Central to Bahá’u’lláh’s mission, therefore, has been the creation of a global community that would reflect the oneness of humankind. The ultimate testimony that the Bahá’í community can summon in vindication of His mission is the example of unity that His teachings have produced. As it enters the twenty-first century, the Bahá’í Cause is a phenomenon unlike anything else the world has seen. After decades of effort, in which surges of growth alternated with long stretches of consolidation, often shadowed by setbacks, the Bahá’í community today comprises several million people representative of virtually every ethnic, cultural, social and religious background on earth, administering their collective affairs without the intervention of a clergy, through democratically elected institutions. The many thousands of localities in which it has put down its roots are to be found in every country, territory and significant island group, from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego, from Africa to the Pacific. The assertion that this community may already constitute the most diverse and geographically widespread of any similarly organized body of people on the planet is unlikely to be challenged by one familiar with the evidence.