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Quarterly Newsletter                                                                                    July 2020
FAO and BIC explore links between agriculture and migration
 
"Migration and mobility" is listed as one of the five challenges common to both continents in the March 2020 strategy proposal “Towards a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa”. To meaningfully address this challenge, there is a need to better understand the complex drivers of migration, including changes in the agriculture sector. To this end, the Bahá'í International Community Brussels Office and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) co-hosted an online discussion titled "Africa - EU partnership in addressing drivers of migration", bringing together over 80 policymakers, academics and civil society actors from Africa and Europe to jointly explore the links between agricultural policies and migration. Read more. 
How can peace mediation and local ownership reinforce each other?
 
"Trust in the strength and capacity of local populations is key to mediation efforts," said Naghmeh Sobhani, an international peace building consultant for UNICEF, at a panel hosted on 16 June by the Bahá’í International Community Brussels Office. What it means for the EU to "facilitate locally owned peace agreements" is a central question in the context of the current revision of the Concept on Strengthening EU Mediation and Dialogue Capacity. The panel took place within the context of the European External Action Service’s annual Community of Practice (CoP) meeting and was titled "Peace Mediation and Local Ownership: How can one reinforce the other?" Read more.
 
Drawing from religion in defining social progress
 
"The next stage of our collective lives requires a definition of progress that is jointly shaped by widening circles of populations and by material and spiritual perspectives," said Rachel Bayani, the representative of the Bahá'í International Community Brussels Office during an online meeting hosted on 19 June by the think-tank Friends of Europe and co-organised by the BIC, the International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP) and the LSE Faith Centre on the role of religion in social progress. "Whether you see yourself as religious or non-religious, exploring the role religion can play in the advancement of society is a matter of intellectual curiosity," remarked Mr. Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Insights at Friends of Europe. Read more.
Food security: in search of long-term solutions
 
Exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue of food insecurity is being treated as a matter of urgency by actors and organisations at every level. In light of the upcoming EU-Africa Summit in October 2020, the Addis Ababa and Brussels Offices of the Bahá’í International Community recently hosted joint conversations between African and European actors, in which various facets of the problem of food insecurity were explored. "Food security does not only call for technical policy responses, but also requires a broader and deeper re-thinking of the principles on which the global economic order is based," commented Defne Inhan from the BIC. Read more.
Assumptions of human nature shape the design of AI technology

"As we are proactively exploring the development of artificial intelligence (AI), we are compelled to look at ourselves from a new perspective. Who are we? What do we desire? From where do we derive meaning?" stated Jeff Simon from the Bahá’í International Community Brussels Office at a gathering hosted by the BIC on 7 July. A small group of representatives of European institutions and organisations came together to explore the question of human nature in relation to AI. This meeting built on a conversation held on 2 March, where stakeholders came together to identify a key set of questions around AI and its significance in the process of society-building. Read more.
European officials call on Iran to stop the persecution of Bahá’ís
 
The Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, has written to Iran’s Foreign Minister, Muhammad Javad Zarif, condemning the recent escalation of the persecution of the Bahá’ís in Iran, the largest non-Muslim religious minority in the country. The letter comes on a wave of support for Iran’s Bahá’ís by Members of the European Parliament (EP) as well as numerous parliamentarians and prominent figures in Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Finland and Ireland. In the letter sent to Mr. Zarif, Mr. Jean Asselborn has expressed his concern regarding the situation of the Bahá’ís in Iran. Read more.
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The Bahá'í International Community (BIC) is an international non-governmental organization with affiliates in over 180 countries and territories. It currently has offices in Addis Ababa, Brussels, Geneva, New York, Jakarta.

Bahá'í International Community - Brussels
www.bic.org

Rue Henri Evenpoel 52-54, Brussels 1030
brussels@bic.org
+32-2-644 6463






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