On 13 March 2015, Cyclone Pam hit the South Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu, killing 16 people and destroying thousands of homes. Tanna, an island in the south of Vanuatu and with a population of approximately 32,000, was one of the worst affected areas. Tanna island is also one of five locations where – as the Universal House of Justice announced in its 2012 Ridvan Message – a new local Baha’i House of Worship will be built.
Payman and Sima Rowhani, two Baha’is from Vanuatu, have shared the following wonderful account of their visit to the Baha’i friends in Nakayelo Village on Tanna Island, which we are reproducing on Baha’i Blog, with their permission.
While it is clear from their account that the people of Vanuatu are going through a difficult time, it also demonstrates the incredible courage and resilience of the people there. Continue reading
The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions is an organisation that aims to bring people of faith together to work for a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. Since 1993, the Council for a Parliament of World Religions has organised a total of four Parliaments which have been held in Chicago, Cape Town, Barcelona and Melbourne. The fifth Parliament will be held in 2015.
This video, created for the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions, beautifully encapsulates the vision behind this worldwide interfaith movement.
Here’s the first music video by the Johannesburg Baha’i Choir, directed by Neissan Alessandro Besharati and produced by Nicola Brescia.
Check out their website for more information and music!
Every year, on March 21st, Baha’is from all over the world celebrate the festival of Naw-Ruz, after nineteen days of fasting. Based on the Badi Calendar, Naw-Ruz is the first day of the Baha’i New Year.
Apart from being a time of joy and celebration, Naw-Ruz, which means “New Day”, also signifies renewal and change. Naw-Ruz, and the nineteen days leading up to it, are a period of deep spiritual significance for Baha’is.
We’ve compiled a list of 8 posts (from Baha’i Blog and some other sources) relating to Naw-Ruz that might help you better understand the significance of this Baha’i Holy Day.
We hope you find these articles useful.
A very happy Naw-Ruz to all our readers! Continue reading
Fast in a Day’ (2012) is a global attempt – created by Media Makes Us – to crowd source the feelings and emotions that surround the Baha’i fast, 2nd-20th March. All footage was generated from users of their online network and was filmed during the fasting period.
Fasting is considered a sacred act in many traditions and cultures, as well as abstaining from food and drink, it is a time of personal reflection, prayer and meditation.
The interplay of both the practical and mystical elements of the Baha’i Fast, make it an interesting subject to explore, by weaving together the experiences of individuals from around the world unique insights into this physical and spiritual journey have been captured.
You can follow Media Makes Us on their Facebook page.
Dr. Haleh Arbab presents a talk called “Learning to Read Social Reality in the Light of the Revelation” at the 2014 Association for Baha’i Studies North America Conference in Toronto, Canada.
A classroom in Battambang, Cambodia (Photo: Baha’i World Centre)
Education is a fundamental right to which every child is entitled. An education is fundamental to the development of individuals and their continued wellbeing. It allows individuals to realize their full human capacities and to live rich and meaningful lives. Beyond that, however, education also has the potential to shape entire communities. Continue reading
When I made the decision to become a Baha’i nearly five years ago, it was definitely a highlight in my spiritual journey. I’d always been interested in matters of spirituality and had been raised in a religious family by parents who placed our faith at the centre of individual and family life.
As such, the year leading up to my decision to become a Baha’i was marked by a period of intense exploration of the proofs of Baha’u’llah, a deep reflection on my personal beliefs and the application of His teachings in my own life. This period of independent investigation, which Baha’u’llah encourages us to undertake, was exhilarating and when I finally took the seemingly enormous step of calling myself a Baha’i, it was merely a personal affirmation of what I believed and an acceptance that Baha’u’llah’s teachings are divinely inspired.
It was the happiest and most challenging decision I’d ever made, but in hindsight I can see how that decision, rather than being a destination, was merely the beginning of an entirely new phase in my spiritual journey. Continue reading
Christmas is probably the time at which the theme of peace and goodwill seems to be most deeply embedded into society’s collective consciousness. For Christians, who celebrate it as a religious holiday, Christmas is a reminder of the biblical promise of peace found in the Old Testament.
For the many others who merely celebrate it as a cultural holiday, the story of the birth of Jesus as found in the gospels and depicted in the ubiquitous Christmas artwork captures the imagination and imbues many with a determination to practice charity and generosity.
The gospels tell the tale of the shepherds who were watching over their flocks out in the countryside, when an angel appeared to them bearing the good news of the birth of the Promised One.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone roundabout them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2: 8-14, The Holy Bible
Beyond this beautiful and enchanting narrative of peace and goodwill, however, comes the stark reality of what we see in our world.
When I first heard about Mama Papa & Me, I was excited for so many reasons. The education of children is a tremendously important duty in the Baha’i Faith. In fact, Abdu’l-Baha calls it “among the most meritorious acts of humankind”.
So when I found out that Mama Papa & Me focuses on education during the early years, which is now widely recognised among educators as being the crucial years in which the foundation for a person’s lifelong learning and wellbeing is formed, I was fascinated and wanted to know more about their Early Years Education Programme.
And then, when I discovered that Mama Papa & Me’s focus was not just on the early years, but also on helping parents and caregivers develop the capabilities they need as the first educators of their children, I definitely wanted to know more!
Serendipitiously, a family wedding brought me to London, which is where Danielle Pee, the amazingly talented founder of Mama Papa & Me, is currently based. And so I jumped on the opportunity to sit down with her and ask all my questions.
What started as a conversation about education, parenting and the work that Mama Papa & Me is doing ended up becoming a deeper conversation about capacity-building and the Baha’i approach to community development, as well as an illuminating discussion about what it means, in very practical terms, for Baha’is to attempt to contribute towards the advancement of civilization.
I gained so much from my conversation with Danielle, not just in terms of my own professional interest in education and community development, but also personally, as I listened to the story of her own inspiring journey and the many lessons she has learned along the way. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did! Continue reading