“Topics that move Austria”: New video blog casts light on pressing issues

December 7, 2020

VIENNA, Austria — A new vlog to explore issues of national concern in Austria was launched Saturday by the country’s Bahá’í Office of External Affairs.

“Like everyone else, most of our conversations with other social actors have moved online. Although this has had its challenges, it has also presented new opportunities,” says Leyla Tavernaro of the Office of External Affairs.

“For example, we can now document parts of our conversations and make them available to many other people interested in the same topics.”

Dr. Tavernaro explains how the new vlog, titled “Themes that move Austria,” will explore topics including environmental protection, migration, social cohesion, and the role of youth in social transformation.

In the first episode, environmentalist Marlene Nutz from an organization called Fridays for Future Austria discusses the relationship between science and religion as it relates to the future of the planet. “I think if we only have science, then we might be familiar with the facts … but do we feel connected to our planet? Can we really feel that our house is on fire?”

Another episode, which will be posted in the coming weeks, explores the question of identity and migration with Kenan Güngör, an expert on the issue. He says of this initiative of the Office, “It is refreshing to see a religious community actively engage in these important societal topics.”

Instagram account of the Austrian Bahá’í Office of External Affairs. Slideshow
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Instagram account of the Austrian Bahá’í Office of External Affairs.

In explaining other aspirations for the vlog, Dr. Tavernaro states: “By documenting conversations in this way, this initiative will allow people to follow the evolution of ideas as certain concepts are explored over time.

“For example, in conversations where we are looking at the question of identity—asking ‘what does it mean to be Austrian, European, or someone who has come from a different country?’—those engaged in related national discourses will be able to come back periodically and see how thinking is expanding and new insights are emerging.”

Upcoming episodes planned by the Austrian Bahá’í Office of External Affairs will include discussions on the issue of racism and social cohesion, and the role of education in raising public consciousness about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The vlog can be found at https://www.bahai.at/diskurs/.