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COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 1 The Imperative to Come Together to Work Together in Hamazori on Common Issues/Challenges/Projects Original homeland.

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Presentation on theme: "COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 1 The Imperative to Come Together to Work Together in Hamazori on Common Issues/Challenges/Projects Original homeland."— Presentation transcript:

1 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 1 The Imperative to Come Together to Work Together in Hamazori on Common Issues/Challenges/Projects Original homeland - Iran For a 1000 years, first diaspora in India Past century - second diaspora around the world 50 years ago, we were oceans away, but today, with globalization and the miracle of the Internet, we are as close as the click of a mouse. Today, we are a worldwide Community Without Borders. We are blessed with a remarkable bonding. While each group has local challenges, we share many common challenges at a national and global level. We can accomplish more by working together. There is strength in Togetherness (e.g. the teaching of the Barsom). Hamazori is our fundamental teaching: Hamazor, Hama Asho Bed -- May we be one in strength, May we be righteous. Hence the imperative to identify common issues/challenges/projects and Come Together to Work Together in Hamazori

2 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY 2 VISION and MISSION Vision supported by all present: To nurture a caring, compassionate, harmonious, altruistic, observant, esteemed and prosperous community Mission supported by all present: To come together and work together in Hamazori for the Zarathushti and Global communities

3 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 3 ISSUES/CHALLENGES/PROJECTS - London 2005 Full categorized list, generated by Organizational and Regional Representatives at Round Table during World Congress in London I. Connecting Zoroastrians - Networking –Developing an Infrastructure 1.Diaspora in grave isolation (S. Africa) 2.Build a global database. Encourage youth to communicate with each other globally (S. Africa) 3.Need for Z. Leaders to visit Africas isolated diaspora (S. Africa) 4.Continue on-going discussions for global cooperation (NZ-ZANZ) 5.Form a network of like-minded individuals & associations (NZ - TMZANZ) 6.Formation of 'all-Australia federation' will help bring Australian states closer (Australia) 7.Need for a united global front (Australia - NSW) 8.Identify world administrative body ( Iran) 9.Cannot have Associations or organizations (Middle East/Iran) 10.Need for an Apex body to provide leadership and dialog with the government, and provide help to Iran (Iran) 11.Exchange of priests (Iran) 12.Connect Iranian youth with Z. youth outside (Iran) 13.Connectedness for all Zs is important – (NAMC) 14.Importance of world body in the interfaith forum. Do not divide – (Interfaith) 15.Need to connect and provide an infrastructure for sharing 16.Need a world organization connecting all.

4 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 4 ISSUES/CHALLENGES/PROJECTS - London 2005 (Contd) II. Education – Preservation 1.Uphold Traditional values (NZ - TMZANZ) 2.Provide more support for religious education (NZ - ZANZ) 3.How can we inculcate Zarathushti teachings and values in our youth? (NZ - ZANZ) 4.Organize Internet video conferencing for religious education (NZ - ZANZ) 5.Maintain our Parsipanu (WAPIZ) 6.Help educate youth internationally (Pakistan-audience member) 7.Find funds to endow chairs – problems of success (UK) 8.Exchange educational information (UK) 9.Inspire youth, educate and continue the Z. line. Instill pride to be Z (UK) 10.Encourage scholarships, funding for academics, religious studies, music, sports, orchestra (Canada-USA) ) 11.Encourage scholarships (Iran) 12.Revive the Gujerati language – (India mobeds) 13.Uphold Parsi-Iranian traditions (WAPIZ) 14.Need to perform ceremonies and jashans (UK) 15.Quality of schools & hospitals deteriorating in Iran (Iran) 16.Develop an e-group of Religious education teachers (Z. Karani Araoz) 17.Help diaspora in Africa – (Dhalla, NAMC, WZO). Send Books /Cds/ Religious education videos, Provide scholarships, Mobedyar to S. Africa, Paid traveling mobed

5 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 5 ISSUES/CHALLENGES/PROJECTS - London 2005 (Contd) III. Declining population 1.Fertility clinic - (India) 2.World Body – (to be dealt with on the following day) 3.Elderly population. Many married out. From 250 in 1920 down to 117 today. Concern whether next generation will survive. (S.Africa) 4.Impending extinction of the Parsis is of gravest concern and profound sadness, and should be on agenda of the Congress(Australia) 5.Declining numbers (Pakistan-audience member) 6.Assimilation (Canada-USA) 7.Concerns of declining population (WZO) 8.Declining numbers - encourage early marriage, housing, financial help. (India) 9.Aging population (India) 10.Encourage more children (India) 11.Help with matrimonial alliances (India) 12.Crash housing program, more opportunities for youth (India-Dhalla) 13.Efforts to bring down the divorce rate (India-Dhalla) 14.BPP to support demographic studies. Set up a Survival Fund (India-Dhalla) 15.Address property enchroachment issues (India-Dhalla) 16.Appoint a Global Think Tank to take urgent steps on many fronts (India-Dhalla) (Contd on next page … )

6 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 6 ISSUES/CHALLENGES/PROJECTS - London 2005 (Contd) III. Declining population (Contd) 17.Population - varying numbers, declining (Iran) 18.Address Inter-marriage with Muslims (Iran) 19.Migration out – youth going abroad – more Zoroastrian girls than boys (Iran) 20.More deaths than births in India (India) 21.Support and encourage children of mixed marriages to follow the Z faith. (ZANZ) 22.Don t despise children of Parsi-nonParsi marriages (Australia) 23.Admit off-spring of non-Parsi fathers and Parsi mothers into our fold (India- Dhalla) 24.Need guidance in future, about Zs from the old Soviet republics. (Australia-NSW) 25.Outside marriages – acceptance of spouses (WZO)

7 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 7 ISSUES/CHALLENGES/PROJECTS - London 2005 (Contd) IV. Mobed Concerns 1.No resident priest. "To have a priest here has been a dream for 120 years." (Africa) 2.Need contacts with mobed councils in N. America, India, but cannot join any organization officially (Iran) 3.Consider exchange of priests with Iran (Iran) 4.Shortage of full-time mobeds (Iran) 5.Exchange of priests (Iran) 6.Connect with mobeds of different areas – NAMC 7.Train mobedyars (Iran) 8.Encourage Mobedyar program – NAMC 9.System of para-mobeds. (M. Shroff) 10.Cassettes/Videos of ceremonies available (D. Tamboly) 11.Network mobeds through an e-group (Z. Karani Araoz)

8 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 8 ISSUES/CHALLENGES/PROJECTS - London 2005 (Contd) V. Local Structures, Culture, Welfare 1.Help build a Z. center (Singapore) 2.Hall for jashans etc. (NZ - TMZANZ) 3.Invite Iranian musical groups to perform (Iran) 4.Provide support to defunct anjumans (India) 5.Z. Culture losing vitality (Iran) 6.Get more ZWIN members from Iran (ZWIN) 7.Revive culture – kushti weaving, books, manuscripts, Sanjan, Bahrot. Need funding (WZCF) 8.Revival / preservation of books, culture, research (need funding for various projects) (K.R. Cama Institute) 9.Support Parsiana magazine (Arnavaz Mama)

9 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 9 ISSUES/CHALLENGES/PROJECTS - London 2005 (Contd) VI. Social-Political Issues. Concerns about Youth 1.Challenges of maintaining Z. identity while being a part of the multi- cultural New Zealand (ZANZ) 2.How to overcome apathy and indifference in Z community (ZANZ) 3.Concerns related to intense inbreeding (Parsi-Parsi marriages only) (Australia) 4.Younger generation is leaving Dubai/Middle East (Middle East) 5.Youth leaving Pakistan due to economic political situation (Pakistan - audience member) 6.Limitations of minority status in Iran. (Iran) 7.Activities of Iranian mobeds are limited to spiritual issues – governmental constraints (Iran) 8.Address the issue of declining youth in Iran (due to unemployment, migration or marrying outside the community). Help Youth unemployment in Iran (Iran)

10 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 10 ISSUES/CHALLENGES/PROJECTS - London 2005 (Contd) VII. Business - Supporting Growth 1.Encourage businesses to come to Dubai/Middle East, which has a growing economy and opportunities (Middle East) 2.Project our community in same light as in India and Iran – Must THRIVE – prosper (UK) 3.Encourage business - enterprises.(India) 4.Rekindle the Z. entrepreneurial spirit.(WZCC)

11 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 11 Actionable Discussion items - Mumbai 2007 Culled from the full list, discussed by participants at the Roundtable in Mumbai, Jan 8, 2007. I.Supplies and Services for overseas Zarathushtis. E.g. liturgical items, sudrehs, kushtis, sukhad, ses, diva, prayer books, books, sending flowers/gifts, financial/accounting services. (Owner: Yazdi Tantra-India is developing II.Global Networking. (Owners: Ader Gandi -California) and Yazdi Tantra - India are developing a worldwide directory, (for matrimonials) and (for news). III.Need to Coordinate Welfare Programs. -Explore welfare needs in India for which Overseas Zarathushtis can provide assistance. (Owner: Porus Dadabhoy-Chicago visited possible Welfare Programs in India in 2007). (Contd. Next page … )

12 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 12 Actionable Discussion items - Mumbai 2007 (Contd) III.Need to Coordinate Welfare Programs (Contd). - Procedure for sending donations from overseas for welfare, critical assistance, natural calamities, etc. and their tax implications. (Owner: Firdosh Mehta-Dallas) - Coordinate with Parsi Resource Groups programs for Youth, Mobeds and Agiaries. (Owners: Jimmy Mistry of PRG-India will coordinate with Houtoxi Contractor- FEZANA Welfare, about Adopt-a-Child and Adopt-an-Agiary programs. - Coordinate efforts of Trusts in India. Review archaic systems, be accountable and share a coordinated application process for Welfare and Scholarship programs. (Owner: Homai Modi-India will facilitate efforts to revive the Liaison Committee.) IV.Other Worthwhile Projects Needing Support - Among several PARZOR (India) projects that need funding are: Genetics and Fertility Research Center at Masina Hospital; publication of childrens book by Shernaz Cama; language studies; and other projects. (Contact: Armaity Desai-India, - Need for a study on Aging and Elder Issues. (Contact: Minoo Shroff- BPP chair, India)

13 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 13 Actionable Discussion items - Mumbai 2007 (Contd) IV.Other Worthwhile Projects Needing Support (Contd.) - Doctors Without Borders network started by Dr. Mehroo Patel-Chicago (Contact: Porus Dadabhoy-Chicago, - Operation Eyesight offers eye care and glasses to the needy. (Contact: Behram Pastakia - Washington, - Zarathushti Peace Corps, encouraging individual acts of charity. (Contact: Behram Pastakia - Washington, - Genealogy Archives project by Dr. Rubina Patel will help Zarathushtis understand our common heritage. (Contact: Behram Pastakia - Washington, - Developing a State-of-the-Art Environment at Parsi General Hospital. (Contact: Behram Pastakia - Washington,

14 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 14 Actionable Discussion items - Mumbai 2007 (Contd) V.Preservation of Rare and Valuable Manuscripts and Documents - The dire need to preserve and restore rare and valuable books and manuscripts at the Navsari Maherji Rana library and elsewhere. At a subsequent meeting Dasturji Kotwal mentioned the critical need to rebuild the dilapidated storage building at the Navsari Library. (Owner: Homi Dhalla, WZCF-India,, has placed 45 out-of-print books on a CDROM. ) Note: Dr. Dhalla has offered a collection of 400 old books to any worthy Zarathushti library. (Owner: Natalie Vania will look into Googles project to digitize great works.) (Owner: Homai Modi described ongoing restoration efforts at K. R. Cama Oriental Inst.) (Owner: Shernaz Cama of PARZOR has undertaken restoration efforts for the Navsari manuscripts. (Owner: Mention was made of ZTFE librarian Malcolm Deboos efforts to look into cost of professional restoration of manuscripts) - Persepolis Tablets, excavated by the Oriental Institute, Chicago, are under contention. (Owner: Rohinton Rivetna, Chicago is in touch with Oriental Institute archeologists.

15 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 15 Actionable Discussion items - Mumbai 2007 (Contd) VI.Archeological and Cultural Projects - The World Zarathushti Cultural Foundation, India, has undertaken projects including: Excavations in Sanjan; an Archeological Museum for excavated artifacts; a forthcoming book on Navsari; reviving Gujarati language and monajats; conservation work at Bahrot Caves; a traveling Textiles Exhibit. (Owner: Homi Dhalla, WZCF-India, - Shirin Mistry - Australia, requested help in collecting artifacts for a Zarathushti Expo at the World Youth Congress. - Alayar Dabestani mentioned that sculptor Homer Abramian of Australia plans to place 100 statues of Cyrus the Great around the world. There was some sentiment that replicas of the Cyrus Cylinder may be more appropriate. VII.Interfaith and UN Programs - Organizations should seek UN-NGO status, as FEZANA has, and participate in humanitarian and peace programs. (Owner: Behram Pastakia has offered help in securing UN-NGO status.) - Need for a traveling Zarathushti Exhibit, that could be loaned around the world. (Owner: Homi Dhalla is working on this through WZCF) - Promote Zarathushti participation in Interfaith circles. (Owner: Behram Pastakia is working on placing Zarathushti logo at UN Chapel. (Owners: Rohinton Rivetna and Homi Dhalla are working on an All-India Parliament of Religions.

16 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 16 Actionable Discussion items - Mumbai 2007 (Contd) VIII.Public Relations - Need for a coordinated response to misinformation in the media. (Owner: FEZANA PR Committee is addressing this). IX.World Congresses - Need a formal process and guidelines for holding world congresses, including World Youth Congresses. (Owners: Firdosh Mehta, Behram Pastakia and Rohinton Rivetna are writing a document giving the selection process with RFP, requirements and guidelines. X.World Zoroastrian Council - Alayar Dabestani suggested that a Think Tank be formed to address the new World Zoroastrian Council that has been established in Paris, to cater to the purported large numbers who claim Zarathushti ancestry. (Owner: Open) XI.Iranian Committee Alayar Dabestani pointed out the need to form an Iranian Ad-Hoc Committee to aid Zarathushtis in the event of a political emergency in Iran. (Owner: Open)

17 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 17 Actionable Discussion items - Mumbai 2007 (Contd) XII.Proposal - World Zoroastrian General Assembly Kayzad Namdarian of Australia submitted a proposal in absentia: United Towards Frashokereti, for a World Zoroastrian General Assembly (WZGA), to serve as an evolutionary step forward from the Coming Together Meeting. The proposal is to create an open structure forum of Zoroastrian entities around the world, for the following objective: To ensure that Zarathushtras message survives future millennia, by solving common problems in a non-binding, voluntary way. WZGA is conceived to be simply a formalized gathering forum and not a body of bodies. It is completely non-binding, and serves to address common issues in a professional, formal way through dialogue, action and results. (Contact: For the full proposal, contact

18 COMING TOGETHER ROUNDTABLE - SUMMARY - 18 Actionable Discussion items - Mumbai 2007 (Contd) XIIIPassing the Torch to the Next Generation Nauzer Kasad, Chair of the Indian Federation of Zoroastrian Youth (FOZYA) painted a bleak picture of youth ready to give up, drifting away, due primarily to lack of support from Parsi organizations. (Owner: Jimmy Mistry mentioned PRGs ongoing Youth Empowerment (YES) and Making a Difference (MAD) programs. (Owner: Freyaz Shroff mentioned ZYNAs (Zoroastrian Youth of North America) efforts to create a World Youth Directory and an online youth network, and its active participation at the local and national levels in North America). (Owner: Minoo Bhujwalla of New Orleans -, has submitted a proposal for a Save the Zarathushti Youth Program and youth (Owner: Shirin Mistry of Australia ( mentioned the Friends Forever program at the World Youth Congress in Melbourne in 2007, and hoped that a legacy of that Congress would be closer bonding between Zarathushti youth.) (Owner: Rohinton Rivetna mentioned Next Generation Challenges conference (possible venue Chicago in Oct 2007).

19 LOOKING TO THE FUTURE Thus, over the last two Coming Together RoundTables we have: -Compiled a long list of global issues/challenges/projects; -Grouped them into categories; -Identified owners for a few actionable items; and -Pursued a couple of action items to conclusion (e.g. S. Africa). One cannot expect a few dedicated individuals to take on this monumental task of moving these projects forward. OUR VISION: Dare we dream of a formal Coming Together of all the Zarathushti Institutions of Humankind in a GLOBAL ALLIANCE OF ZOROASTRIAN ORGANIZATIONS to work together in Hamazori on issues of global import The Institutions of humankind: -Governance (Federations/Associations e.g. FEZANA, ZTFE, FPZAI, Iran…) -Religion (Mobeds Councils) -Socio-economic Welfare (WZO - World Zoroastrian Organization) -Business and Industry (WZCC - World Chamber of Commerce) -Arts and Culture (WZCF - World Zarathushti Cultural Foundation)) -Traditional Voice (WAPIZ - World Alliance of Parsi-Irani Zoroastrians)) -Women (ZWIN - Zoroastrian Womens International Network); and others …

20 LOOKING TO THE FUTURE - 2 Today Rustom has structured this Meeting of the Minds Forum, providing us an opportunity to discuss our situation here in North America. Let us use this time well, and develop an actionable plan at the regional, FEZANA level. This will be a step forward, then, to the next, global level.

21 SOME GEMS The Present is a reflection of our past. The Future will be a reflection of the present. Romanticizing the past is dangerous. Taking inspiration from it is wise. Every generation faces its challenges. In our own time, we are facing the challeng of Keeping Together locally, nationally and worldwide. Together: We are inheritors of vast knowledge, traditions and wisdom. We have a shared destiny. Dialogue brings minds together. Action brings hearts together. Our polestar is Social Harmony, which brings about Interconnectedness. We are striving to build relationships -- with each other, and with God. We are all in Noahs Arc. We must learn to live together in harmony, or, as a community we will perish. Our potential is huge. My dream, Your dream as a world wide community, is to realize our full potential and bring about a Zoroastrian Renaissance. Our Next Generation must become the Vital Generation that revitalizes our community, bringing it out of its parochial hybernation. Let us be vigilant, to ensure that they do not become the Lost Generation, poisoned by our strife.

22 SOME GEMS - 2 Let us begin to Think from the End. Let us begin to surround ourselves with the outcome as we envision it - OUR VISION. Go not to the temple to put flowers upon the feet of God First fill your house with the fragrance of love. Go not to the temple to light candles before the feet of God First remove the darkness from your heart. Go not to the temple to bow down your head in prayer First learn to bow in humility before your fellow men. Go not to the temple to pray on bended knees First bend down to lift someone who is downtrodden. Go not to the temple to ask forgiveness First forgive from your heart. - Rabindranath Tagore

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