The Baha’i World Centre has announced the release of three new short films, companion pieces to A Widening Embrace, an innovative documentary film commissioned by the Universal House of Justice about the community-building efforts of the Baha’i world, as seen through the eyes of local populations. The three films are titled Nurturing Younger Generation, Exploring the Empowerment of Junior Youth, and Communities Learning to Advance Together. Their total running time is approximately 32 minutes. Continue reading
Amidst the outpouring of creativity inspired by the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah is a new book for children by Melissa Charepoo all about the life of Baha’u’llah. You may remember her from her colourful children’s books for Ayyam-i-Ha, the Fast and Naw-Ruz. In this new 72-page book filled with elegant drawings, Melissa chronologically outlines the events of Baha’u’llah’s life from His Birth to His Ascension through short stories and explanations of Baha’i concepts. The book also includes a family tree, a timeline, maps, and a glossary. It’s a fantastic and beautiful resource! Continue reading
You may be familiar with John Hatcher’s work. He is a seasoned and prolific writer with many Baha’i publications to his name. They range from books of poetry — both works of poetry penned by himself or about the poetry of Tahirih — to philosophical and theological treatises like From Sin to Salvation: The Ascent of the Soul, The Purpose of Physical Reality, and One Reality: The Harmony of Science and Religion. He has also written for junior youth, such as Ali’s Dream: The Story of Baha’u’llah, and its recently published sequel Healing Hasan’s Heart.
I was happy when John agreed to tell us about his new novel for junior youth, the ideas behind it, and his profession as a writer of Baha’i books.
Baha’i Blog: Thanks, John, for speaking to us! For those who may not know you, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your work as a writer. Continue reading
(Photo courtesy: Baha'i World Centre)
In the Baha’i Faith, education is extremely important, and the Baha’i Writings explore and honour the noble station of the teacher, particularly in relation to the education of children. It is in this exchange between the learner and the teacher that education takes on meaning. Continue reading
The period of junior youth is one of transition and discovery. No longer children and not yet youth, those in this age group are searching for their identity and yearning for a sense of purpose. The Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program material plays a vital role in assisting these adolescents as they develop a concept of service and discover their place in society. According to the Universal House of Justice, these books “…assist junior youth to navigate through a crucial stage of their lives and to become empowered to direct their energies toward the advancement of civilization.”
The Discovery series of books, written by Scottish author Jacqueline Mehrabi, acts as the perfect complement to the Junior Youth material. The trilogy has been developed to prepare junior youth for the spiritual obligations that come with reaffirming their Faith in Baha’u’llah – using storytelling to familiarise the readers with certain laws and ordinances including fasting and obligatory prayer. We spoke to Jackie about her latest works and what she hopes the books achieve. Continue reading
Participants of a Study Circle in Battambang, Cambodia (Photo: Baha'i World Centre)
The word “accompaniment” has become a quintessential part of Baha’i “jargon”. As the Universal House of Justice wrote in their 2010 Ridvan Message, “the growing frequency with which the word ‘accompany’ appears in conversations among the friends” is in fact a sign of the evolution of a collective consciousness emerging among the Friends. Accompaniment is, as the House writes, “a word that is being endowed with new meaning as it is integrated into the common vocabulary of the Baha’i community” and signifies no less than the strengthening of a culture that fosters the participation of more and more people in a united effort to apply Baha’u’llah’s teachings to the construction of a divine civilization.
Accompaniment, like everything in the Baha’i Faith, is a concept that needs to be translated into action if it is to have any effect in achieving the vision described by Baha’u’llah and laid out by the Universal House of Justice.
What then can accompaniment look like as we advance from merely talking about it to carrying it out? Continue reading
Best known for being one half of the Baha’i hip-hop and RnB duo Nabil & Karim, Canadian-based rapper and producer Karim Rushdy has released a new solo album containing 14 tracks that are sure to get you talking about positive change in the world!
Karim introduces his new album by saying:
It is inevitable that life will throw challenges our way. what’s important is how we chose to deal with our struggle – whatever that may be. I believe that we are all noble beings with infinite potential, we just get bogged down by so many distractions that it sometimes feels impossible to change. This album attempts to capture those trans-formative moments where hopelessness becomes courage, and a pebble becomes a pearl. My hope is that by listening to this, you will be reminded of what you struggle with, yet be inspired by the greatness that you inherently possess to rise above whatever situation you’re in and Reach Out to help someone else in need.
I decided to catch up with Karim and ask him a few more questions about his new album Reach Out: Continue reading
One of the interesting features of the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program (JYSEP) is the fact that the arts are used to explore the various concepts presented in the series of books the particpants go through. While the use of the arts is something which happens organically and the participants themselves are encouraged to come up with artistic ways and ideas to explore these concepts, sometimes sharing ideas of activities can help to get things going.
So if you’ve got a junior youth group and are looking for some more ideas of activities to help you jump-start those creative engines, here are three ideas we’ve used with our junior youth groups which are a lot of fun and may help! Continue reading
The Baha’i World Centre has just released a series of 11 short videos commissioned by the Universal House of Justice which are collectively called To Serve Humanity.
The Baha’i World News Service (BWNS) explained that “To Serve Humanity explores, through the diverse voices of a few of the 80,000 young people who participated in the 114 gatherings, the ways in which young people can contribute to the spiritual and material well-being of their communities. As the young participants articulate insights on themes covered at each conference, what it means for their generation to be dedicated to the service of humanity is brought to life. Continue reading
UNICEF's State of the World's Children 2011 Report
Every year, UNICEF publishes it’s flagship report “State of the World’s Children”. This report – read by thousands of people in governments, the United Nations, the media and the general public – typically examines a key issue affecting the welfare of children and strongly influences policy-makers and practitioners working in the field of children’s rights around the world.
So, it is exciting to see how policy-making at both the national and international levels will respond to the bold statement underlying the entire report: Young people, truly, can change the world.
The report , titled “Adolescence – An age of opportunity”, begins to question many of the assumptions that have been made about adolescents by society and implores policy-makers to recognise both the incredibly vulnerability of adolescents, where investments into their well-being and development have not been made, as well as the tremendous capacity of these very same individuals, where those investments have been made. (Download the State of the World’s Children 2011 report or watch the UNICEF video summaring the report.)