Symposium on the topic of 'Faith and Society'
The Office of Public Affairs was invited to contribute to a symposium at Waikato University on the topic of 'Faith and Society'. Aidan MacLeod gave the talk, which was focused on sharing reflections on the New Zealand Bahá'í community’s experiences of learning to put into practice the important role of religion in society.
You can view the talk here.
The symposium was organised jointly by the Waikato University Islamic Studies group and Anglican Action, a Christian social agency based in Hamilton. Dr. Tom Roa (translator of Ko Ngā Kupu Huna, Bahá’u’lláh me te Wā Hou and Ētahi Karakia Bahá'í) was initially invited to speak about his experience translating sacred writings. He was unable to attend due to a prior commitment, but he suggested the Bahá'í Community could fill his place on the programme.
The symposium was notable both as a genuine collaboration between the Christian and Muslim communities, and for the focus it placed on the positive role that religion can and should play in society. In this environment the talk given on behalf of the Faith was well-received. In particular, participants appreciated the reflections about youth being at the forefront of the Bahá'í Community's efforts to contribute to the building of a new civilisation.
Other highlights from the symposium included:
-A keynote speech from Dr Kim Workman on the faith-based prison unit that operated at Rimutaka prison from 2003 to 2012
-A talk by Dr Mortaza Shams (organiser of the symposium) on how religious beliefs foster hope and a concern for social justice
-A talk by Anglican Action social worker social worker Samantha Taylor on her experiences supporting young people in the youth justice system
The Office of Public Affairs looks forward to participating in similar discussions that touch on the role of religion in society at the national level.