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BIC New York: Exploring the Concept of Shared Identity During UN General Assembly High-Level Week

Baha'i World News Service | Nov 12, 2022

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Baha'i World News Service | Nov 12, 2022

The need for a vision of a shared identity based on the principle of the oneness of humanity was highlighted by representatives of the Baha’i International Community’s (BIC) New York Office at several meetings during the High-Level Week of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

At a forum convened by the president of the UN General Assembly, a representative of the BIC, Daniel Perell, stated: “The central principle must remain that the human family is one: that the innumerable characteristics by which we might identify ourselves are ultimately secondary to our shared humanity.”

The forum brought together member state representatives, senior UN officials, and non-governmental organizations to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious, and Linguistic Minorities.

Quoting from a message of the Universal House of Justice, Mr. Perell added: “It is through love for all people, and by subordinating lesser loyalties to the best interests of humankind, that the unity of the world can be realized and the infinite expressions of human diversity find their highest fulfilment.” That message highlights the fact that unity — as expressed in the Baha’i teachings — contains the essential concept of diversity, distinguishing it from uniformity.

The implications of the principle of oneness was further explored at another meeting on preparations for the 2024 Summit of the Future — hosted by the BIC and cosponsored by the Stimson Center — where representatives of the New York Office invited participants to reflect on the role of international structures in addressing contemporary challenges.

The discussions expanded on several of the ideas highlighted in the BIC statement titled “A Governance Befitting: Humanity and the Path Toward a Just Global Order,” which explores themes concerning humanity’s movement toward universal peace.

That document notes that an essential element of this movement is the realization of the equality of women and men — the topic of discussion at another event hosted by the BIC’s New York Office exploring reforms that can be made to the UN in view of women’s rights and equality.

The event featured speakers Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, and Danilo Turk, former president of Slovenia and president of the Club de Madrid.

In that discussion, BIC representatives highlighted how the pandemic has revealed the indispensable role of women in the leadership of societies and the need for models of leadership to be re-conceptualized. The representatives noted that in many nations where women have contributed more prominently to leadership at whatever level of society, a degree of stability has been seen across a variety of short-term indicators, including public health and economic security.

The BIC representatives observed that any UN reforms would require a reimagining of current structures to enable the full participation of women, particularly in decision-making processes.  

Recordings of some of these discussions can be viewed herehere, and here.

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