Office of External Affairs
of the Baha'i community of Australia
The Office of External Affairs is an agency of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia. Its main purpose is to contribute to national public discourses promoting the social, material and spiritual advancement of Australian society. This includes social cohesion, the role of youth in social transformation, the equality of women and men, the role of religion in society, and role of the media. The Office of External Affairs strives to participate fruitfully in these discourses, collaborating with, and learning alongside, civil society, religious communities, media, academia, government and other actors to collectively advance thought in these areas.
Thought and language around different social issues profoundly affects individual and collective action. Public opinion, policies, social structures and systems grow out of the thinking that is generated around these issues. As a result the Baha’i Community of Australia has paid attention to this interaction between discourse, thought and action. Efforts to contribute to the evolution of thought is thus seen as an important area for social transformation.
Discourse On Social Cohesion
As the movement of populations throughout the world intensifies, countries are challenged to rise to increasing levels of social cohesion and inclusivity, while at the same time learning to adapt to greater levels of diversity. Australia has become increasingly diverse in race, culture and religion over the past few decades, a trend which will continue into the future. This diversity of people – in all their varied identities – has helped to enrich our society.
Such developments open to Australia the opportunity to further explore perennial questions about who we are as a nation, what it means to be Australian and how we can foster increasing levels of harmony amongst diverse groups of peoples and cultures that compose our society. This further invites foundational questions of what it means to have a socially cohesive society and how can this be fostered. For Australia, as a global example of a multicultural society, this also represents a pioneering effort to learn how cooperation, reciprocity and mutual aid across an ever more diverse human community can benefit all.
Therefore, the Office of External Affairs of the Australian Baha’i Community views the discourse on social cohesion in Australia as a unique opportunity to work alongside other groups and organisations to make meaningful contributions to the thinking that shapes the harmonious development of an increasingly diverse Australian society.
The Baha'i Faith is a worldwide religion based on the teachings of Baha’u’llah (1817-1892). There are over five million Baha’is residing worldwide in over 188 countries. Baha’is believe in the fundamental oneness of humanity, and the elimination of all forms of racial, religious, class and gender-based prejudice. This is seen as a necessary precondition for achieving unity, peace and prosperity for the world’s peoples, while preserving and embracing the Earth's rich cultural diversity.
The Baha'i community of Australia is dedicated to promoting the material and spiritual advancement of Australian society. Since its establishment in Australia in 1920, the Baha'i community has been a participant in interfaith dialogue, social action efforts and community building initiatives from the grassroots through to the national level. The Australian Baha'i community has been conscious to collaborate with, and learn alongside, others in order to contribute to the development of thought in various areas of common concern for Australian society, such as social cohesion.
Australian Baha'i Community - What we do
A short video of the Australian Baha’i Community and its efforts to contribute to the social, spiritual and material advancement