Category Archives Interviews

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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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

A Deeper Calling – A Short Film Sharing Reflections on the Transformative Power of Prayer

I had the fortune of taking part in the 2022 World Conference which recently took place in Brisbane, Australia, and on the opening night of the conference, a short film was shown called A Deeper Calling: Reflections on the Transformative Power of Prayer. The film features five young people from Brisbane, and it shares their personal reflections of how prayer has affected their lives.

I found out that the film was created by my friend, Devina Saberi, who also happens to have taken part in some of our very first Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions (“Shine Ye” and “Sorrow Shall Pass“), and she agreed to publish the film on Baha’i Blog’s Youtube channel, and also answer some questions about the film. Here’s what she shared: Continue reading

The Last Ten Minutes – A Baha’i-Inspired Novel by Vered Ehsani

Vered Ehsani has penned a new novel inspired by quotations from the Baha’i Writings on the theme of death. I was very curious to hear more about this unique novel and how it came to be. Vered generously agreed to tell us about and here’s what she said:

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

I’ve been a writer since I could hold pen to paper, which is a lot longer than I care to admit. Originally from South Africa, I grew up in Canada, and have lived in Kenya with my family for the past two decades. I began my Bahaʼi journey in my early 20s.

Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us a little about your novel, The Last Ten Minutes?

Zain Fischer is experiencing a life review, although she doesn’t know it yet. She thinks she’s at the hospital for a routine medical check up. But there’s nothing routine about the waiting room which has a caged bird and a lot of closed doors. Each door leads to a specific memory. As she explores her past, she begins to see her behaviour and achievements from a different, otherworldly perspective. Her discoveries challenge her previous priorities and push her to reevaluate her beliefs about what makes life meaningful.

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The Universe Within – An Artistic Exploration Inspired by the Baha’i Writings

The Universe Within is a creative initiative that brings artists from diverse walks of life together to explore the pressing topics of our times by creating original art, animation, and music inspired by quotations from the Baha’i Writings. The creations thus far explore, for example, racism, the prison of self, and life after death.

The Universe Within is unique from other artistic expressions we’ve featured on Baha’i Blog previously and we were excited to hear from the team behind The Universe Within about the initiative. Here’s what they shared with us: Continue reading

What You Win – A Book of Stories for the Whole Family by Donna Price

Donna Rae Price has authored a book called What You Win: Stories for the Whole Family. The book features 16 short stories. From silly to serious, these hopeful tales are about walking your own path, finding friends, fighting everyday battles and the value of demonstrating good qualities and virtues. The stories are short, sweet and sure to capture the hearts of children who are contributing to the betterment of the world.

Donna generously agreed to tell us about herself, her book, and what she hopes you’ll take away with you once you’ve finished reading it:

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

I grew up in Northern California (USA), where I live with my family. My mom became a Baha’i when I was eight so I know what it’s like to go to school where no one has ever heard of your religion, or think it’s weird, or to fast during marching band in the heat, or to be quizzed by your friends’ parents. I can really relate to what many Baha’i children are facing.

I’ve been writing since childhood, but for the last 15 years I’ve been so fortunate to contribute to Brilliant Star Magazine. I get to work with a wildly talented and creative crew who are passionate about empowering children and youth. It’s a dream come true for me to have a job with so much camaraderie and hope for the future.

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Life’s Springtime – A Short Film Inspired by the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program

“Life’s Springtime” is a short film made by a group of friends involved with the junior youth activities in the Gold Coast, Australia. The film was premiered at the World Conference Gold Coast (1-3 April, 2022), one of hundreds of global gatherings called upon by the Universal House of Justice.

I was fortunate enough participate in this conference, and it was incredible to see the short film shared with everyone there and the way the crowd was moved. We just published the film on Baha’i Blog’s Youtube channel, and so I asked my friends who were behind the film, Aidan Ashford and Hyde Hassall, along with Leily Moghbelpour, who played the main character, to hear more from them about the whole experience. Here’s what they shared: Continue reading

Food, Farmer, and Community – A Compilation by Winnona Merritt

Winnona Merritt has put together a new compilation called Food, Farmer and Community: Agriculture and the Reconstruction of the World and it was recently released by the US Baha’i Publishing Trust. This comprehensive book gathers quotations from the sacred and authoritative texts of the Baha’i Faith as well as statements and documents from various Baha’i institutions and agencies in order to offer a wide-ranging contribution to the discourse on agriculture.

Agriculture and food production affects us all, every single one of us. I was very curious to hear from Winnona about her background, what inspired her to put together this compilation, and what she has learned along the way. Here’s what she shared with us: Continue reading

The Orb – A New Album by James Mohajer in Honour of Abdu’l-Baha

You may recognize the name James Mohajer, or perhaps you’re familiar with his voice! He participated in three Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions that were recorded in London: “O Thou Candle”, “Let Your Joy” and “Apple of Mine Eye”. We also interviewed him about his album Ascend (you can read that interview here on Baha’i Blog).

It’s a joy and a pleasure to hear from James again, this time about his latest album The Orb. Here’s what James said: Continue reading