Mildred Mottahedeh, first Baha'i International Community representative to the United Nations, passed away

NEW YORK - Mildred Mottahedeh, the first Bahá'í International Community representative to the United Nations, passed away on 17 February 2000. She was 91.

A world-renowned producer and collector of fine porcelain, a promoter of social and economic development, and an early supporter of the United Nations, Ms. Mottahedeh had been a Bahá'í since 1929 and had served at many levels on Bahá'í administrative councils.

"Her more than half a century of tireless endeavor in [Bahá'í] service involved her in teaching and administrative activities at the local, national, continental and international levels," wrote the Universal House of Justice, the international Bahá'í governing council, in a message announcing her passing. "At the same time, she maintained a rigorous schedule as a business woman, a contributor to the arts, and a promoter of humanitarian works. To these manifold tasks, she brought the combined resources of a selfless spirit, a compassionate heart, a creative mind, a practical sense, and a leonine will tempered by humility, candor and wit."

Born in Seabright, New Jersey, on 7 August 1908, she met and married Rafi Y. Mottahedeh, an Iranian-born importer, in 1929. The couple founded Mottahedeh & Company, which became world renowned for its reproductions of fine porcelain.

An early advocate of the United Nations, Ms. Mottahedeh was present in San Francisco at the signing of the Charter and in 1948 she became the Bahá'í International Community's first representative to the UN, a position she held until October 1967.

Ms. Mottahedeh was also active in promoting social and economic development. In 1958, she and her husband established a foundation to support projects in the developing world. Ms. Mottahedeh was also instrumental in providing early support for the New Era High School and the New Era Development Institute in India.