Past Events

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Image by Jamie Street
Image by Behnam Norouzi
Image by Markus Winkler

YWE 2019

July 1 to July 22, 2019

The first installment of our workshop welcomed 9 participants, led by 2 facilitators. It covered ARTICLES, POETRY, and SHORT STORIES.

YWE 2020

June 28 to July 21, 2020

The second installment of our workshop welcomed 26 participants from 13 countries, and was led by 4 facilitators. It covered POETRY, COMICS, and SHORT STORIES.

The Family Fast Festival 2021

March 6 & March 13

This two-weekend event during the Baha'i Fasting season welcomed 20 youth and 13 of their families, along with 3 facilitators, to reflect on the significance of the Fast, the role of writing and the arts, and how we can build community.

YWE 2021

July 3 to July 26, 2021

The third installment of our workshop welcomed 33 participants from 13 countries, and was led by 4 facilitators. It covered ARTICLES, COMICS, and SCRIPTS.

Image by Choong Deng Xiang

The Family Fast Festival 2022

February 26 & March 12

This two-weekend event during the Baha'i Fasting season welcomed 15 youth and 7 of their families, along with 3 facilitators, to reflect on the significance of the Fast, the role of writing and the arts, and how we can build community.

 

2021 Collaborators

From advising the workshop development process, to advising participants, these friends volunteered their time to accompany YWE participants.

 
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Aaron Schmidt

Comic Author & Illustrator

Aaron Schmidt has been working in the field of animation, TV and film for over 19 years. Over the last 12 years Aaron has combined his love of art with his love of teaching. He taught animation at Mahidol University for 10 years. His most recent works include work on the short film “Prodigal” by director Tod Polson, 3D animation for a documentary on whale conservation in the Gulf of Thailand and production of a horror comic titled “Beasts and Children”.


Aaron feels the language of storytelling is one of the most powerful tools available to us humble humans. He is interested in storytelling in all its forms but is most passionate about visual storytelling.

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Liz Dwyer

Journalist

Liz Dwyer is a Los Angeles-based journalist, writer and editor with nearly 20 years of experience covering parenting, education, and social justice. Her work has appeared in national websites and print publications, including New York Magazine, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Ebony, Angeleno, and Good Housekeeping. She was previously the managing editor for Shondaland.com and prior to that worked as the education and culture editor for TakePart.com. Before her career in media, Liz taught third grade in Compton, California and worked in the educational nonprofit sector. In her spare time she volunteers in schools, spends time with her sons, and listens to Depeche Mode.

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Najee Brown

Playwright

Najee A. Brown can be described as nothing else than a young entrepreneur. After starting his media company, Mindlezz Thoughtz, in 2011 he has helped provide numerous resources to aspiring artists. In addition to running his own media and arts company, Najee Brown also produced his own music and has danced on every stage from the Apollo to Carnegie Hall. Most recently, Najee wrote and produced his play The Bus Stop, which sold out six times in New York City, and recently featured at the Seacoast Rep last summer. He co-wrote and directed the musical Glimmerings Of Hope, which premiered in New York City and toured Michigan in the spring of 2019. He also directed and choreographed the award-winning musical Henry Box Brown A Musical Journey, in Edinburgh Scotland in the summer or 2019. Brown oversees the “Sol,” series at Seacoast Repertory Theatre, which will focus on presenting Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color (BIPOC) narratives. Stokley and Martin and Nevaeh’s Brother, are his newest plays to premier at Seacoast Repertory Theatre.

 

2020 Collaborators

 

Aaron Schmidt

Comics facilitator, Featured comics artist

Aaron Schmidt has been working in the field of animation, TV and film for over 19 years. Over the last 12 years Aaron has combined his love of art with his love of teaching. He taught animation at Mahidol University for 10 years. His most recent works include work on the short film “Prodigal” by director Tod Polson, 3D animation for a documentary on whale conservation in the Gulf of Thailand and production of a horror comic titled “Beasts and Children”.


Aaron feels the language of storytelling is one of the most powerful tools available to us humble humans. He is interested in storytelling in all its forms but is most passionate about visual storytelling.

Noura Scoggin

Facilitator

Noura Scoggin recently got married to Raji Scoggin. They love to serve together and dedicate some of their time to building capacity in their younger friends. She has experience with slam poetry and performance poetry, which she used to do a lot back to when she lived in Germany. Now she is a first year Psychology student who wants to learn how to empower children and junior youth.

Noura joined the Young Writers' Endeavor this year and is excited to contribute to the building of a Bahá'í Art movement.

Raji Scoggin

Facilitator

Raji Scoggin is not only Noura's husband, but also a musician, artist and poet. As a psychology and music major, he has the wish to contribute to the betterment of the world both through his profession and as an artist. By supporting local junior youth empowerment programs and children's classes he has gained some experience and a great passion to serve the younger generation.

Raji has a strong belief in the power of art to inspire the higher nature in people and

is happy to support this initiative in order to contribute to "the dawning of a new era in art and literature".

Aaron Emmel

Featured writer

Aaron Emmel writes fiction all kinds, but he has a penchant for time travel, flying robots and international espionage. He also designs games, writes comic books and graphic novels and edits books and magazines. Aaron’s short stories have been featured in dozens of publications in print, digital and audio formats. With the artist and game designer Aaron Kreader, Aaron authored the historical fiction graphic novel Zanján and the science fiction gamebook series Midnight Legion. Aaron is also a prolific author of articles and essays. His most recent nonfiction book is Human Rights in an Advancing Civilization, which has been called “brilliant and thoroughly accessible.” Find him online at aaronemmel.com or on Twitter.

Tom Lysaght

Featured writer

Harvard graduate Tom Lysaght has written some thirty plays — published by Samuel French and produced Off-Broadway, on the main stage of the 1992 World Congress and in Andean villages of Peru (where he was Manager of Radio Bahá’í) with his El Teatro de Pan y Paz. In 2004-06, on behalf of the World Centre’s Office of Social and Economic Development, he made three trips to rural India to supplement the Institute Process with puppet theater, indigenous dance and story telling. His website, Social Drama/Sacred Space, serves as a resource for grassroots community building. A member of the Dramatists’ Guild, Lysaght has received some dozen writing fellowships. His historical novel, PERSIAN PASSION, was published in 2019. For 20 years he taught literature and writing at Brentwood School in Los Angeles, where he now lives.

June Perkins

Featured poet

Dr June Perkins is a multi-arts creative born to a Papua New Guinean Indigenous mother and Australian father. She was raised in Tasmania as a Bahá'i and combines poetry, blogging, photography, story and more to explore themes interesting her - peace, ecology, spirituality, cultural diversity, resilience and empowerment.  Her first full published poetry book  was Magic Fish Dreaming (2016). June's poems have been published in Nineteen Months, Tokens, Voices in the North, Under One Sky, Etchings, Cracks in the Canopy, World Order, Spooktacular Stories, Creative Kids Tales, Story Collection 2, Writing the Pacific, ABC Open, The Queensland Art Galley, Ridvan is Everywhere,  and Talking Ink from Ochre. Her most recent book, is Illuminations: 19 poems and 1 story,  and she is currently preparing a commissioned poetry performance for 'Panacea Poets' an online Queensland, Australia,  Poetry Festival project.  Visit her official website or her poetry blog, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn and Instagram!

Robert Malouf

Featured poet

"I live in Wisconsin with my beloved wife, Manijeh. The simple lines I write attempt to express those promptings of the soul that well up from time to time. They originate from unexpected but welcomed insights, reflection on the more profound aspects of life, or everyday experiences.

"Poetry has the power to take flight to the high heavens and beyond; turn to the earth of the familiar and caress her gently; then dive deep into the bowels of profundity. It is this quality of poetry that allows it to walk the shores and enter the seas of receptive hearts, therein to swim, plunge, and ultimately, dive for the coral and pearls of some deeper meaning. Poetry has the ability and power to express essence, beauty, love, and a host of other qualities. For this I continually strive. I hope someday to attain it."

Robert Malouf's official website can be found here.

Dana Panahi

Artist

Dana Shomeis Panahi designed the Young Writers' Endeavor badges at the end of every week.
With her art she tries to raise and move everyone's soul. Art has been part of her life since childhood, and through her family and her own  experience she learned to paint and draw. She also learned that art in all forms can have a spiritual impact and comes from the human soul. That is why she has the desire to encourage the spiritual development of children and youth, so that through each person's unique gemstones a better world can be created. Currently she supports children's classes and is learning about the community building process in a neighborhood in Germany, while studying Music-mediation and Educational Science in Cologne.