Unfortunately, the reality is very different: many young people in Iran today are being denied this right. They might have gotten the grades to pursue higher education – they might even be among the top students in the country. Yet, when they submit their application forms, they are told that their files are incomplete, that they do not fulfil the necessary entry requirements; in short: that they cannot attend higher education.
The reason why they are denied this basic human right, in spite of their academic ability, is that they are members of political opposition groups, human rights or women’s rights activists or members of religious minorities, such as the Bahá’ís. In the case of the Bahá’ís, even the community’s attempt to educate their youth by setting up the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) has been criminalised, and many of the educators supporting the project have been imprisoned.
The world, however, is not going to simply watch as many young people’s dreams of serving society are being destroyed, with the mere education of many young people being declared a crime in Iran. Continue reading →
The more time you spend online, the more you realize just how much content is out there. Social news sites like Reddit let users share and vote on links to help surface interesting content in a democratic manner.
If you’ve never been to Reddit before, it’s a bit of a nerdy blend of social news and community forums where you can go to different subreddits, which are sort of like channels, to find content you are interested in. Subreddits range from the mainstream to quirky and niche. Continue reading →
When race riots erupted in her high school, Layli Miller-Muro took what would be the first steps towards becoming a force for change in immigration and the laws protecting women and girls.
Her journey from being a self-described low performer at school to representing in the Matter of Kasinga, a high-profile case that set national precedent and revolutionized asylum law in the United States, is documented in a wonderful video interview that you can watch below.
Getting together to share prayers and writings from the Baha’i faith, other scriptures and enlightened souls, is a staple of Baha’i life. These devotional gatherings are one of our core activities and all Baha’is are encouraged to not only attend, but to host them.
There is no set format or formula for running a devotional, and they run the gamut from organized public events through to informal sharing of prayers and readings around a coffee table. And since there is no particular way that a devotional should be held, it’s open for creativity and inventiveness! Continue reading →
What Baha’i TV show has been running for over 12 years now and boasts over 200 episodes? “Baha’i On Air”, that’s what!
Since 1998, “Baha’i On Air” has been broadcasting every week in Auckland, on New Zealand’s community TV station. The show not only reaches Auckland’s population of one million people, but also broadcasts to the nation’s four million, and to other countries in the Pacific such as The Cook Islands, The Solomon Islands, and American Samoa.
Baha’i On Air is headed up by award winning Hollywood filmmaker Ken Zemke, who’s someone I’ve known and admired for a long time now and whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with on a couple of video projects over the years.
Ken has to be one of the hardest working people I know. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him without a camera in his hand, working on a project for the Faith.
I finally managed to catch up with Ken and asked him to talk to us about Baha’i On Air. Continue reading →
Over the years, I’ve lived in a lot of different Baha’i communities and every one is different. My current community is especially interesting to me because it’s quite tech-savvy. In particular, we use Google’s Apps services to organize a variety of administration and activity. So I thought I would share some ideas on how to do this for your own community.
As you may know, Google offers a ton of different free services beyond its core search engine product. There’s a whole suite of products which are useful to Baha’i community administration and organization. In particular Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Sites. Here’s how you can use them: Continue reading →
Attending church with my family as a child was for me, as a kid with the attention span of a fly, a weekly three-hour long ordeal. I remember sitting in the pews observing the same elaborate ceremonies every week and not understanding why we were doing any of it. I was not alone either. My friends, just as bored and disgruntled, would complain about the length and repetition of the rituals, challenging our parents to show us where in the bible Jesus makes mention of any these rituals.
Our parents would smile patiently and urge us to see the beauty in our traditions. It’s the way things have always been done, was the common refrain. Not at all a satisfactory answer for a child. Tradition for tradition’s sake! I would exclaim impatiently.
As an adult, however, I am finally able to look back at those very practices and see the beauty in each of those practices. As a child, I considered the solemn chants in Latin to be a earsore, but now, hearing those same chants help me feel more reverent. As a child, I used to make a point of coughing obnoxiously to make my distaste for incense known, but know I understand that incense represents an offering to God borne out of love and devotion. As a child, sitting through those long services each week were a test of my very will to live, but it is only now that I understand the theological significance behind the order of service.
I remember being intrigued, when I first became a Baha’i, by what then seemed like a complete lack of ritual in the Baha’i Faith. Our post last month, “What Christmas means to Baha’is” generated a lot of comments which have got me thinking about the Baha’i approach to rituals and tradition.
Thanks to the Kindle and iPad, paperless reading is becoming more and more common. Even without these devices it’s sometimes handy having an ebook on your laptop or PC. Thanks to Baha’i eBooks Publications you can get more than 70 Baha’i eBooks completely free in both ePub (iPad, iPhone, Android suitable) and Mobi (Kindle suitable) formats.
The project, which was started in late 2009 by a couple of Australians and an American, was created “to make the Bahá’í Writings more readily available to a world that is becoming ever more technologically advanced, by publishing them in formats that can be read on all electronic devices.”
Books available range from the Kitab-i-Aqdas to a compilation of the Ridvan messages from 1950 to 2011. There are even books in Spanish, German, French and Chinese – though the selections are much more limited at the moment.
Internationally, there is more attention being paid to the education and well-being of children and adolescents. Slowly, but surely, governments have started to realise that an investment in the youngest members of their countries is the best investment that they can make.
The other day, I was talking to a friend (we both work in fields related to children and community development) about a program for junior youth that we are both working on together. We sat together, sharing our ideas for the program, but as time passed, the conversation became more philosophical in nature, and we began talking about the nature of children and youth, the kind of educational and developmental experiences that they need, and the role of programs for children and youth in the broader efforts for social transformation.
Generally, I am – by far – the quieter of us two, but as I shared my views on the nature of children and youth, I found our usual roles to be reversed. There I was talking rapidly and gesticulating wildly while my friend sat quietly, listening intently and reflecting on what I was saying.
Prayer, meditation, reflection and reading of the Baha’i writings are all fundamental parts of our lives as Baha’is. They can be rich and powerful in experience, daily and habitual in action, and deeply contemplative by their nature.
This post is a small collection of photographs by Baha’is that helped me reflect on our relationship to the Word of God. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have, and are in awe of their creators as much as I am.