Category Archives Interviews

Mine Rich in Gems: Resources & Activities for Teaching Children & Junior Youth

Mine Rich in Gems is an incredible resource for teaching children and junior youth (from the ages of 2-14). Created by a family team made up of wife and husband, Lili and Wei, along with daughters, Kati and Christi, Mine Rich in Gems offers downloadable Baha’i-inspired activity booklets and materials in support of Feasts, Holy Day celebrations, children’s classes, home visits and other occasions. These resources are jam-packed with stories, games, puzzles and coloring sheets.

I got in touch with the team behind Mine Rich in Gems to find out more about how they came together and what they’re working on. Here’s what they shared with me:  Continue reading

The Gate: An Album by Navid Lancaster for the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

Navid Lancaster has produced an orchestral album in honor of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith. The official website for the bicentenary celebrations around the world, www.bicentenary.bahai.org, gives us glimpses of the diversity of artistic expressions that have flourished from all corners of the planet. We’re also really honoured when people reach out to us and tell us what they’ve been working on such as Navid and his album, The Gate. Here’s what he shared with us: Continue reading

Dimensions of Baha’i Law: A Book by Roshan Danesh

Roshan Danesh is a lawyer, conflict resolution innovator, and educator who has devoted his career to the study of law, particularly Baha’i law. His work, as it is expressed in academic articles or essays, has been pulled together in a newly-published book called Dimensions of Baha’i Law. In recent years the Universal House of Justice has called on the Baha’is to participate in the discourses of society. An anthology such as this one, that collects essays that were published elsewhere in the wider academic sphere, is excellent for anyone interested enriching their understanding of this subject and its wider discourse. Dimensions of Baha’i Law was also recently awarded the 2019 Association for Baha’i Studies Award for Distinguished Scholarship.

Roshan shared with us a little about his book. Here’s a look at our conversation:

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

I was born and raised in Canada. My mother’s parents, an Orthodox Jew and midwestern Catholic, were shunned by both sides of their families after they married. They became Baha’is later in life and passed away before I was born.  Continue reading

New Children’s Books About Ayyam-i-Ha by Elaheh Bos

I have never personally met Elaheh Bos but I am so grateful for the materials and resources she creates and produces for children. Her latest: a story book, During Ayyam-i-Ha: How We Celebrate, and an activity book, Ayyam-i-Ha Crafts. (Not sure what Ayyam-i-Ha is? Here’s a Baha’i Blog article called “An Introduction to Ayyam-i-Ha” that might help!)

With the multiple-day Baha’i festival just around the corner, I am thrilled Elaheh was able to share a little bit about her new books. Here’s what she said:  Continue reading

Baha’i. Persian. Rapper: An Interview with Ahdi

As a huge fan of rap – especially the “conscious” kind – and with a personal passion for listening to global hip-hop artists no matter what language they rap in, I was excited to meet Ahdi, a Persian rapper based in the United States, and who, for over a decade now, has been “spittin’ out lyrics” in Persian relating to racism, drug abuse, the equality of women and men, and other social issues including the oppression of his fellow Baha’is in Iran.

Ahdi recently released a track called ‘Toloue Bamdad (Rise of Dawn)‘ in honor of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, and so with a stack of tracks behind him, I decided it was time to catch up with my dear friend Ahdi, to find out more about him and his music: Continue reading

Year of Living Deeply: A Memoir of 1969 by Robert Atkinson

The particular and the universal: this is the heart of Robert Atkinson’s book Year of Living Deeply: A Memoir of 1969. For many Americans, 1969 was a year of iconic moments such as the lunar landing and Woodstock’s musical festival. Robert’s book, however, shares how these moments transformed him within the context of universal themes about our independent spiritual journeys or search for truth. The book is both soulful and meditative.

Robert agreed to tell us about his memoir and how it all came together:

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

 

As an author of nine books, I’ve always enjoyed writing; it’s been a constant in my life, a way that I’ve found my voice and gotten it out there. I’m a professor emeritus at the University of Southern Maine, where I started the Life Story Center after developing a methodology for life story interviewing, through my earlier books.

My recent books have focused on spiritual development, both personal and collective, with The Story of Our Time: From Duality to Interconnectedness to Oneness, a Nautilus Book Award winner in 2017, Mystic Journey: Getting to the Heart of Your Soul’s Story, and the just released Year of Living Deeply: A Memoir of 1969.

I grew up on eastern Long Island, NY, where the memoir starts out, and have traveled quite a lot, highlighted by my around-the-world Semester at Sea voyage as a faculty member in 2002. I’ve lived in Maine for over 30 years.

Continue reading

Worlds Within: An Album by Danny Stevenson

Danny Stevenson is a friend I met years ago in Namibia, and some of you may recognize him from his Baha’i Blog Studio Session recorded in the UK called “Crimson Ink”. It’s always great to hear when someone who’s participated in our Studio Sessions series goes on to record their first album, so I was excited when I heard that Danny has released Worlds Within, a devotional album inspired by the Baha’i Writings.

I wanted to find out more about the album and the inspiration behind it, so here’s what Danny shared with me: Continue reading

A is for Allah-u-Abha: A Children’s Alphabet Book by Andrea Hope

Andrea Hope is no stranger to the Baha’i Blog team! In the past, we interviewed her about her spoken word (you can read all about it here). Now she has taken her skills with words to create a book for young children called A is for Allah-u-Abha. Illustrated by Winda Mulyasari, this bright and bold book will help little ones learn spiritual qualities, Baha’i concepts and history such as equality, the Fast, and the station of Abdu’l-Baha as our exemplar.

Andrea lovingly shared how her picture book of poetry came together, the process involved, and what she’s working on now. Here’s our conversation:

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

I publish under the name Andrea Hope, which is my first and middle name. “Hope” comes from my great-grandmother, Virginia Hope Jones, who was the first Baha’i in our family and my spiritual guide. Growing up, I was always quite empathetic toward the plight of humanity. At age 11, I found my first solace in writing poetry with lines like, “If the world were full of blind men what a beautiful sight it would be … we’d be forced to feel, not see.” I remember wondering as a junior youth, “Why would God put me on this earth if there was nothing I could do about suffering?” The Baha’i Faith both relieved and empowered me. I have been working for some time to combine my passion for the arts and children’s education with the needs of the Faith. This has included developing children’s programs for holy days, organizing a theatre performance of the children’s book Rooth Sees a Trooth, creating Baha’i Holy Day memory cards, writing a poetry activity book called I Am & I Can, and now, publishing the picture book A is for Allah-u-Abha. Continue reading

The Ocean of Light International School in Tonga

The Baha’i Teachings stress the importance of universal education, and there are countless Baha’i Writings which emphasize the importance of education. Baha’u’llah Writes:

Arts, crafts and sciences uplift the world of being and are conductive to this exaltation. Knowledge is as wings to a man’s life, and a ladder for his ascent. Its acquisition is incumbent upon everyone.

Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.

It’s no wonder, therefore, that numerous educational institutions have been established by Baha’is around the world, and one of these establishments is a school called the “Ocean of Light International School”, located in the South Pacific nation of Tonga.

I caught up with Soheyla Bolouri, who along with her husband Sohrab, live in Tonga and have been serving on the school’s Board of Trustees since the school’s inception in 1996. Here’s what she had to say: Continue reading

Trust: The Music of Nasim Maani

I recently had the pleasure of catching up with a dear friend named Nasim Maani and her family at the 2019 ABS Conference which took place in Canada. Nasim is a dear friend from when I lived in New Zealand years ago, and although she’s not a professional musician by trade, over the years she decided to channel her passion for music and her passion for the Baha’i Faith into creating Baha’i-inspired music.

We’ve featured some of her music videos here on Baha’i Blog in the past, and I was excited to learn that in honor of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab this Baha’i year, she released two versions of a new song called “Trust” to commemorate this special occasion.

I decided to catch up with Nasim to find out more about this new song and her music in general: Continue reading