“It is not every day you have the chance to launch a book that takes us through a creative journey, the refining of a concept, how it turns it into a design and then into a building in the foothills of Santiago.” With those words, Ambassador Alejandro Marisio welcomed guests of the Embassy of Chile to his official residence in Ottawa, to celebrate the publication of a new book about the Baha’i Temple of South America.
The Stoney Nakoda First Nation west of Calgary, Alberta was host in May to a book launch for Equals and Partners: A Spiritual Journey Toward Reconciliation and Oneness, Wazin Îchinabi, a new memoir by southern Alberta author Patricia Verge. Wazin Îchinabi is the Stoney-Nakoda word for oneness.
From May 24-27, Baha’is from across Canada gathered at the Toronto Baha’i Centre for the annual Baha’i National Convention. The primary purpose of the Convention is to elect the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada, a nine-person consultative body that serves as the governing council for the Baha’is of Canada. The 171 delegates to the Convention are annually elected by voters in every Baha’i community, and all adult members of the Baha’i community are eligible for election to the National Assembly.
For the past six years, the first week of May has been marked by members of all federal political parties as “Iran Accountability Week”. The initiative was started by former Attorney General Irwin Cotler, a member of the Liberal Party, to hold Iran to account for incitement to genocide, among other threats presented to international peace and security. It has been supported by the other parties, and marked by annual hearings on human rights in Iran by the House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs sub-committee on international human rights.
On April 28th, a small group of youth came together at the Toronto Baha’i Centre to participate in a consultative process launched by the federal government to design a national youth policy. The process, open to every part of the country, encourages youth to engage their peers to generate ideas that can inform the efforts of the federal government.
Two members of the Baha’i community participated as delegates in the recent 62nd United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, held in New York from March 12 to 23, 2018. Mary Darling and Esther Maloney were part of a delegation of the Baha’i International Community’s United Nations Office.
The Baha’i Festival of Ridvan, celebrated this year from April 21-May 2, is a special time for Baha’is that marks the beginning of the religion in 1863.
Ridvan is a word from the Arabic language meaning ‘paradise’, a name that Baha’u’llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, gave to a beautiful garden located on the banks of the Tigris river. It was in this garden that he publicly announced his mission as a Manifestation of God, and the commemoration of Baha’u’llah’s time in the garden of Ridvan is a time of great significance and celebration for Baha’is across Canada.
Thanks to a Radio-Canada television series called “Deuxième chance” [Second Chance], two Bahá’í women from Saguenay, originally from Iran, had an emotional reunion with old friends they had not seen for thirty years or so. Through hard-to-believe accounts and reunions, the programme tells stories of immigration, assistance and mutual help, involving ordinary people.
Prof. Jeremy Webber, Dean of Law at the University of Victoria, looked out at a packed room. Government officials, Indigenous and religious leaders, students and academics, and members of the community had gathered for a symposium on reconciliation between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous people of the country.
The event sought to promote greater understanding about a fundamental question relating to reconciliation, raised by Prof. Webber in his opening remarks: “How should we approach engagement with religion and spirituality in the process of reconciliation?”
On March 21st, millions of people across the world will take another step in moving to the rhythms of a new calendar. In Canada, some 35,000 will be celebrating the Baha’i New year, called “Naw-Ruz”, with their friends and neighbours.
Many cultures with Indo-European roots mark the Spring Equinox with ancient traditions associated with the celebration of this time. In the Baha’i calendar, Naw-Ruz marks the beginning of the year.