The Wilmette Institute is an educational agency of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States. It offers courses and classes on the Bahá'í Faith and related subjects to anyone interested in taking them. Its purpose is to develop human resources for the benefit of the Bahá'í Faith. The Wilmette Institute differs from many Bahá'í training institutes and study circles in several ways:

1. The Wilmette Institute is mandated to be financially independent of the Bahá'í funds, hence it must charge tuition to cover staffing and other operating expenses. It provides discounts and scholarships to those who cannot afford the full tuition fees.

2. The Wilmette Institute is currently the principal worldwide source of distance-learning courses on the Bahá'í Faith. Because it uses the Internet and Worldwide Web, its courses are available all over the planet.

3. The Wilmette Institute develops courses that can be completed at a university level of rigor, thereby enabling those who want credit to arrange it through their own local institution of higher education. The Wilmette Institute is not accredited to offer university credit for its courses (a process that, in the United States, is lengthy, complicated, and expensive). Most Wilmette Institute students do not want or need credit and are taking the courses for their own personal development. Most are not completing the work at the university level of difficulty.

Since it started in 1995, the Wilmette Institute courses have collectively had about 1,600 students. Currently its Spiritual Foundations summer session in Wilmette and the Institute's sixteen distance-learning courses are taken by a total of about 200 students per year. Wilmette Institute students have already made many important contributions to the Bahá'í community. They have become informal ambassadors of their Faith, teaching it to hundreds of inquirers, proclaiming it from lecterns and through radio and television, and serving on numerous Bahá'í institutions. Some have been inspired to continue their education and have obtained Masters degrees.

Mission Statement

The Wilmette Institute, an agency of the National Spiritual Assembly, operates as a center of learning, offering academic, professional, and service-oriented programs related to the Bahá'í Faith. It offers well-organized, formally conducted programs of training that are designed according to standards of academic excellence and the Bahá'í standard of independent investigation of truth in a spirit of humility, service, and unity. It seeks to contribute to the development of human resources within the Bahá'í community to advance the process of entry by troops. The Wilmette Institute's programs and services aim to enhance unity and fellowship among all people regardless of their ethnic, national, and religious background. Its services are available to students all over the world.

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