Category Archives Interviews

Launching 200 New Personal Reflections on the Baha’i Faith in Honor of the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

The Baha’i Blog team is excited to announce that starting tomorrow, we’ll be launching another 200 portraits and personal reflections from people around the world as a part of our “Personal Reflections on the Baha’i Faith from Around the World” initiative, and this time it’s in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Birth of the Bab.

Baha’i Blog’s “Personal Reflections” initiative started last year to honor the bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, and approximately every 24 hours, we shared one of 200 photographs taken of Baha’is and their friends, each coupled with an extract taken from an interview about what the Baha’i Faith means to them personally, and how it has touched their lives. Continue reading

Educational Leadership – A Book Reflecting on 40 Years of Development Work in Guyana

In my travels I have had the privilege and honor of meeting incredible people who are doing incredible things in loving and humble ways. Brian O’Toole is one such person I recently met and I’m so grateful our paths crossed. Brian recently put out a book that offers some of his thoughts and honest reflections on the last four decades of development work that he’s been involved with in Guyana, where he has pioneered with his wife. The book is called Educational Leadership: A Guyanese Perspective, and I decided to ask Brian about his book and his work and here’s what Brian had to say:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little bit about the book? What’s it all about?

We have now been 40 years in Guyana having left the UK as a young married couple. Guyana has proven to be a very receptive country to the Faith with Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism well established in the country. By the early 1980s, Guyana had more than 7% of the population as declared Baha’is. My thinking was: if a significant percentage of the population embraces the Faith and nothing seems to change then what is the point? This led us to introduce a number of development projects in literacy, youth leadership, disability and education to see what it means to try and put the principles of the Faith into practice. The book is a reflection on these efforts.

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A Resource Website for Studying the ‘One Common Faith’ Document

Shahin Sobhani and a team of friends have put together a fantastic website for anyone who would like to study One Common Faith, a document released by the Universal House of Justice about unity and the role of religion in today’s societies.

It’s always useful and exciting when study materials are created to help us study Writings, guidance and letters from the Universal House of Justice (here is a short list of other materials you can find online to help you in your studies of the Baha’i Faith). Shahin and his friends took the initiative to create a website, onecommonfaith.net, dedicated to this profound document and I was eager to learn more about it. Here’s what Shahin shared with me:  Continue reading

Papua New Guinea Baha’i House of Worship: An Interview with the Architects

I grew up in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and it holds a special place in my heart. I was especially excited when the design of its Baha’i House of Worship was revealed several months ago, and you can read a news story all about the design here

This House of Worship will be one of two national Baha’i Houses of Worship (also often referred to as temples) to be constructed in the world in the coming years, signifying a new milestone for the Baha’i world community.

Henry Lape (left) and Saeed Granfar, Architects of the National Baha’i House of Worship of Papua New Guinea.

It’s incredible to see the uniqueness of the Houses of Worship around the world, and Papua New Guinea’s temple is no exception: it is unlike all the others, yet it is faithful to its surroundings.

Henry Lape and Saeed Granfar are the collaborating architects behind the temple’s stunning design, and I was so excited when these two dear friends agreed to chat with us about the temple. Here’s what they had to say:  Continue reading

Cloud9: A New Podcast Exploring the Baha’i Faith Through the Eyes of Artists

Our friends at Bahaiteachings.org have recently started a podcast called “Cloud9”, which shines a light on the artistry and creative process of artists around the world.

The host of the series is Shadi Toloui-Wallace, the Arts Editor of BahaiTeachings.org and an incredible artist in her own right. We’ve interviewed Shadi before about her music (such as her most recent album, Daughters of the Kingdom), and she was also a guest on the Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson. This time we wanted to hear more about Cloud9 and Shadi graciously obliged, so here’s what she shared with us:  Continue reading

Starting with Me: A Guidebook for Anyone Interested in Finding a Partner

A new resource for anyone thinking about finding a marriage partner is hot off the presses! Susanne Alexander, Johanna Merritt Wu, and Jeremy Lambshead teamed up to write a book called Starting with Me: Knowing Myself Before Finding a Partner. Its tagline is “9 transformative steps based on the Baha’i Faith’s teachings about relationships and marriage”. This fantastic book is inspired by the Baha’i Writings and draws on the authors’ collective experience as a marriage and relationship educator, psychologist, and writer respectively.

Susanne, Johanna, and Jeremy were happy to tell us how their book came together. Here’s what they shared with us:


Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to put this book together?

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Our Seven Families – A Book About Interwoven Social Worlds

In Our Seven FamiliesElaine McCreary describes invisible human worlds so clearly that you can see them for yourself. She does this with an easy-flowing narrative through scholarly content in a manner described by Dr. Janet Khan in the book’s forward:

Drawing on her experience as a social scientist and on insights derived from a deep study of the Baha’i Sacred Writings, Elaine McCreary offers a fresh perspective on human affairs, revealing new hope and opportunities for action.

This book strikes me as unique, not only in the content it offers, but also in the way it is structured as it moves through seven different worlds that we all live in. Doesn’t that sound fascinating? Elaine agreed to tell us all about her new book, what it explores and how she presents her ideas!

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

From earliest childhood I was aware of the reality of God, at first as Jesus, then as the presence of a Holy Spirit that was something beyond the Person of Jesus. This conviction about spiritual reality never left me, but as a young adult I stepped out to find God elsewhere and practiced a refined form of Raj Yoga (hatha, bhakti, jnana, and karma yogas) for 19 years, accepting Lord Krishna as an avatar in the same station as Lord Jesus, before finally accepting Baha’u’llah at the age of 42. A complete reading of Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah convinced me that He is indeed the Lord of the Age and His Revelation has indeed unveiled a completely new perception of the world.

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Dreamer’s Sea: A Debut Album by Calla Kinglit

Many of you may have seen or heard of Calla Kinglit from her song on Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions called “No One But Thee” which actually happens to be the most popular song of our Studio Sessions series! Lots of people have been asking her for more in the comments section, and so here it is! I’m thrilled that Calla Kinglit’s debut album, called Dreamer’s Sea, is now available and it includes the studio version of “No One But Thee” as well.

I decided to catch up with Calla to find out more about her and her music, and her debut album:  Continue reading

An Interview with Jean Parker, Host of EBBF’s Podcast Series ‘Discovering How’

My friend Jean Parker is always in the midst of an exciting creative endeavour! She’s currently working on a book about constructive resilience and community economic enterprise, but one project that she recently completed is a podcast series called “Discovering How” for our friends at EBBF. EBBF stands for “Ethical Business Building the Future” and Jean was the host of its podcast series, skillfully curating and weaving together conversations that offer you stepping stones, fresh ideas, and the personal learnings of people who believe that ethical business can and should build the future. There are 17 episodes in all, and I was interviewed for the series, but I thought it was time to turn the microphone around and ask Jean to tell us more about herself and “Discovering How”. I hope you enjoy our conversation – and the podcasts!  Continue reading

The Fashioner: A Book Exploring the Role of the Arts in Building Community

It’s interesting to see Baha’i-inspired book publishing flourishing and covering a wider and wider array of subjects and genres for a growing diversity of audiences. Jenina Lepard, for example, just released a book titled The Fashioner: Reflections on the Role of Music and the Arts in Building a Global Community with a suitably vibrant and eye-catching cover by Misha Blaise  — I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover but I totally do when the cover is something I can’t stop looking at!

The Fashioner explores the various ways in which the arts can touch people’s lives by drawing on quotations from the Baha’i Writings, as well as concrete examples of the transformative power of the arts. Jenina discusses a variety of art forms, she looks at the way in which Baha’i artists have applied principles of the Faith to their art, and she shares the ways in which the arts can be used to inspire and enhance core activities.

This is subject close to my heart as Baha’i Blog aims to create, celebrate and explore Baha’i-inspired content, artistic expression and use of media. I was thrilled when Jenina agreed to tell us a little about her book. Here’s what she shared:  Continue reading