Participation in the Discourses of Society: A Series from the Baha’i World News Service
This month we are featuring a series of articles from The Bahá’í World News Service (BWNS) – the official news source of the worldwide Bahá’í community.
Representatives of a number of national Baha’i communities recently gathered at the Baha’i World Centre to reflect on the past several years of experience learning about participation in the discourses of society. The Baha’i World News Service took the opportunity to interview groups of representatives about the experiences and insights they have gained in this area of endeavor.
2 December 2018
BAHA’I WORLD CENTRE — In recent years, national Baha’i institutions and regional agencies have been systematically participating in the discourses of society, such as migration and integration, social cohesion, race unity, the role of religion in society, and climate change, to name a few.
The phrase “participation in the discourses of society” is being used more and more to describe the involvement of the Baha’i community in the broad conversations focused on social betterment.
Discourses take place at different levels. Individuals can contribute to discourses in their professions or fields of study. Many individuals and communities are drawn into discourses on issues vital to their neighborhoods and villages. Non-governmental organizations inspired by the Baha’i teachings—for example, in the area of social and economic development—contribute to discourses related to their efforts. The Baha’i community’s formal involvement in discourses related to the well-being and progress of society is facilitated at the national and international levels by offices of external affairs and the Baha’i International Community, respectively.
26 December 2018
BAHA’I WORLD CENTRE — The accelerating movement of populations across borders, increasing religious diversity, growing interreligious tensions, sectarian violence, youth discontent and vulnerability to radicalization: these and other factors are combining to bring religion to the forefront of discourse in virtually every region of the world and on the international stage.
Conscious of the forces of change sweeping across their societies, societal leaders are pursuing constructive ways to address humanity’s most pressing challenges. In this context, some governments, scholars, prominent thinkers, and civil society actors have sought to better understand the positive contributions that religion and faith communities can make to society.
16 January 2019
OSLO, Norway — Recent international interfaith gatherings highlight a growing awareness in the world. Many social actors are seeing in interreligious dialogue a new potential to channel the constructive powers of faith for the betterment of society.
“If we all have humility instead of insisting on the exclusivity of our own perspectives, then we begin to learn from each other,” says Britt Strandlie Thoresen, who heads Norway’s national interfaith organization. As a Baha’i, her commitment to interreligious dialogue springs from a belief in the power of fellowship to foster unity. “We are striving to find a common path together—a path to building a better world with each other.”