All posts by Sonjel Vreeland. Browse Other Authors

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.

The Concept of Peace in the Baha’i Faith – A Book by Miguel Santesteban Gil

George Ronald, as part of its Baha’i Studies series, has released a book titled The Concept of Peace in the Baha’i Faith by Miguel Santesteban Gil. In this book, Miguel analyzes texts of Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha and Soghi Effendi to understand a common element of unity, justice and peace. To quote the book’s blurb: “The study explores the logical, anthropological and ethical extensions of the key theme of peace as it moved from one stage to another in the development of a young religion heavily invested in the world.”

Miguel Santesteban Gil very kindly agreed to tell us about his latest publication. Here’s what he shared with us:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was a born when the reverberations of the Spanish Civil War were sufficiently fresh to cast an ominous shadow in most of the family conversations we used to have at home, in Spain. I grew as a youth when the Cold War was at its peak. I well remember the articles my father used to read about the space race and the explanation he gave me once when I asked what it mean “not apt for irreconcilable ones,” a phrase I saw at the head of a magazine on the civil war. Living under a dictatorship schooled me in recognizing some of the evils of the twentieth century; but my inventory of ideas came to an abrupt widening when I first came across the Baha’i Faith at the age of 14. I became a Baha’i at 17, largely the result of many favourable circumstances, including the arrival in the intervening years of two Iranian Baha’i families that settled in Pamplona and acted as my spiritual family. I read widely, Baha’i texts as well as religious and cultural history books, and some philosophy of history. I met my wife, Elham Sami, at a Baha’i Youth School. She spoke Portuguese, which was enough to understand each other. We married in Melbourne and had three boys, two of them already married. We have a lovely grand-daughter, Alaia (happy in the Basque language), and another grandchild is on its way.

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Social Cohesion Podcast Series

The Social Cohesion podcast series was created by the Office of External Affairs of the Australian Baha’i Community, which views the discourse on social cohesion as a unique opportunity to work alongside groups and organisations to make meaningful contributions to the thinking that shapes the harmonious development of an increasingly diverse Australian society.

Themes explored in this eight episode podcast series include identity, shared values, creating inclusive narratives, the perspectives of youth, and building a post-pandemic society.

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Growing Up – A Children’s Book About Life’s Stages

A dynamic team made up of Catherine A. Honeyman (or Catie) and Bahiyyih Maani (Bahi) have created a resource for children called Growing Up: A Book About Life and Love, Inspired by the Baha’i Writings and we were excited to learn all about it! In this interview, Catie and Bahi tells us about their book, how it came together, and its purpose.

Here’s what Catie and Bahi shared:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourselves?

I’m Catie, the author, and right now I live in Silver Spring, Maryland, in the United States. My husband Neil and I have three children who surprise and delight us with their unique personalities—Naim, Elena, and William. Our first two children were born in Rwanda, Neil’s home country, and we keep a lot of connections there. I work for an international nonprofit organization promoting youth training, employment, and entrepreneurship programs in many different countries. That means I think a lot about how to help young people transition into fulfilling adult roles in our society!

I’m Bahiyyih, the illustrator, and I live in Vila Velha, in the state of Espirito Santo, Brazil, with my husband Diego, and our two daughters, Agatha and Jade. I’ve been a Baha’i since I was born as the daughter of Persian pioneers. I studied architecture and urbanism and served in the Holy Land twice: the first time as a gardener and the second time as an architect. The second time I stayed for three years and that period gave me the chance to learn how to paint with watercolours. Since 2015, I’ve been learning more and more about the techniques and have been illustrating books and doing personalized commissions. Continue reading

So Powerful – A Short Film by Isabel Miranda and Emmanuel (Manny) Lopes

So Powerful is a touching and genuine short film by Isabel Miranda and Emmanuel (Manny) Lopes. It is a documentary about two individuals from very different cultural backgrounds, Max and Shoghi, who build a deep friendship through music.

So Powerful is a joy to watch and a sweet film to derive inspiration from. I’m grateful to Isabel and Manny for taking the time to tell us about their 17 minute documentary. Here’s what they shared with us: Continue reading

BWNS: Global Conferences – Grassroots Gatherings Imbue Communities with Sense of Common Purpose

This video from the Baha’i World News Service (BWNS) shares how, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances in neighborhoods and villages throughout the world have been gathering together in homes and backyards, on porches and rooftops, and in many other diverse settings—large and small—to consult about how they can foster vibrant communities based on the Bahaʼi Faith’s vision of a peaceful world. Continue reading

Moments of Meaning: Finding Freedom in Surrender—with Arya Badiyan

Moments of Meaning is a podcast produced by Baha’i Teachings and hosted by Sean Hinton. 

In each episode, Sean speaks to someone whose life has been profoundly affected by the writings of the Baha’i Faith. Each guest shares with Sean their “moment of meaning” — whether it’s a big life choice, a turning point in their career, an inspiration or an insight. They share the passages from the Baha’i writings that were part of this moment, and explain the changes this moment inspired in their lives. Continue reading