Ideas, Religion, and Social Change: The Baha'i International Community and the United Nations

Rethinking Religion and Politics in a Plural World explores the emergence and operation of a new conceptual framework that shapes the Bahá’í community's engagement in politics. Spanning the period from 1945 to 2020, the book explores how a particular view of history, the oneness of humanity, and the Administrative Order give rise to new approaches to social change in the international arena. The experience of the Bahá’í International Community, as it navigates various challenges and opportunities throughout its 75-year history with the United Nations, challenges prevailing assumptions about religion, politics, and contributes a fresh account of the role of religion in the modern world.

  • Julia Berger

    Dr. Julia Berger is Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Religion at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ. Her recent book, Rethinking Religion and Politics in a Plural World (Bloomsbury, 2021) explores the changing role of religion in the international arena, with particular attention to insights emerging from the Baha’i community’s engagement with the United Nations. Prior to her current work, she served as Principal Researcher at the Baha’i International Community’s United Nations Office (2004-2015), focusing on human rights, gender equality and social development and representing the Office in various UN fora. Her 2003 article about religious NGOs at the United Nations was one of the first to examine the field of international religious organizations in international affairs. From 2002-2004, Dr. Berger was Research Associate at Harvard University’s Program on Religion and Public Life, where she explored the role of religious organizations in the provision of social services in the US. She serves on the Leadership Team of the American Academy of Religion Women’s Caucus, is Co-Chair of the Academy’s Baha’i Studies Unit and of the International Scholars Session of the Women’s Caucus. Dr. Berger serves on the Executive Committee of the Association for Baha’i Studies—North America. She holds a PhD from the University of Kent, UK in Theology and Religious Studies and an M. Ed. in International Development and Education from the University of Toronto. She is a citizen of Poland, Canada, and the United States, and lives in Montclair, NJ with her husband and twin daughters.


45th Annual Conference

In the Footsteps of ʻAbdu’l-Bahá: Contributing to the Discourses of Our Time


The views expressed in this recording are those of the presenter and do not necessarily represent the views of the Association for Bahá’í Studies, nor the authoritative explications of Bahá’í writings.