Volume 18, Issue 2 / July-September 2006
NEW YORK — Tahirih Naylor, a lawyer from Canada, has joined the Bahá’í International Community as a representative to the United Nations.
Ms. Naylor, 28, will work closely with Bani Dugal, the Community’s principal representative to the United Nations, on human rights issues. She will also handle issues relating to sustainable development and social development.
“We are very pleased to have Ms. Naylor join our office,” said Ms. Dugal. “She has a strong background in law, and she has had formative experiences working with the Canadian Bahá’í community’s Office of Governmental Relations and also with Bahá’í-inspired development projects. She is a young woman with maturity beyond her years, who has already brought new ideas and a fresh perspective to our work.”
Ms. Naylor joined the Community’s United Nations Office in July. Her coming follows the arrival of Fulya Vekiloglu, who joined the Office in June, also as a representative to the UN.
Before coming to the Community, Ms. Naylor worked as a representative in the Office of Governmental Relations of the Bahá’í community of Canada. Her duties there included presenting the Bahá’í community’s point of view to government officials and non-governmental organizations, as well as work on projects concerning human rights and immigration.
She worked for the government of Ontario in the Family Responsibility Office before that, handling various legal duties, including representation, research, and the writing of various motions and memoranda.
Ms. Naylor received her law degree from Osgood Hall Law School in 2003. Her undergraduate education was at the University of Western Ontario, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2000 with the highest grade point average in her class.
Service to the community at large in the arena of development and social justice has also been a feature of Ms. Naylor’s experience.
She currently serves as treasurer for the Breakwell Education Association, an NGO that oversees the development of two educational institutions in Stratford, Ontario. She worked for an NGO in Guelph, Ontario, as an English as a second language (ESL) teacher, coordinated Canadian volunteers for the Youth Can Move the World literacy program in Guyana, and trained young people to address social issues through the arts in Samoa, Tonga, and the Bahamas.
In 1997, she was the program coordinator and a dancer for the Diversity Dance Theatre in Europe, which offers educational performances and workshops on issues of multiculturalism and world citizenship. She toured 13 countries in Eastern and Western Europe. She has done similar arts-based projects in China and Papua New Guinea.
“I feel quite honored to have been invited to join the United Nations Office of the Bahá’í International Community,” said Ms. Naylor. “My ambition in life has long been to address social problems, such as issues relating to poverty and the environment.
“One of the reasons I went to law school was to get skills that I felt could be used to assist people and communities in a practical way, especially in terms of promoting social justice.
“In my experience, approaches to social and sustainable development often neglect the understanding and application of spiritual principles in favor of a purely materialistic perspective.
“My hope is that my background can be useful in our outreach to the United Nations and its partners in civil society in bringing the Community’s distinctive spiritual perspective to this effort.”