Category Archives Interviews

Arising To Serve: An Interview with Max Weigert

MAX WEIGERT 371x557While Max Weigert was volunteering at the Baha’i World Centre, he realized that there was so much talent amongst his fellow volunteers, that he thought it was a shame not to share it with the rest of the world. So he got together with a group of artists who wanted to put together a collaborative album of Baha’i prayers, Baha’i inspired music and Baha’i inspired poetry, and the result is Arising to Serve!

Arising to Serve is a seven track compilation album of Baha’i music and poetry that Max and his friends (including Andrea Hope, who we interviewed here on Baha’i Blog as well) put together. They not only want to showcase their art, but they want everyone to be able to use it as an inspiration and as a resource for your devotional gatherings, events and other activities. Best of all, it’s completely free!

I decided to catch up with Max to ask him a few questions about this wonderful service that he and his fellow artists put together. Continue reading

Persian Calligraphy with a Twist: The Works of Reza Mostmand

Reza Mostmand 864x575Reza Mostmand has been practicing and developing the art of Persian Calligraphy since he was a young student in Shiraz, Iran.

Years later while volunteering at the Baha’i World Centre in Israel as a Digital Imaging Restoration Specialist, he had the unique opportunity of being exposed to marvellous works of early masters of Persian calligraphy. This exposure to those historic pieces along with the teachings of the Baha’i Faith are his continuous source of inspiration and motivation.

Now based in Toronto, Canada, Reza works as a senior designer at 19gale, a design, web and multi-media agency which he co-founded over 3 years ago. But that hasn’t stopped Reza from putting ink to paper and continuing the tradition of Persian calligraphy while adding his own unique spin to the art form. His work has been featured in local exhibitions and conferences, and he offers calligraphy workshops for youth and adults where they explore the history of calligraphy through drama, and are taught the basic rules followed by hands-on practice.

I’ve been following Reza’s artwork for quite some time now, and I was finally able to corner him and ask him some questions about his wonderful art: Continue reading

EBBF: Ethical Business Building the Future – An Interview with Daniel Truran

Daniel Truran 2014 864x520

In 1990 a group of Baha’is active in business and management met up in Chamonix, France, to discuss their concerns about the decline of ethics and values in the business world. The result of this meeting was the creation of the ‘European Baha’i Business Forum’ [EBBF], a non-profit association aimed at promoting the moral and spiritual wisdom and principles found in the teachings of the Baha’i Faith and the great religious traditions of the world, such as the principles of justice, respect, trustworthiness, integrity and unity.

From its beginning, EBBF members have attached importance to sharing their broad experience, and now 25 years on, it has evolved into a global learning community of mindful people with members in over 50 countries, and now ‘EBBF’ stands for ‘Ethical Business Building the Future’. The organization continues to accompany individuals by connecting them to new ideas, tools and other individuals around the world who are exploring and learning, through action, how to contribute to a more prosperous, just and sustainable civilization through their daily work.

This year I’m super excited about the fact that I’ll be attending the annual EBBF conference being held between the 2nd and 5th of October in Barcelona, Spain, and so I decided to catch up with EBBF Director General Daniel Truran to find out more about this wonderful initiative: Continue reading

The Power of a Community Garden

In a town called Ranson in West Virginia of the United States, the Baha’i community has teamed up with Jefferson County Community Ministries and the City to create a community garden in order to make healthy food affordable for those on limited budgets, and to also strengthen the social fabric of the community.

The short video above explains this wonderful grassroots initiative, and I recently had the pleasure of meeting Bill Gregg while I was visiting the United States. Bill is one of the main participants in this initiative and he’s featured in the video – so I asked Bill a few questions about the community garden and the effects it’s been having: Continue reading

Dreams of Destiny in the Babi and Baha’i Faiths – An Interview with Dr. Amir Badiei

dreams of destiny 375x563Dreams of Destiny in the Babi and Baha’i Faith is a beautiful new book written by Dr. Amir Badiei and published by the US Baha’i Publishing Trust. It charts the history of the Babi and Baha’i Faiths by examining, in chronological order, over 100 dreams and it highlights the influences of each dream on the dreamer and on their respective time period. Abdu’l-Baha often cites dreams as proof of the existence of the soul and this book highlights the deeply personal and spiritual lives of many historical figures of the Faith.

What I love about Dr. Amir Badiei’s work is that he methodically takes the Writings and historical records and examines them from a completely different perspective, such as dreams or stories. You may have already read Dr. Amir Badiei’s work: Stories Told by Abdu’l-Baha is a compilation that was published in 2003. While there are many historical accounts of the Master, particularly during His travels to the West, this book focuses purely on the stories He told.

I was excited to hear about Dr. Badiei’s newest Baha’i publication and was thrilled when he agreed to be interviewed for Baha’i Blog. Continue reading

The New Era: An Interview with Walied Jassat

Walied Jassat
I absolutely love discovering new Baha’i-inspired music from different parts of the world, and I was thrilled to hear about a new album from South Africa called The New Era, produced by Walied Jassat – also known as ‘WaJa’ – who’s based in Johannesburg.

The New Era is a collaborative album featuring different musicians and singers who have been working with Walied Jassat over the last few years and all songs are either based on the Baha’i Writings or are Baha’i-inspired.

I caught up with Walied to find out more about this wonderful new album and initiative: Continue reading

Faizi – A New Book about the Life of Hand of the Cause Abu’l-Qásim Faizi

Faizi - May Faizi-Moore 360x549When I was about four years old a very special person visited our home in Papua New Guinea and met with the Baha’i community. I recall my parents being so enamoured with him, and like so many of the Baha’is who met him, they were taken by his wisdom, his humor and his humility.

The visitor was Hand of the Cause Abu’l-Qásim Faizi.

I was actually even named after his son Naysan, and my parents were just one example of the many Baha’is everywhere who loved him. I actually have a picture with Mr. Faizi from that time and I wish that I was older and could have known him, so whenever I would hear stories about him, I would listen attentively, so the moment I saw the release of a new book entitled Faizi by his daughter May Faizi-Moore, I bought a copy straight away!

I managed to get in touch with May Faizi-Moore to ask her some questions about this wonderful new biography about her father:
Continue reading

I have Returned to Thee: An Interview with Jamey Heath

Jamey Heath 864x444Once-in-a-while you meet someone who’s able to pick up any instrument and play it, and Jamey Heath is one of those extremely talented musicians, who can not only play just about everything, but who also has a beautiful voice – and boy can he sing!

I keep bumping into Jamey at different events and conferences throughout the years, and most often he’s behind a piano or with guitar in hand singing a song based on a Baha’i prayer or the Writings.

If you’ve seen the Baha’i How Are You episode of Soul Pancake’s ‘Have a little Faith’ series, well he’s in that. Yep, that’s him singing and playing the guitar in the gathering. Continue reading

Sifting the Dust: A New Book by Marjorie Tidman

sifting_the_dust 350x560Why does a just and loving God allow good people to suffer during their earthly existence?

This question is not just theoretical for Marjorie Tidman, the author of Sifting the Dust.

In the 1990s, she was the victim of an assault in her house by an intruder who stabbed her multiple times and came close to killing her.

Dr. Tidman is a psychologist who assists trauma victims. In her book, she takes readers into the world of a psychosis she developed as a result of the attack and then accompanies them out as she analyses the experience. Continue reading

World Citizen: Andrea Hope’s Spoken Word

Andrea Hope
If you’ve never heard of the lyrical medium of what’s known as ‘spoken word’, then in you’re in for a treat! Actually, even if you have heard of it, you’re still in for a treat!

Ladies and gentleman, please welcome to the stage ‘Andrea Hope’!

I first came across an example of Andrea’s spoken word from a video she posted on Youtube based on one of her tracks called ‘World Citizen’ (which I’ve included for everyone to watch further down in this post). According to the Portland Poetry Slam “Andrea journeyed to the center of the Earth and has brought back its heartbeat, carrying the delicate fire on her tongue.” Andrea is co-administrator of the Portland Poets Exchange and she dedicates her time off stage to social progress by teaching community children’s classes, biking in dresses, hosting couch surfers, teaching visual art to men in recovery, and hugging trees.

I got in touch with Andrea to find out more about her and the art of spoken word. Continue reading