Cousins, NGOs, and Cousin NGOs: Unity Foundation, OSED, FUNDAEC, Ruhi Institute, BIC, ISGP, Paul Arbab, Farzam Arbab, Haleh Arbab, Bita Correa, and Gustavo Correa.

Farzam Arbab
The Arbab-Correas

Unity Foundation, which works with Luxembourg's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and "a network of local development agencies assisting them in their efforts to build capacity amongst populations to take charge of their own social and economic development" is "governed by a board of directors which regularly meets to consult on the strategic direction of the organization. The day-to-day work is being carried out by the office team. Our external consultancy body, the Office of Social and Economic Development (OSED) in Haifa, Israel connects us to grass-root development agencies which have the capacity to work with external funding organization. OSED and the [Luxembourg] Ministry of Foreign Affairs act as two filters ensuring the quality and integrity of our projects."

The Administrator of Unity Foundation is Paul Arbab. "Born in the US, Paul grew up in Colombia. He holds an MBA and joined the board of Unity Foundation in January 2007. Since then he has been able to provide valuable input to the strategic direction of the Foundation. He is a proud father of two toddlers and strongly believes in the power of education."

Paul Arbab is the son of Farzam Arbab. Initially elected in 1993 to the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing institution of the Bahá'í Faith, Farzam Arbab retired from that body in 2013. Before his election to the Universal House of Justice, in 1988, he was appointed to the International Teaching Center. The International Teaching Centre, whose seat is at the Bahá'í World Centre in Haifa, Israel, is composed of nine Counsellors appointed by the Universal House of Justice and tasked with duties to stimulate and coordinate the Continental Board of Counselors and assist the Universal House of Justice in matters relating to the teaching and protection of the faith. All of the current members of the Universal House of Justice previously served as members of the International Teaching Centre. In 1980 he was appointed to the Continental Board of Counsellors for the Protection and Propagation of the Faith in the Americas, on which he served for eight years. From 1970 until 1980 he served as the Chairman for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Colombia.

While in Colombia, Farzam Arbab was one of the founders of FUNDAEC (Foundation for the Application and Teaching of the Sciences). He served as its Director from 1974 through 1988 and continues to serve on its board. FUNDAEC was established in 1974 by a group in Colombia who were looking for new strategies to develop the capacities of people and to generate knowledge in isolated regions of the country. The model, known as SAT (for "Sistema de Aprendizaje Tutorial, Spanish for "System for Tutorial Learning") started in 1980 and centers on the use of interactive workbooks facilitated by a tutor. In Colombia, these tutors are trained at the Center for Rural Education.

The SAT techniques Arbab helped develop at FUNDAEC have been applied to the Bahá'í community in the form of the Ruhi Institute, which was named after Arbab's father. Centered on Bahá'í study circles, the goal of the Ruhi Institute courses is to "evoke a transformative learning experience through a learner-centered, experiential, and collaborative approach facilitated by a tutor rather than an instructor, a teacher, or an expert." Among the principles of the Ruhi curriculum is the utilization of service projects to implement learning into tangible action. The Universal House of Justice has encouraged the emulation of the Ruhi model throughout the global Bahá'í community. According to one researcher, the Ruhi Institute's method has resulted in "nonhierarchical, self-initiated, self-organized small groups engaged in study, teaching, and action" and is "becoming the core of Bahá’í community life worldwide as the outcome of a process that has sought to nurture the spiritual life of individuals and families and to establish social foundations for the vision and practice of religious world citizenship." Paul Lample, another member of the Universal Hose of Justice, has stated "Doubtless the institute and its curriculum will continue to evolve, both in content and form, to a level of greater complexity in regions and nations within the framework of the administrative order throughout the various stages of the Divine Plan in the second century of the Formative Age."

FUNDAEC's current Director is Bita Correa. Aside from being FUNDAEC's current program director, Bita Correa participated as a member of the Bahá'í International Community’s delegation to the 55th United Nations Commission for Social Development. A recent graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Bita Correa is the daughter of Haleh Arbab, Farzam Arbab's sister, and Gustavo Correa.

Haleh Arbab, is currently director of the Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity, a non-profit educational and research organization "dedicated to building capacity in individuals, groups and institutions to contribute to prevalent discourses concerned with the betterment of society" through "working in collaboration with the Bahá'í International Community." Born in Iran and educated in the United States, Haleh Arbab previously lived in Colombia from 1982 to 2005 where she worked with the FUNDAEC.

Haleh Arbab's husband and Bita Correa's father is Gustavo Correa. Since 2008, Gustavo Correa has been a member of the Universal House of Justice. Before his election to the Universal House of Justice, in 2005, he was appointed to the International Teaching Centre. Along with his brother-in-law, Farzam Arbab, Gustavo Correa was one of the founders of FUNDAEC and later served as its Director, the position currently held by his daughter, Bita Correa.

For a number of years now, Unity Foundation has collaborated with FUNDAEC and "since June 2013, Unity Foundation has renewed its collaboration with FUNDAEC."

Research : A35821361

1 comment:

  1. Per their own "Annual Report 2015," the latest year for which one is available, in the section titled "Finances", "The figures include the support received from the [Luxembourg] Ministry of Foreign Affairs."

    "All our projects are co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Without the generous co-financing policy we would not be able to support so many wonderful projects." The total given is €548,240.

    "The Ministry reimburses some part of our administrative costs." The figure given is €50,283

    For comparison, from the same "Finances" section, total donations are €416,424 (€290,665 corporate, €83,121 from individuals, €35,520 from associations, and €7,118 from fundraising campaigns and municipalities).

    So the funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is more than the sum of all other sources of donations combined.

    Furthermore, these corporate and individual donations are tax deductible as defined by Luxembourg's tax law.


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