Junior Youth Animator Resource Website

Animator Ideas is a resource website for animators of Bahá’í junior youth groups.  It covers suggestions on how to get your Junior Youth group up and running as quickly as possible, lots of ideas on extra activities while using the Junior Youth books, working with parents, ideas to promote discipline, and much more!

“Among the young ones in the community are those known as junior youth… Creative attention must be devoted to involving them in programmes of activity that will engage their interests, mould their capacities for teaching and service, and involve them in social interaction with older youth. The employment of the arts in various forms can be of great value in such activity.”

– The Universal House of Justice, 2000
Check it out and spread the word – it’s an amazing resource for animators.

11 July = Baha’i Rights Day/ 11 juli = Baha’i Rechtendag

For everything there is a sign. The sign of love is fortitude under My decree and patience under My trials.

The above Arabic Hidden Word illustrates what is needed. Today is Baha’i Rights Day. A day in which we focus our attention, ever so briefly, on the denial of basic human rights to Baha’is in Iran.

I could try and write so much more, but even my best efforts wouldn’t be nearly as informative and eloquent as checking out the website of Iran Press Watch for the latest updates and reading the article written by Sherie Blair.

For everything there is a sign. The sign of love is fortitude under My decree and patience under My trials.

G8 summit & CSD-17 result?

Just wondering if discussions at the G8 summit about agriculture & food production and the request for more investment in agricultural production in developing countries are related to the outcomes of the CSD-17 negotiations…. I sure hope so!

Below is part of the article of today’s BBC website:

G8 summit to tackle food supplies

President Obama at G8 summit

President Barack Obama is travelling to Africa later on Friday

Leaders of the G8 developed nations are to unveil new efforts to boost food supplies to the hungry, during the final day of their summit in Italy.

They are expected to commit as much as $15bn (£9.2bn) to efforts to help poor nations develop their own agriculture.

On Friday, the summit in the Italian city of L’Aquila is turning to the issue of food security.

BBC economics correspondent Andrew Walker says the idea is to put more emphasis on helping people feed themselves.

0630 GMT – impact of economic crisis on Africa, African leaders attending
0830 GMT – food security
1100 GMT – final news conference
G8 members: Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, US

That is to be achieved with more investment in the agriculture of developing countries, and the G8 nations – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US – are expected to pledge significant resources, our correspondent adds.

However, World Bank President Robert Zoellick, who is at the summit, emphasised that food aid would still be necessary.

Political breakdowns and weather problems will disrupt supplies, he said, but he is keen to see more effort made to develop the farming sector.

Kanaya Nwanze, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, told the BBC that he welcomed the expected announcement of more investment in agricultural development in the developing world.

“It is time for us to switch because food security is not just food aid,” he said. “It is the ability of people to produce food locally and for them to be able to have access to local markets.”

I couldn’t agree more.

In His Tablets (p.90), Baha’u’llah says:

Special regard must be paid to agriculture. Although it hath been mentioned in the fifth place, unquestionably it precedeth the others. Agriculture is highly developed in foreign lands, however in Persia it hath so far been grievously neglected. It is hoped that His Majesty the Shah — may God assist him by His grace — will turn his attention to this vital and important matter.

Tynedale UNA

UNA stands for United Nations Association and today I met the secretary of the Tynedale branch. Interesting chat about their activities and I’ll go to their next committee meeting in August. I’ve offered to talk about my experiences at the UN’s Commission on Sustainable Development in 2008 and 2009, so I’ll see if they take me up on my offer.

Back home I did a quick search on Ocean for references to the UN and its predecessor the League of Nations. Plenty of references of course, including:

For example, the question of Universal Peace, about which His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh says that the Supreme Tribunal must be established; although the League of Nations has been brought into existence, yet it is incapable of establishing Universal Peace. But the Supreme Tribunal which His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh has described will fulfill this sacred task with the utmost might and power. And his plan is this: that the national assemblies of each country and nation — that is to say, their parliaments — should elect two or three persons who are the choicest men of that nation, and are well informed concerning international laws and the relations between governments and aware of the essential needs of the world of humanity in this day. The number of these representatives should be in proportion to the number of inhabitants of that country. The election of these souls who are chosen by the national assembly — that is, the parliament — must be confirmed by the upper house, the congress and the cabinet and also by the president or monarch so that these persons may be the elected  33  ones of all the nation and the government. From among these people the members of the Supreme Tribunal will be elected, and all mankind will thus have a share therein, for every one of these delegates is fully representative of his nation. When the Supreme Tribunal gives a ruling on any international question, either unanimously or by majority rule, there will no longer be any pretext for the plaintiff or ground of objection for the defendant. In case any of the governments or nations, in the execution of the irrefutable decision of the Supreme Tribunal, be negligent or dilatory, the rest of the nations will rise up against it, because all the governments and nations of the world are the supporters of this Supreme Tribunal. Consider what a firm foundation this is! But by a limited and restricted League the purpose will not be realized as it ought and should. This is the truth about the situation which has been stated…

(Abdu’l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 32)

And from a document by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the USA :
“Since the inception of the League of Nations in 1920 and later of the United Nations in 1945, the Bahá’í community has consistently supported initiatives that create international instruments indispensable for the ultimate emergence of a new world order. Before supporting any initiative of the United Nations, the National Spiritual Assembly receives the guidance and permission of the Universal House of Justice.

During the last decade, the National Assembly has supported the ratification of various human rights treaties, including the U.N. convention against genocide, the U.N. convention against torture, the international covenant on civil and political rights, the U.N. convention on the elimination of race discrimination; and will continue to support the U.N. convention on the rights of women and the U.N. convention on the rights of the child. The National Spiritual Assembly is under no illusion as to the present-day effectiveness of the United Nations system but knows that it is a welcome step in the direction of world unity.

The organizations of civil society have had a tremendous impact in the international arena in recent years, especially through the several recent United Nations global conferences. In fact, non-governmental organizations are frequently the agents of change in government policy and action. The Bahá’ís will continue to collaborate with other groups interested in issues of concern to Bahá’í institutions such as human rights, the status of women and global prosperity.”

Ah, how much I look forward to working again with the Baha’i International Community in the future.


“Play me I’m yours” fun with many thanks to Luke Jerram!

'Play me I'm yours' at Pebbles in Allendale.

'Play me I'm yours' at Pebbles in Allendale.

31 pianos : 30 in London & 1 in Allendale

“Play Me I’m Yours” – street pianos

Touring the globe since March 2008, Luke Jerram’s artwork ‘Play Me I’m Yours’ is a public art installation where pianos are located in public spaces, squares, train stations, bus stops, even on ferries, and pianos are set to be placed all around London for anyone to play or decorate.

Luke’s project –  backed by Boris Johnson (mayor of London) and by the National Lottery – 30 pianos are to be plonked around the capital to encourage people to gather for a singsong with strangers. And yes, that 1 other piano is located in my village in Northumberland!

Inspired by Luke’s lively work the Pebbles team phoned Boris Johnsons office and Luke to ask if Allendale could take part, connecting communities, and they agreed it would make a wonderful project. The Pebbles team have placed a ‘Play Me I’m Yours’ Piano outside Pebbles Gallery in Allendale’s main street and from the 4th July you are invited to play whenever you like, while a number of free summer events take place. Artists are invited to help decorate the piano and sign it so after the event is over the piano will be kindly auctioned by the Allendale Lions to raise funds for the new Allendale Art & Media Centre that the community are developing.

Isn’t this a great village to live in?! It’s utterly amazing what Pebbles brings to this community. I’m very blessed to live in such an active & artistic village.

And as the Baha’i Writings (p. 410, Lights of Guidance) say:

“…The art of music is divine and effective. It is the food of the soul and spirit. Through the power of music the spirit of man is uplifted. We have made music a ladder by which souls may ascend to the realm on high.”

9 July – Baha’i Rights Day/ Baha’i Rechtendag

I’m reposting this from the website of the Muslim Network for Baha’i Rights:

“For many months, we have been thinking about creating a day in which everyone can become aware of Baha’i human rights abuses. We approached our friends at Iran Press Watch with the idea and we agreed upon July 9th (Martyrdom of the Bab) in order to mark Baha’i Rights Day, a day dedicated to support the human rights for members of the Baha’i faith.

We are working on developing content and more ideas to make this day as influential and effective as possible, however this is impossible without your help and participation.

How you can help:

  • Please inform your friends, family and colleagues that on July 9 they should tweet, blog, Facebook or create any material in support of Baha’i human rights everywhere, specifically in Iran where Baha’is have been severely persecuted against for the past 30 years.
  • Please use your influence to try and get as many journalists as possible to formally recognize this day and write about Baha’is in Iran or the remaining struggles of Baha’is in Egypt and other countries.
  • Please contact other bloggers and request that they dedicate at least that single day (July 9th) to write about Baha’is and their rights.
  • Please tweet about it consistently on July 9 and use the #BahaiRights hashtag in order for people to locate. The idea is to make #BahaiRights a top trend on July 9th.
  • If you are an artist, a website designer, a musician, or anyone with creative skills please create material in honor of this day and in the name of all the Baha’i victims around the world who suffered persecution and violent discrimination for decades.
  • Finally, you do not have to be a Baha’i to participate! Please make others aware of that. It does mean something that this day was created primarily by non-Baha’is who would like other non-Baha’is (especially Muslims) to recognize and act upon the abuse taking place in our name.
  • We rely on people like you to help make this day possible, despite the short notice. Please start spreading the word as much as possible through all your networks and mailing lists and let’s achieve this worldwide Baha’i Rights Day where we all unite regardless of our race or religion to support Baha’is everywhere!

    Thank you.”