Hanif on Media

News Media, New Media, Politics, Culture & Spiritual Perspectives from South Florida to Infinity.

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Baku posts on pause while I speak a bit

March 16th · No Comments · Azerbaijan, Baku, Organization of News Ombudsmen

A Caspian Sea and street view in Baku.

For those who have been asking, yes I plan to be back with more on my journey to Baku, Azerbaijan for the Organization of News Ombudsmen. Thanks for the encouragement. For now here’s the always informative Aaron in Azerbaijan with links underscoring the serious journalism concerns I heard there. Meanwhile I’m gearing to fulfill commitments made before I went. They include speaking engagements (increasingly with nice honoraria, for which I’m also thankful), that have picked up since the first of the year.

In January, for example, I was keynote speaker for the wonderful Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration organized by the outstanding Caribbean American for Community Involvement group in collaboration with the Village of Royal Palm Beach.

During CAFCI's MLK Day celebration...

...officers and committee members take a bow.

With CAFCI President Genieve White (L) and Cultural Exchange Committee Chairwoman Elet Cyrus.

Last month I was invited to share additional insight during Abbey Delray South’s series on Islam and Muslims, which featured the impeccable scholarship of John L. Esposito, Georgetown University professor of Religion and International Affairs.

Also last month, during the Interfaith Memorial Service hosted by the Palm Beach County Haiti Relief Coalition, I had the honor of sharing some thoughts along with fellow members of the Delray Beach Interfaith Clergy Association.

Haiti Interfaith Memorial Service photos courtesy of the Rev. Waymon T. Dixon.

Rabbi Howard Meridy.

Your correspondent.

With clergy and Haitian officials.

This month, there’s more. Tomorrow, thanks to an invitation to speak at Harbour’s Edge in Delray Beach, I Plan to cite University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole to debunk some inexcusable fallacies from New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.

On Thursday I’m due to share some of my own hajj experiences as the “Understanding Other Cultures” discussion group at the Delray Beach Public library entertains a book that I  recommended — Michael Wolfe’s 1,000 Roads to Mecca.

Next Thursday the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Palm Beaches, home of many dear friends, has me participating on a panel that is scheduled to address the subject of death and dying from various faith perspectives.

In between I’m due to serve on a panel regarding marriage during the Florida Conference of Muslim Americans’ regional conference in Miami.

Next month, our Interfaith Clergy Association of the Jewish Community Relations Council hosts our annual Institute Day, with me serving on another panel to help address the topic, “Promoting Civil Discourse in a Polarized Nation: People of Faith Respond.”

Meanwhile, since returning from Azerbaijan, I’ve been busy: last Thursday helping judge the 27th annual Pathfinder High School Scholarship Awards; and Saturday assisting with the annual Men’s Cookery scholarship fundraiser hosted by one of my dear wife’s social service groups, the Greater Palm Beaches Business and Professional Women’s Club.

Still, my buddy Chuck Keefer just told me over on FaceBook that I should write more. I’ve been working that in too; including over at Interfaith21, while also freelance writing and editing, picking up needed multimedia journalism skills and building a consultancy in this Internet age.

“Remember,” Chuck added, “the only content that is worth a damn is local.”

But there’s also something to be said for writing about what you care about. Which is why I plan to be back with more on Baku.

Outside a trendy Baku shop.

The constant contrast of modern and Soviet-era cars, in this case in Masalli in the country's southeast.

The Azerbaijanis consistently were warm and hospitable, as at this roadside stand between Masalli and Lenkeran.

Baku's ancient city wall.

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