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John Barnabas (Barney) Leith has been a Bahá’í since the mid 1960s and a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the UK since 1993. He has served as its Secretary, Secretary for External Affairs, and Director for Diplomatic Relations. He is now semi-retired.
He has many years of experience representing the UK Bahá’í community in interfaith organisations, focusing on dialogue, collaborative action, and working with government, academia and faith communities on the role of religion in the public square and the importance of faith-based social action. He is a former trustee of the Inter Faith Network for the UK and chair of the Faith Based Regeneration Network, two of the key interfaith bodies in the UK. He is also a trustee of the World Congress of Faiths, one of the oldest interfaith bodies in the world.
Barney has degrees in sociology, social psychology and philosophy. In 2010 he was honoured by Queen Elizabeth II, being appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to the Bahá’í Faith and to interfaith relations.