soheila Mirkazemi and her son Naveed, who died as a result of a motor vehicle accident in the city in 2000.
Other Australian cities to have Baha’i Centre of Learning buildings include Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.