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.
When I was visiting Toronto, I had pleasure of meeting Gordon Naylor, founder and principal of Nancy Campbell Academy, a Baha’i-inspired intermediate and secondary international school in the quaint small town of Stratford, Canada. It’s a small school with a big impact that aims to foster moral development alongside academic achievement and artistic exploration. Curious to find out more about the school, named after the Baha’i dancer Nancy Campbell, I sat down with Gordon to hear more about it: Continue reading
“Imagine a school where your teachers are your friends and mentors, looking for the best within you, and helping you see strengths within yourself that you may not have known were there…where helping you develop your character is as important as helping you develop your mind…where helping you be the best person you can be is as important to helping you be the smartest person you can be…a school that sees you essentially as a spiritual being, and nurtures the life of the spirit…”
That school exists, and it’s called Townshend International School.
Townshend International is a Baha’i-inspired school located in a town called Hluboka nad Vltavou in the south of the Czech Republic. It’s about a two hour train ride from the nation’s capital, Prague, and its students come from all over the world to attend. I’ve visited the school and I know many people who have studied there, and I have to say that everyone I know who’s attended Townshend International School can’t say enough good things about it, and how the school had a profound effect on both their spiritual and academic growth.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Vivek Williams, the School Director of Townshend, and I thought it would be great to ask him a few questions to find out more about this wonderful Baha’i-school and to share it with everyone: Continue reading