Participating in public discourse

To assist our nation’s progress, diverse groups need to come together to discuss the challenges we face as a society, and develop new thinking about how to respond to them. The Baha’i community participates locally and nationally in discussions regarding aspects of social progress in Australia.

At the national level, the Office of External Affairs coordinates efforts to contribute at the level of thought on important issues, offering insights drawn from the Baha’i teachings and the Baha’i community’s growing experience in applying them in Australia. The purpose is to engage in genuine conversation and to learn alongside other participants in spaces where thought, opinion and policy evolve.

In our approach to discourse, we are seeking to foster a new set of relationships between the individual, the community and the institutions of society – one that is based on cooperation and mutual respect rather than competition and partisanship. We are strictly non-partisan in our approach and work together with government, other organisations, faith communities and individuals.

We are particularly interested in contributing to the national discourses on social cohesion, the equality of women and men and on the role of religion in our society, crucial areas for the progress of our nation.

On the international stage the Baha’i International Community, a non-governmental organisation officially linked with the United Nations since 1948, represents all the Baha’i national communities in the world, including Australia. It maintains offices at the United Nations in New York and Geneva. It also has regional offices in Jakarta, Addis Ababa, and Brussels. In all these places, the Baha’i International Community works with the UN, regional institutions, nation states, and other NGOs to empower increasingly bigger segments of humanity to work toward their spiritual and material betterment.

One way the Baha’i community builds capacity for this purpose is through seminars for undergraduate and graduate university students. Conducted by the Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity (ISGP) at several locations in Australia, these seminars explore subjects especially relevant to students and young professionals, assisting them to make meaningful contributions to the prevalent discourses in their fields, and in society as a whole.

“They that are endued with sincerity and faithfulness should associate with all the peoples and kindreds of the earth with joy and radiance.”