Office of Public Affairs launches new podcast with a mini-series on coronavirus

Posted: 2020/05/29

The Bahá’í Community of Canada’s Office of Public Affairs has launched a new podcast, called “The Public Discourse,” which begins with a mini-series exploring resilience in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The purpose of the podcast is to explore aspects of the national public conversation in a new way, by focusing on the role of values and principles,” says Laura Friedmann, Media Officer with the Office of Public Affairs. 

“We are bringing together people who are contributing to the public discourse, and exploring with them how insights from religion, science, and practical experience can help us to think in new ways about the challenges facing society,” Friedmann continued. 

During the podcast mini-series, “Resilience in the face of adversity,” guests will be examining how the coronavirus health crisis reveals insights about the values that bind us together. 

The first episode is on the value of service to others. It features Ashraf Rushdy, a project officer with the Office of Public Affairs, in conversation with Dr. Lita Cameron and Prof. John Milloy. Dr. Cameron is a family physician in Hamilton, Ontario, and Prof. Milloy is a professor of public ethics and former Ontario government minister. 

In their conversation, they talk about the challenge of coronavirus, and how doctors, front-line workers and public servants are animated by a sense of service to others. They also discuss the ways in which society will need to change to address the needs of vulnerable people, including the homeless and the elderly. 

Prof. Milloy challenges listeners to rethink our social structures in order to better care for the vulnerable and marginalized: 

“There’s room for all sorts of groups to come forward. Whether we’re talking about faith communities or community groups or people of like interest to come forward and say: the old ways aren’t going to work anymore – in fact we’ve seen that maybe they didn’t work that well in the past – and how do we think about it differently? You know what, these are really tough questions, but they have to be addressed.” 

Dr. Cameron adds that the current health crisis “reinforces an understanding in our society that we have an individual responsibility to make decisions that protect the wellbeing of our most vulnerable.” 

Another theme in the conversation is the way in which the current health crisis has underscored the interdependence of our society. 

“I hope this is a wake-up call,” says Prof. Milloy. 

“One of the basic tenets of most, if not all faiths, is our human connectedness and our responsibility for each other,” he continues. 

We live in a world that is divided all the time by economics, by geography, by politics, and yet here’s one case where we literally are all in this together. Hopefully that sense of shared humanity will be something that lives on after this and will strengthen our world. 

Links to the podcast can be found at opa.bahai.ca/podcast.

This story originally appeared on the Canadian Bahá’í News Service.