Project Objectives and Outcomes
The project has two central objectives. Firstly, this national conversation aims to advance the discourse on social cohesion by re-examining prevailing conceptions underpinning human nature and society and articulating constructive characteristics that can draw us closer to realising our common humanity, unify thoughts and actions, facilitate harmonious interactions, increase inclusion and a sense of belonging. It will seek to bring together representatives from a broad array of backgrounds, perspectives and sections of society and envisions the engagement in dialogue will be a unifying process in itself.
Secondly, the project will synthesise the most prevalent and unifying insights, ideas and descriptions of our common identity and shared values which can move us towards strengthening social cohesion and inclusion in our country. A formal document will be produced, which will be offered to our country as a resource and framework for social endeavours. It can be utilised to foster an ongoing conversation at the grassroots to national levels of society, encourage and motivate neighbourly interactions, and contribute towards the thinking which shapes and inspires community projects, government policy and public opinion.
The Inclusive Narrative document is intended to be completed by October 2020 and distributed to government, civil society organisations, thought leaders and made available to the general public.
Naturally, this project must be viewed as evolutionary in nature with a long-term commitment to a learning processs, as our understanding of these profound concepts of social cohesion, inclusion, identity, values and belonging advance over time as our social landscape shifts and changes. Therefore, its approach has been conceived over a 25-year period where reflection and refinement must be carried out periodically.
The vision of the project includes the development of a broad and expansive collaborative process, from its design phase through to the final document. To date, the Australian Baha’i Community has consulted Federal Government Ministers and Departments, Ministerial advisors, Human Rights Commissioners and thought leaders to seek their support for and advice on shaping this project.
The Australian Baha’i Community’s Office of External Affairs will facilitate the unfoldment of this project ensuring a broad array of community representatives are included and welcomed to collaborate by taking part in the roundtable dialogue. They will also offer the Inclusive Narrative document on behalf of the Australian Baha’i Community and all those who contributed to its content.
The Australian Baha’i Community is also seeking to collaborate with all sections in society – institutions, thought leaders, academia, media, community groups etc. – to co-host and encourage participation of representatives from their networks in the roundtable discussions.
An advisory board of trusted individuals from Australian society will be appointed by the Office of External Affairs and charged with the responsibility to offer suggestions regarding the refinement of the project’s processes and the content for the Inclusive Narrative.
The narrative itself and the associated process is independent of government but openly shared. The Australian Baha’i Community seeks bi-partisan support and welcomes the participation of those in office as representatives of their constituents.