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TAGS: Bahai International Community; Change (general); Social action; Social change; United Nations
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Links to a book chapter and video presentation and presentation notes (offsite) presented for the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities, on meaning-making processes driving NGO behavior and the Bahá'í Faith's pursuit of social change.
In this "Religions, Humanitarianism, and Development Research Reading Group" session, Dr. Julia Berger, of Montclair State University, presented her paper "Ideas, Religion, and Social Change: The Baha'i International Community and the United Nations." Dr. Misbah Hyder, of University of California-Irvine, responded to the paper, followed by a question-and-answer session. (from, Feb. 10 2022)

Sample book chapter "Ideas, Religion, and Social Change" (Jan. 14, 2021) posted by author and publisher at their respective websites (linked below). Purchase book at

Ideas, Religion, and Social Change

by Julia Berger

published in Rethinking Religion and Politics in a Plural World: The Bahá'í International Community and the United Nations
London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2021
  1. Summary
  2. Video presentation (offsite, embedded from Youtube)
  3. Presentation slides (offsite)
  4. Book excerpt: chapter 1 & preface (offsite link, on publisher's website)
  5. Same book excerpt (offsite link, on author's website)

1. Summary of content linked below

The book Rethinking Religion and Politics in a Plural World: The Baha’i International Community and the United Nation (Bloomsbury Publishing) was published January 14, 2021. The publisher and author have made available Chapter 1, "Ideas, Religion, and Social Change" (offsite; linked below). The publisher's sample chapter is online at, and the author's is online at

On February 10, 2022, the author presented the work in a webinar for the series Religions, Humanitarianism, and Development Research Reading Group by JLIFLC, the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities, which is online at The webpage for this presentation is at The author's presentation slides are linked from that page. [-J.W., 2022]

    Publisher's description: In this book, Julia Berger examines internal meaning-making structures and processes driving NGO behavior, identifying constructs from within a religious tradition that forge new ways of pursuing social change. She evaluates the operation of a distinct rationality, arguing that action is guided not simply by beliefs and values, but also by a combination of elements so intrinsic as to constitute an “organizational DNA.” These hidden structures and rationalities manifest themselves in new modes of engagement and agency; they help us to see the pivotal role of religion in shaping notions of peace, progress, and modernity.

    To demonstrate the operation and salience of such a rationality, Berger draws on the example of the worldwide Bahá'í community. Emerging in 19th century Iran, the community's theological engagement with questions of justice, the unity of humankind, and the emerging global order, constitute one of the most distinct and compelling, yet least-researched examples of religious engagement with the pressing questions of our time. Analyzing events spanning a 75-year period from 1945-2020, this book provides a unique historical and contemporary perspective on the evolving role of religion and civil society in the modern world. (from

2. Video presentation, on

video below is embedded from

3. Presentation slides, on JLIFCL's website

4. Sample chapter and Preface, on publisher's website

5. Same sample chapter, on author's website

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