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The Icelandic Bahá'í Summer School 2019

Reykjaskóli í Hrútafirði

Reykjaskóli in Hrútafjörður


The Icelandic Bahá'í Summer School 2019 will be held at Reykjaskóli in Hrútafjörður from 19-23 June. Reykjaskóli is about 115 km north of Reykjavík. This year's main speaker will be Jóhanna Jochumsdóttir whose sessions will disucss various aspects of capacity building of individuals and communities. Other speakers are Louise Profeit-LeBlanc from Canada, Shamim Taherzadeh, also from Canada, and Matthildur Amalía Marvinsdóttir, Sandra Júlía Matthíasdóttir, Vigdís Rafnsdóttir og Viktor Wahid Ívarsson.

Registration is now open and the registration page can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/y4ehbs25

Last day to register is 6 June.

Rates for the Summer School can be found here (page two in in English): https://tinyurl.com/y3mtb7xy (ATTN! Updated rates now including option of staying in a tent or trailer)

Programme of the Summer School - PDF format.

Jóhanna Jochumsdóttir

Jóhanna Jochumsdóttir with her family

Jóhanna Jochumsdóttir with her family

Jóhanna Jochumsdóttir lives in Canada with her husband, Shamim Taherzadeh and their two children, Arían Helgi Faizi and Layla-Björt. Jóhanna is born and raised in Iceland and became a Bahá’í in Akureyri in 1993 while studying at Menntaskólinn á Akureyri High-School and attended firesides (introductory meetings) about the Bahá’í Faith at the home of Böðvar Jónsson and Elsa Benediktsdóttir.

In 1998 Jóhanna served at the Bahá’í World Centre at the time when the Ruhi Institute materials had just started being used in the capacity building process which the Universal House of Justice initiated in 1996. The concept of study circles was introduced to the Bahá’í World in 1998 and Jóhanna took an active part in discussion and deepenings on the various aspects and concepts of the institute process. In 1999-20047 she tutored the first courses in books 2-4 from the Ruhi Institute which were held in Iceland and various courses in books 1-7 in South-Africa and in Ireland where she served as an assistant of national training institute coordinators. In 2008-2014 she focused her energies on children’s classes for all children and taught a large group of children who attended school with Arían Helgi and Layla-Björt. In 2014 Jóhanna and her family moved to Ottawa, Canada, where she serves full time as institute coordinator in a very active cluster where about 1200 Bahá’ís live, 300 core activities are in operation and the Bahá’í community is actively learning about growth.

Jóhanna is a historian and has taught international and comparative history, modern history of Europe and gender- and women’s history in universities in South-Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom. She has also worked as a policy analyst for the Canadian government. In the last two years she has served the Bahá’í Community of Ottawa in a fulltime capacity.

Her sessions at the summer school will look at growth in the Baha'i community, and put it in context of the greater plans, as set out by ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, the Guardian and now the Universal House of Justice. In particular, she will share experiences of how communities around the world have implemented the guidance of the Universal House of Justice, and how this has brought about change.  Through a series of practical workshops and interactive discussions, she will help participants reflect and plan on how to further the process fo growth in their own communities in Iceland,  looking at how to establish children's classes, junior youth groups and study circles, and exploring in more depth the meaning of accompaniment and holding meaningful conversations. Her sessions will aim at the active participation of adults and youth.

Louise Profeit-LeBlanc

Louise Profeit-LeBlanc is a member of the Nacho Nyak Dän First Nation from the Yukon, in northern Canada.  She is a traditional storyteller/story keeper, writer, cultural arts advocate and educator and former Indigenous Arts Administrator.  Louise grew up in a small village of Mayo, in north eastern Yukon where people still carry out a subsistence lifestyle supplemented by their regular employment. Since a young child she has always been enmeshed in spiritual teachings. While still a junior-youth, she was able to recognize the teachings of Baha’u’llah as those which her Grandmother told her to search for- that which would bring about unity for the whole world. This was the prophesy of her people.


Bob LeBlanc and Louise Profeit-LeBlanc

Bob LeBlanc and Louise Profeit-LeBlanc

Louise has been a Bahai for 40 years and she like many Indigenous people in Canada, came into the Faith during the revolution in Iran, in 1979. Mayo was her home and once declared was immediately serving on the Local Spiritual Assembly in Mayo. As a single parent she moved to capital city of Whitehorse to further her education and although a very new Bahai she was asked to travel teach on the El Camino del Sol, throughout South America, organized by the Continental Board of Counsellors and the Universal House of Justice. She and 8 other Indigenous believers, representatives from Alaska, USA, & Canada travelled for two months to meet Indigenous Bahai’s in Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru. After her return she served on the LSA of Whitehorse until elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada in 1984. Fourteen years later she was asked to serve as Auxiliary Board member for Counsellors Jacqueline Left Hand Bull and Stephen Birkland in Southeast Alaska and the Yukon.

In 2002 she and her husband Bob and grandson, Alexander decided to pioneer to Quebec. They are still at their post in the small village of Wakefield, across the river from Ottawa, the Nation’s capital, It was from here that she commuted to work for almost 12 years as the Aboriginal Arts coordinator for the Canada Council for the Arts.

Since retiring in 2014, Louise has had much more time to develop her own artistic talents and utilizes these opportunities and abilities in order to promote the Bahai Faith. She does this through creating and developing textile arts which serve as interpretations for different aspects of the Bahai Faith including the following:


  1. Reconciliation Blanket
  2. Fasting decorative belts
  3. Bi-Centenary pieces, for the Báb and Baha’u’llah
  4. Painting of the Twin Birds of Paradise
  5. Community blanket, to raise awareness about the importance and role of women
  6. Funeral blankets for community grieving

Louise will be showing a slide show to demonstrate the effectiveness of art to open the door of the teachings through this lens. She has called this presentation “Beauty and Perfection in Everyday Life” to encourage others to develop their sense of creativity by what is available in our environment, following the practices of her own traditions of utilizing materials and resources which are continuously around us.  There will be ample time to discuss what & how these practices have enriched and educated those who wish to know more about the Bahai Faith.

Shamim Taherzadeh

Shamim Taherzadeh was born in Scotland and raised in Malawi, Africa, where the family took an active part in the work of the Bahá’í Community in Malawi. Shamim is married to Jóhanna Jochumsdóttir, the main speaker of the summer school and they have two children. He is a part of a task force that tends to funerals within the Bahá’í Community in Ottawa and takes and active part in encouraging all to learn the art of storytelling about the manifestations of God and the history of the Bahá’í Faith. His whole family takes part in children’s classes, animates junior youth groups and tutors study circles which meet in their home in Old Ottawa South in Ottawa. Shamim specializes in tutoring book 1.

Shamim is a medical doctor and has worked in Ireland, Iceland and the United Kingdom. He then moved to Canada where Shamim has worked full time as a general practitioner but also devoted much time to giving palliative care and promoted home care.

Shamim’s session will discuss the preparation of the spiritual process which the separation of body and soul is. The life of the soul is eternal and therefore it is important to prepare one’s exit from this world of matter by tending to the spiritual purpose which the Bahá’í writings tell us is the reason for our existence in this world. Apart from preparation of spiritual matters there are also practical matters which everyone needs to think about. In Western countries the age distribution is changing and the segment comprising seniors is getting proportionally larger. The Bahá’í Community is no exception from this fact and therefore it is important that Bahá’ís are ready to take necessary measures for their funeral and makes sure it is possible to follow the guidance and laws of the Faith in this respect.

Matthildur, Sandra Júlía, Victor Wahid and Vigdís

This group of Bahá’í youth will tell stories about the early heroes of the Faith, i.e. the time of the Báb. This year marks the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Báb, the forerunner of Bahá’u’lláh, with celebrations all around the world. The time of the Báb is characterised with dramatic events and heroic deeds by people ready to give everything for their beloved Leader, the Promised One.