January 25, 2010

Shoghi Effendi – ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Eldest Grandson & His Chief Secretary

Shoghi Effendi was the eldest son of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s daughter Diya’iyyih Khanum (d. 1951) and Mirza Hadi Shirazi Afnan (d. 1955). He was born in ‘Akka on 1 March 1897, the eldest of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s grandsons, named in the Master’s Will as His successor when he was still a child. Educated at first at home with other children of the household, he was later sent to Catholic school in Haifa and Beirut and then to the Syrian Protestant College (the predecessor of the American University) in Beirut, spending his summer holidays as one of his grandfather’s assistants. He gained an arts degree from the college in 1918, and became ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s chief secretary. Then in 1920, he went to Oxford University (Balliol College), where he studied political science and economics, and also sought tp perfect his English so as to be better able to translate Baha’i literature into that language. He was still in the midst of his studies when summoned to return to Haifa at the news of his grandfather’s death.
(Peter Smith, A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baha’i Faith)