Viewpoints on current issues
In June this year, global food prices climbed to an all-time high. Although prices have declined, the crisis nevertheless highlighted an important fact: our global food supply is under pressure from multiple avenues, and the need for a coordinated global approach to food and agriculture is greater than ever. (July-September 2008)
Many people today question the place of religion in an age of science. This is especially true regarding the theory of evolution. Yet in the Bahá'í writings one finds a perspective that both embraces the scientific truth behind evolution and yet also upholds the Divine nature behind ultimate reality. (April-June 2008)
There can no longer be much doubt that the next phase in human society is the emergence of a world civilization. The real need for humanity today, then, is to agree on a set of common values by which to guide these new processes. Without a set of common values, the prospects for building a cohesive — and peaceful — global community are remote. (October-December 2007)
With the release in February of the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there remains little doubt about the reality of global warming. (January-March 2007)
By many measures, the status of women and girls has improved significantly over the last 50 years. They have achieved higher rates of literacy and education, increased their per capita income, and risen to prominent roles in professional and political spheres. Moreover, extensive local, national and global networks of women have succeeded in putting women’s concerns on the global agenda and catalyzed the creation of legal and institutional mechanisms to address these concerns. (October-December 2006)
Although it has often been relegated to second-class status among human rights concerns, the issue of freedom of religion or belief today stands at the center of many of our most pressing global challenges. (July-September 2006)
The astronauts of Apollo 8, on the first mission around the moon in 1968, took a now famous photograph. Called “Earthrise,” it shows the grey and lifeless horizon of the moon — and suspended above it, against the infinite blackness of space, is our bright and blue home planet. (April-June 2006)
Respect for human rights is a clear indication of a nation's commitment to the rule of law, to humanitarian principles, and to honesty in its public affairs. And there is no better measure of Iran's genuine commitment to human rights than the way it treats its largest religious minority. (January-March 2006)
In the face of urgent global problems like terrorism, HIV/AIDS, and severe poverty in Africa , it is sometimes hard to focus on the long term needs of humanity. But with the launch in 2005 of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, there is an opportunity to re-think the manner in which we approach long range global challenges. (October-December 2005)
In 1945, the founding of the United Nations gave a war-weary world a vision of what was possible in the arena of international cooperation and set a new standard by which to guide diverse peoples and nations towards a peaceful coexistence. Sixty years later, the questions that fuelled the San Francisco Conference assert themselves anew: Why have the current systems of governance failed to provide for the security, prosperity, and well-being of the world's people? (July-September 2005)
The freedom to hold beliefs of one's choosing and to change them is central to human development. It is the individual's search for meaning and the desire to know who we are as human beings that distinguish the human conscience. (April-June 2005 / 17.1)
For as long as can be remembered, even people of good conscience have dismissed the challenge posed by extreme poverty as something too overwhelming, too vast, and too complicated to be solved. But now a team of 265 development experts and economists has concluded that it is possible to end extreme poverty in 20 years. (January-March 2005 / 16.4)
The simple fact is that today some of the gravest threats to the well being of citizens everywhere come from small groups, devices or organisms that easily pass through the once secure borders of the once well-fortified nation-state. (October-December 2004 / 16.3)
While statistics give the big picture, the individual stories about the everyday burdens that women face around the world are often what touch the soul and stir the conscience. (July-September 2004 / 16.2)
In today's globalized world, the written word has become essential to our collective advancement. Not only are those who cannot read or write cut off from their own opportunities for advancement, but society as a whole is also deprived of the potential contributions that individuals can make to the good of all. (April-June 2005 / 16.1)
A growing number of people all over the world, believing that powerful global forces have ignored the well-being of average citizens in favor of the interests of big businesses, transnational corporations, governmental elites, war machines, ecological destruction, and other evils, are taking to the streets to protest.
There is perhaps no better example of "enlightened self-interest" in the world today than the education of children. By every measure, every study, and every rational thought process, the investment made today in the education of girls and boys pays dividends that will last far into the future -- and make the world a much better place. (October-December 2003)
Throughout recorded history, in every culture, the family has been the fundamental building block of society. And throughout history, the main factor in the cohesion of the family has been religion. Today, by many yardsticks, the family is in crisis. (July-September 2003)
Debates on globalization, especially in policy-making circles, are often shaped by purely national interests, whether social, economic, or political. But such interests are parochial. If the phenomenon of globalization were to be carefully examined, discussions of the subject would properly be broadened to take into account the cultural and spiritual dimensions. (April-June 2003)
When social scientists discuss the basic needs for human existence, the list usually starts with material things: air, water, food, and shelter. These are things that no one can survive without, at least not for long. (January-March 2003)
Whether the roots of terrorist acts lie in economics, ideology, or sheer aggression, the question remains: What effective mechanisms can be developed to combat this transnational problem, to which modern states are extremely vulnerable? (October-December 2002)
The United Nations has yet to grasp fully both the constructive role that religion can play in creating a peaceful and prosperous global order, and the destructive impact that religious fanaticism can have on the stability and progress of the world.
The enduring legacy of the twentieth century is that it compelled the peoples of the world to begin seeing themselves as the members of a single human race, and the earth as that race's common homeland. Despite the continuing conflict and violence that darken the horizon, prejudices that once seemed inherent in the nature of the human species are everywhere giving way.
When government leaders met in Monterrey, Mexico, earlier this year for the International Conference on Financing for Development, a powerful undercurrent in the speeches and discussions was the importance of combating corruption.
The human spirit must be free to know. Apprehending who we are, for what purpose we exist, and how we should live our lives, is a basic impulse of human consciousness. This quest for self-understanding and meaning is the essence of life itself. The innate and fundamental aspiration to investigate reality is thus a right and an obligation of every human being.
Racism originates not in the skin but in the human mind. Remedies to racial prejudice, xenophobia and intolerance must accordingly address first and foremost those mental illusions that have for so many thousands of years given rise to false concepts of superiority and inferiority among human populations. (July-September 2001 /OC 13.2)
Statement of the Universal House Justice, the international governing body of the Bahá'í Faith, as read 22 May 2001 "On the occasion of the official opening of the Terraces of the Shrine of the Báb." (April-June 2001 /OC 13.1)