Spanish publication explores dimensions of governance
MADRID — The first of a series of conferences on governance, initiated by the Baha'i community of Spain, has led to a new publication entitled La gobernanza y sus enfoques (Approaches to governance).
The book, which contains the presentations given at the conference on the subject, resulted from the successful collaboration of governmental, faith-based, and civil society organizations, and included the private sector.
"The Baha'i community of Spain has been committed to learning about models of social organization based on principles of cooperation and reciprocity, social justice, peace, and environmental sustainability," explained Sergio Garcia, the Director of the Baha'i Office of Public Affairs in Spain and editor of the new publication.
"This conference was part of a broader effort to participate in discourses in Spain that deal with the betterment of society."
Also representing the Baha'i community of Spain at the event, Nuria Vahdat Owrang described how the Office has been working with organizations oriented toward the common good.
"In addition to participating in conferences and roundtables," she said, "we considered organizing a new venue in collaboration with other organizations. That is how the first conference on governance, held at the Centro de Estudios Politicos y Constitucionales (Center for Political and Constitutional Studies), came about."
"When we began to look more closely at the issue," explained Dr. Garcia, "the Office found a number of reasons to engage it more vigorously.
"For example, we noticed the public yearning for more effective models of governance, especially among the youth; the existence of groups of people in Spain coming from different sectors who were already reflecting—at the level of theory and practice—on governance; the importance of good governance in managing collective issues; and the experience of the Baha'i community with its own system of internal governance."
The new publication provides a range of contributions. It also challenges certain assumptions in contemporary thought that, according to Dr. Garcia, have become unquestioned and reified and appear to be obstacles to social progress.
In this light, these conferences and the associated publications aim to bring together the insights of diverse people who are thinking deeply about governance and exploring new patterns and dynamics in practice. It opens a space for them to have an ongoing conversation, stimulate new practices in society, and even inform policy.
The publication includes contributions from Ricardo Garcia Garcia, former Director of Government Relations with Religious Groups under the Ministry of Justice of the Spanish Government, and Inigo Baldres, an economist whose presentation describes a movement in Spain to explore alternative economic models, referred to as Solidarity Economy Network.
Sergio Garcia of the Baha'i Office of Public Affairs edited the book. His article describes the pressing issues related to governance and shares insights from the experience of the Baha'i community with its nascent and evolving governance structures.
This is the first publication in what the Office intends to be a series of volumes on governance. Plans are in place for a second book, connected to the conference on governance and religion, held at the Palau Roberts of Barcelona.