“Although your realities are shaped by a broad diversity of circumstances, yet a desire to bring about constructive change and a capacity for meaningful service, both characteristic of your stage of life, are neither limited to any race or nationality, nor dependent upon material means. This bright period of youth you share is experienced by all—but it is brief, and buffeted by numerous social forces. How important it is, then, to strive to be among those who, in the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘plucked the fruit of life’.”

— The Universal House of Justice

Youth have played a vital role in Bahá’í history. The Báb Himself declared His mission when He was but twenty-five years old and so many among the band of His followers were in the prime of their youth when they embraced His Revelation. During the ministries of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, young people were at the forefront of efforts to proclaim the message of the new Faith and to share its teachings with others.

Following in the path that these and other extraordinary figures had opened, thousands of young Bahá’ís have arisen in each generation to respond to the call of Bahá’u’lláh. Their efforts are guided by the Head of the Bahá’í Faith—today, the Universal House of Justice—which encourages young Bahá’ís to draw on the zeal and enthusiasm characteristic of the period of youth and so make decisive contributions to the advancement of spiritual and material civilization.

The scope of the guidance and encouragement provided by the Universal House of Justice and of the response of young Bahá’ís today is too vast, and the activities it inspires too varied, to be described in their totality here. The pages of this topic collection, then, focus on one example: a series of youth conferences in 114 locations around the world which were held in 2013 along with waves of smaller gatherings that have been taking place ever since.

You may read a message of the Universal House of Justice addressed to the tens of thousands of young participants, view a series of short films titled “To Serve Humanity”, and view reports from each of the gatherings in 2013 in a special section of the Bahá’í World News Service website.

In addition, the articles presented below, which comprise extracts from the materials studied during the conferences and the subsequent gatherings, highlight aspects of the conversation among participants as they explored together themes central to their service to humanity.