Welcome!

A young

On this site, you can read my published research and journalism. You can also explore a culinary project inspired by my Persian heritage called Katayoon’s Kitchen. To learn about who I am, please visit About Layli or peruse the blog.

Questions or comments? Please reach out!


Nature’s beauty has always nourished my spirit and inspired my creative work. The banner image is from my painting “Forest Meditation” (gouache on board).


Most recent publications:

Six Years

Reading through the archives of this blog, which I started in 2013 to document my life in Haifa, Israel, I am struck by the changing of life phases. My commitments were few when I arrived in Haifa fresh out of college—no spouse, no career. The job I held there, a secretarial position that mostly entailed…

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A young man stands in front of a snow-covered house.

Neighbors Become Cherished Friends in Western Michigan

In western Michigan, two very different locales just 30 miles apart illustrate the possibilities of outreach to neighbors. Grand Rapids is a bustling city with a million people in its metropolitan area. To the west, Grand Haven is a picturesque town on the shore of Lake Michigan. In both these “grand” places, Baha’is are working…

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A couple poses in front of a Baha'i temple.

Alabama Couple with Deep Church Roots Finds Inspiration in Baha’i Teachings

In 2016, Jennie Colbert-Kennedy and Dennis Kennedy celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. That was also the year that they became Baha’is. The spiritual journey that ultimately led this loving couple to embrace the Baha’i Faith began in their childhoods, when they attended Baptist churches in Augusta, Georgia, one of which was a church Jennie’s great-great-grandfather…

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Three teenagers study together in a conference room.

Teens Mentor Fellow Teens, Who Mentor Kids in Turn in NC

“As a youth, it’s very impactful to be able to feel that you’re doing something good,” says Issa Masumbuko, a high school student in Durham, North Carolina. “It’s kind of like we’re being held back by society, but when we’re given the opportunity to contribute, we start to see our importance in the world.”

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