In her talk, Dr. Berger traces the experience of a community whose ideas about social order and the mechanisms of social change are refashioning familiar notions of politics as well as religion. Focusing on the Bahá’í International Community (BIC), an international non-governmental organization (NGO) which represents the worldwide Bahá’í community in global fora—most notably, at the United Nations.
Dr. Berger explores a unique and timely example of an approach to social change that goes beyond the divisive, antagonistic modes that tend to characterize political processes–one that lays the foundations for new patterns of relationships among individuals, communities, and governing institutions—patterns attuned to the needs of an evolving, interdependent global community. The lecture focuses on several elements of a framework that shapes the Bahá’í approach to politics, including a developmental view of history, and the principle of the oneness of humanity, and further, examines the role of the Administrative Order in shaping the BIC’s engagement with the international community.
The lecture outlines an effort, echoed in wider scholarship, to enlarge the moral imagination about the vision, values, structures, and protagonists needed to forge a social order to meet the needs of the age in which we live.