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					                 POST-CONGRESS SUMMARY
Sponsored by FEZANA, the XIVth North American Zoroastrian Congress was
hosted by the Zoroastrian Society of Ontario from June 30 to July 2, 2007 in
Toronto. The theme “IMPACT – Unleash the Spark Within” was carefully
selected and IMPACT was designed with multiple purposes. The Congress
highlighted the very impressive impact that Zoroastrians have had on the world
… as a religion and as individuals who are making an impact on their world today.
Attended by over 550 Zoroastrians from the US, Canada, UK, Australia, India,
Switzerland, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, the Congress was a
resounding success. The FEZANA Awards Ceremony recognized outstanding
Zoroastrians in North America and inspired others in the community to make an
impact on the world around them.

The overriding sense from the delegates was that the Congress Program was
innovative and broad-based with appeal for all constituencies who attended.
There was a palpable sense of relief from participants that the program was
carefully designed to be enlightening and edifying and yet not become mired in
controversy. Speakers included academicians, entrepreneurs, industrialists,
artists, authors, educators, doctors, lawyers, and community members. One of
the highlights of the Congress was the Titans session delivered through a multi-
media electronic format. In addition to the mainstream congress program, a
parallel youth-oriented track provided interesting sessions to engage, showcase
and motivate our youth. Interest in the Congress extended beyond North
America and the support offered came through a plethora of global organizations
and individuals who selflessly gave of their time and energy for the benefit of the
community without any expectation of personal recognition or compensation.

Social events added the opportunity to network and make new friends. The Gala
Banquet featured an evening of glamour and festivity. The Zoroastrian
Symphony Orchestra, which was sponsored by FEZANA, delivered an



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outstanding performance that received an enthusiastic standing ovation from the
crowd after every selection. The Gala was further highlighted by performances
by talented Zoroastrian musicians and vocal and dance artists.


                        A LASTING IMPACT
Every Congress leaves its imprint on the community. The legacy from this
Congress includes:
    The opening of one more WZCC Chapter in North America.
    The raising of over $10,000 during the WZCC day
    The immense support and interest at the launch of the Mentoring program,
      with additional groups offering to help (WZCC, ZWIN, YLEP, etc)
    Highly lauded Titans session touched upon several themes already built
      into our agenda; Entrepreneurship, Mentoring, Singles, Youth
    Successful launch of the inaugural session of the late Khorshed
      Jungalwalla lecture series
    The renewed focus on identity and youth in North America
    The large numbers of young professionals that participated both as
      presenters and as delegates
    Many new „rising stars‟ in the community in the fields of arts,
      entertainment, education, religion and humanities who were showcased to
      the community
    The surprisingly large turnout for the Singles session, where everyone
      was admirably open and honest in their views of being a single
      Zoroastrian in North America
    The successful execution of “Operation Eyesight” and the collection of
      eyeglasses spearheaded by a youth




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XIVth NORTH AMERICAN ZOROASTRIAN CONGRESS
              IMPACT SYNOPSIS

                              Official Opening Ceremony
Keynote Speaker: Mr. Minoo Shroff – Chair, Bombay Parsee Punchayat
Master of Ceremonies: Mr. Daraius M. Bharucha

Grand opening with wishes from FEZANA member organizations; inspiring keynote
speech from Mr. Minoo Shroff outlining current issues that face the community and
future directions to follow, including an emphasis on youth involvement, in order to
ensure that Zoroastrianism continues to thrive and excel worldwide. IMPACT Chair
Phee Vania welcomed the 500+ participants from all over the world, explained the
selection of theme and acknowledged the global support received and FEZANA
guidance. Program Chair Daraius Bharucha explained the intent behind the theme and
the broad based design of the program as it related to the theme. The atmosphere was
charged with the positive energy of the Z gathered together, which created its own
impact.

                                      Meet the Titans
Congress participants enjoyed a very rare opportunity to hear views from the Titans of
our Zoroastrian community and ask them questions in this plenary session. This
innovative integration of interactive multi-media format was used for the first time at a
Zoroastrian Congress and has been hailed as one of the undeniable highlights of the
Congress. Themes that emerged within the session included the vitality of Youth
involvement, Identity, Marriage, Entrepreneurship, Mentoring and the importance of
striving for excellence as a standard in all our individual endeavours.
      Mr. Ratan Tata
      Lord Karan Bilimoria
      Mr. Nadir Godrej
      Mr. Byram Avari
      Mr. Fali Nariman
Moderator: Mr. Minoo Shroff
                          Art of Self Expression (Youth Only)
Youth expressed their personal sense of Zoroastrian identity by creating a visual art
display on ceramic tiles which were displayed during the Congress. The exhibit
generated much discussion within the youth as well as adults who viewed the tiles that
were proudly displayed during the Congress.
Moderators: Ms. Diana Katgara and Ms. Kermin Mehta
                    FEZANA Awards Ceremony & Luncheon
                      followed by a Presentation on FEZANA
Successful North American Zoroastrians who have made a real contribution to the
community were recognized and felicitated by FEZANA:
    Late Mrs. Khorshed Jungalwala – Rohinton Rivetna Outstanding Zarathushti
      Award
    Dr. Beheruz Sethna – Excellence in Business or Profession Award
    Dr. Russi Balsara – Jamshed Pavri Humanitarian Service Award



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    Mr. Dinyar Vania – Dinshaw Joshi Memorial Award for Excellence in Performing
     Arts, Painting or Literature
    Mr. Dinsha Farrokh Mistree – Outstanding Young Zarathushti Award
    Ms. Anahita Dua – Outstanding Young Zarathushti Student Award
    Ambassador Jamsheed Marker – Lifetime Achievement Award

The Awards ceremony was followed by a Presentation on FEZANA, delivered by Mr.
Rustom Kevala, President of FEZANA.
Entertainment: Mathemagician Mr. Minoo Jokhi
                                 Show me the Money!
An extremely informative session on Persian coins and their value as historical artifacts
and an enlightening talk on the economy and social management that existed in Ancient
Persia
    Dr. Edward Keall -- Former Curator of the Royal Ontario Museum
    Dr. Jehan Bagli – Chairperson, North American Mobed Council
Moderator: Mr. Homi Gandhi
                                   True Confessions
A „singles‟ session unlike any other! This session was jam-packed with Single
Zoroastrians who engaged in roundtable interactive discussions on the realities of being
a single Zoroastrian in North America. Participants were endearingly honest about their
thoughts on finding a Zoroastrian partner, and their acknowledgement of the importance
of shared values. Many shared their views on the difficulties of dating a Zoroastrian,
given the added pressures from the community.
     Roundtable Hosts: Ms. Mantreh Atashband, Mr. Nikhan Khatibi, Ms. Phee
        Vania, Mr. Arash Zohoor
Moderator: Ms. Phee Vania
                                 In the Eye of the Lens
A highly charged, candid and entertaining session which presented aspects of media
portrayals/representations of Zoroastrians and other ethnic minorities by members of the
media.
     Ms. Aparita Bhandari – Freelance Journalist
     Ms. Rakshande Italia – Freelance Journalist
Moderator: Mr. Jamshed Engineer
   Lights, Camera, Action! – Zoroastrians on Stage and in Film (Youth Oriented)
A panel discussion that featured some of our rising stars. They shared their
experiences, provided insights and openly discussed the trials, tribulations and
successes they encountered in their careers as well as the extent/role that their
Zoroastrian identity played in what they do.
    Ms. Nazneen Contractor – Television and Stage Actress
    Ms. Rahnuma Panthaky – Actress and Co-founder of two theatre companies
    Ms. Michelle Mama -- Filmographer and Television Host
Moderator: Mr. Kevin Mancherjee
                         Zoroastrian Philosophy and Culture
In this hugely popular and packed session two of the leading luminaries in their field
shared their knowledge and understanding of the impact of Zarathushtra‟s teaching on
Iranian culture and society and highlighted our role as Zoroastrians in carrying forward
these teachings.


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    Dr. Farhang Mehr – Professor Emeritus, Boston University
    Mr. Homer Abramian – Philosopher and Scholar of Zoroastrianism (Farsi only)
Co-Moderator: Dr. Rustom Kevala
Co-Moderator: Ms. Parvin Contractor
                                    Women’s Voices
A presentation of experiential perspectives, inspirational moments, role models and
values; the characteristics, attributes and qualities that have inspired some of the
dynamic young lady presenters about women who have shaped their lives and our
community and have been an inspiration to others.
     Ms. Zia Mahmoudzadeh – Masters in Physiotherapy, St. Michael‟s Hospital
     Ms. Fiona Engineer – BA Economics and Marketing
     Ms. Zenobia Homavazir – Masters in Social Work
Moderator: Dr. Dhun Noria
                            A Novel Idea (Youth Oriented)
A forthright and frank presentation and discussion by two young and rising novelists
about the impact that being Zoroastrian has had on their writing and the way in which
they approach and shape their craft.
     Ms. Farishta Dinshaw -- Author and Novelist
     Mr. Anosh Irani -- Author, Playwright and Novelist
Moderator: Ms. Bella Tata
                         World Religions and Zoroastrianism
A standing room only session where a panel of experts provided enlightening insights
and answered questions on the influences and interactions between Zoroastrianism and
some of the others major faiths in the world.
    Ms. Gail Gibson on interactions with Christianity – Royal Ontario Museum
    Mr. Daraius M Bharucha on interactions with Judaism – Lecturer & Chair, ZSO
       Religious Education. Committee
    Dr. Jamsheed Choksy on interactions with Islam – Prof of History and Religion,
       Indiana University
Moderator: Mr. Rohinton Rivetna
                            Well-Being in the Golden Years
A fascinating and informative session that presented holistic approaches and information
on health care issues with an emphasis on techniques and tips that could be followed
especially by our seniors.
     Dr. Khursheed Jeejeebhoy – Director of Nutrition Support & Senior Physician, St.
       Michael‟s Hospital
     Dr. Rob Ayoup, N.D. – Naturopath
Moderator: Mr. Bomi Patel
                          Worldwide Mentoring (Youth/Adult)
Official unveiling of a worldwide Zoroastrian Mentoring project. Mentoring was one of
the main themes brought out in the Titans session. The Mentoring session generated a
lot of interest and resulted in great progress with mentors and protégés signing up.
FEZANA has kindly agreed to host the listing of mentors/protégés on their website on an
ongoing basis. Many different Zoroastrian organizations offered their help and support
(Youth Leadership Enhancement Program, ZWIN, and WZCC)
     Ms. Phee Vania – Chairperson, IMPACT Congress
     Ms. Zarine Chenoy – Co-Vice Chairperson, IMPACT Congress



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                               The Vision of Zarathushtra
           (The inaugural lecture of the Khorshed Jungalwala lecture series,
                                 sponsored by FEZANA.)
A highly popular and sellout session which presented an inspiring, informative and
erudite examination of the vision of Zarathushtra from its inception to present day by one
of the preeminent scholars in the field of Zoroastrianism and Philosophy.
     Prof. Kaikhosrov D. Irani – Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, City Univ of NY
Moderator: Dr. Lovji Cama
                          Crossroads of Entrepreneurship
A panel of young and dynamic Zoroastrian entrepreneurs presented valuable insights
and shared their experience and knowledge and answered questions from the audience
which comprised of a large number of individuals who were themselves interested in or
had recently launched entrepreneurial careers.
    Mr. Xerxes Wania
    Mr. Kelly Jogina
    Mr. Jehaangir Bulsara
    Ms. Aniheeta Cooper
Moderator: Mr. Sam Meer
             Our Youth - Unleashing the Spark Within (Youth Oriented)
This event featured some very inspirational young Zoroastrians who have made an
impact through their voluntary and charitable endeavours not only on the community but
on the world around them, using as impetus the teachings of our faith and their unique
sense of identity. Youths and adults alike in the audience were motivated to consider
how they can unleash their spark and truly make an impact on the world around them.
     Mr. Nikan Khatibi
     Ms. Farah Minwalla
     Ms. Diana Katgara
     Ms. Armaity Homavazir
     Ms. Diana Vania
Moderator: Ms. Mantreh Atashband
              Zoroastrians in Iran as a Visible Minority (7CE- Present)
A very well attended session that presented educated and knowledgeable but diverse
views on the progress and preservation of the Zoroastrian faith and community in Iran
from the end of Sassanian dynasty to the present.
     Dr. Jamsheed Choksy -- Professor of History and Religion, Indiana University
     Mr. Fariborz Rahnamoon – Director/Editor, Iran Zamin
Moderator: Mr. Sam Vesuna
                      Entrepreneurship - Impetus and Impact!
This session focused on the impetus being provided by community organizations
(WZCC) to promote and revive the spirit of entrepreneurship in the worldwide
Zoroastrian community. The audience learned about the impact that one entrepreneur
is making on the community through his private charitable and voluntary work.
     Mr. Bomy Boyce - Worldwide President World Zoroastrian Chamber of
       Commerce (WZCC)
     Mr. Jimmy Mistry – President Parsi Resource Group (PRG)
Moderator: Mr. Firdosh Mehta




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                          NOT an Easy Target! (Women only)
Participants enjoyed the interactive aspects of this session while learning techniques
and tips on and personal protection. The age range of attendees was 22 years to 70
years!
    Ms. Shara Colabewala – Martial Arts Expert

               Leveraging Your Zoroastrian Identity (Youth-oriented)
A fascinating and insightful session that examined the issue of Zoroastrian identity from
diverse perspectives and the use and leveraging of that identity from an individual
perspective by two of the rising stars of our community.
     Mr. Daraius M Bharucha – Lecturer/Chair, ZSO Religious Education Committee
     Dr. Nerina Rustomji – Professor, St. John‟s University, NY
Moderator: Dr. Dolly Dastoor
        Gala Banquet featuring the World Zoroastrian Symphony Orchestra
A glamorous and enchanting evening of fun and frolic that was the social highlight of the
Congress. It featured the outstanding Zoroastrian Symphony Orchestra and top notch
solo performances by some of the many talented vocal and dance artists of our
community. The Zoroastrian Symphony Orchestra was sponsored by FEZANA. This
was truly a memorable occasion for all.
     Dr. Dhun Noria – Gala Chair
     Mr. Farobag Cooper – Orchestra Conductor
     Ms. Phee Vania – Master of Ceremonies

                                   At Home Abroad
A knowledgeable insightful and informative session that presented and highlighted
important transitions and the passage of the Zoroastrian diaspora in North America and
the impact of diaspora communities and organizations on the traditional homelands as
represented through the work of the WZO with its social and charitable endeavors.
     Dr. Jesse Palsetia – Professor, Guelph University
     Mr. Sam H. Bhiwandiwalla – Chairman, World Zoroastrian Organization
Moderator: Dr. Behram Pastakia
                    Zoroastrian Social Justice & the Social Contract
This popular and erudite session highlighted areas of education, human rights and social
justice and the role of Zoroastrianism in those areas as well as the shaping of identity
and the effect of those areas on identity.
     Dr. Niaz Kasravi -- Lecturer on Civil Rights, Amnesty International
     Dr. Mehraban Khodavandi -- Professor, Lakeland University
Moderator: Dr. Daryoush Jahanian
                           Ahead of the Game (Youth Oriented)
A hands-on holistic session that demonstrated the methods and modalities through
which youth and their parents/guardians can research career paths, select appropriate
educational institutions and access funds and scholarships that are available to help
youth fully realize their potential.
    Dr. Farrokh Mistree – Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology
    Ms. Nupur Khandelwal – York University, Toronto
Moderator: Ms. Roshan Rivetna




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                                      Jashan
The Jashan was performed by seventeen priests, some of whom came from various
parts of North America. The Jashan was accompanied by a power-point presentation in
English and Farsi that explained key points of the Jashan ceremony to the attendees.
                                 Chasni & Snacks

                                Closing Ceremony
The Closing Ceremony summed up the highlights and legacy items of the Congress. It
included:
     Ms. Phee Vania – Chair, IMPACT Congress (closing comments)
     Mr. Daraius Bharucha – Program Chair, IMPACT Congress (closing comments)
     Mr. Sam Vesuna – President, Zoroastrian Society of Ontario (closing comments)
     Mr. Rustom Kevala – President, FEZANA (closing comments)
     Mr. Bomi Patel – Chair, North American Zoroastrian Congress (closing
       comments and acceptance on behalf of next North American Zoroastrian
       Congress since hosting association has yet to be selected)
     Mr. Firdosh Mehta – (World Zoroastrian Youth Congress in Australia – Dec 2007)
     Mr. Freddy Bhesania – (World Zoroastrian Congress in Dubai – Dec 2009)
     Iranian Cultural Kanoun Choir – Choir Master Mr. Shahram Bastani with piano
       accompaniment by Mr. Farobag Cooper
     ZSO Religious Education Classes Children‟s Choir – Led by Zia Mahmoudzadeh
       and teachers of the ZSO Religious Education Class




             FEEDBACK FROM PARTICIPANTS
   Enhance understanding of the “spark” within the youth of Mumbai – CO
   Youth sessions were excellent idea & informative & well organized – AUS
   You delivered with polish & grace – a wealth of talent unleashed – a huge
    Fire – this is our Iranshah Flame ALIVE. Thank you – INDIA
   Entrepreneurship – Charitable work in Bombay, India. Talking with Titans
    was interesting & a great idea – NJ
   Rekindled & strengthened our Zoroastrian identity – ON
   Overall the entire Congress was very good, but the lectures/panel discussions
    and Gala Banquet really exceeded my expectations. It was moving for me to
    listen to Zoroastrian Symphony Orchestra. - AR
   The mentoring program is an excellent initiative – ON
   The Congress has re-ignited the spark to prove that the vision of Zarathushtra
    is alive and a Zoroastrian renaissance is coming – ON
   The very organized and good programs, (with no controversial subjects) were
    most useful & interesting. I was able to attend and learn subjects of interest –
    NY
   Very professionally organized and you have gone an extra mile to cater to
    everyone‟s taste of culture – AUS


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   Meeting the Titans very inspirational – fantastic – ON
   Women‟s sessions. Very heart-warming to see your youngsters well-matured
    & carrying on the torch – ON
   You brought in an eclectic group of people and gave us a diverse view of the
    issues that were on the table – ON
   Courteous, knowledgeable committee members. Very helpful – CA
   The vision of Zarathushtra – Examining the evolution of Zarathushtra‟s vision
    – NJ
   Gave us an opportunity to celebrate the survival and perpetuation of our
    Zoroastrian heritage & faith – ON
   Show how Zoroastrian teachings are applicable in the daily lives of all
    individuals – PA
   I was able to enjoy the exceptional organization of the whole Congress with
    easy registration, the meals and break refreshments – NY
   After being out of my Zoroastrian “community” for over 50 years, I found the
    Congress a heartening sense of “belonging” – ON
   Including the youth (the real future of our community) with topics close to their
    heart and interest to all – NY
   You were able to keep the Congress free of the conflict that normally plague
    the community – ON
   I‟m glad there were youth sessions. They were very interesting. – ON
   The Talk with the Titans was a novel idea – an achievement that you could
    get so many of the Titans to accommodate our timelines.
   The overall quality and delivery of the speakers was excellent.
   I really enjoyed the Crossroads of Entrepreneurship seminar – it really helped
    me with my future decisions – ON
   The Art of Self Expression was nice because it helped convey our emotions in
    a definitive medium – ON
   Exceeded expectations - gaining education/knowledge in such a short time –
    ON
   Excellent networking & awesome programs – ON

    WHAT IMPACT HAS THE CONGRESS HAD ON YOU?

   Learned more about our community – CA
   Appreciation of the talent in all fields – arts, science, business – within our
    community – CO
   It was a privilege to meet & hear views from our Zoroastrians, especially the
    great icons of our community – ON
   I learned of the impact & interaction of our faith with other faiths, history,
    socio-economic trends between the 6th & 12th century ACE & BCE – ON
   Made me realize that I can do more to help this community – ON
   Culturally empowering – AUS
   Friendships made priceless – AUS
   Unity is strength; taking responsibility for your actions (as outlined in one of
    the youth sessions) – ON


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   As an educationist, this Congress has brought to life the motivation to drive
    myself to the utmost & beyond to share & serve – INDIA
   The Congress has re-enforced my faith in the religion of Zarathushtra – USA
   Learned the balance approval of our religion and tolerance – NJ
   We are profoundly happy that we are Zoroastrians and will always endeavour
    to follow “that best light!” – ON
   The relevance of Zoroastrian values to all aspects of life. This is a value
    system from which all individuals can learn – PA
   I was deeply touched by certain speakers – in the Titan presentation. The
    feeling that I got from this Congress is that although everybody is saying that
    we are dying dynasty, I don‟t think that is going to happen as the fellow
    Zoroastrians will not let that happen – ON
   I was most impressed by the great number of excellent speakers, and very
    proud of the number of high achievers and personalities of the world, who are
    Zoroastrians – NY
   It has a very positive and encouraging impact. Helped rejuvenate me – NY
   We have attended other Zoroastrian congresses but this on has really been
    an act hard to follow – the integrity & co-operation amongst the committee
    members is highly admirable – AUS
   I got a chance to hear academics and others whom I would normally not have
    had a chance to meet otherwise. It demonstrated how much dedication &
    effort people take to ensure that our religious doctrines & beliefs are
    maintained & passed along – ON
   I learned that Zoroastrian youth are a lot of fun to talk with. I will now look
    forward to future congresses, especially youth congresses. I am very proud
    to call myself a Zoroastrian. – ON
   Amazed at the knowledge gained – ON

    HOW HAS THIS CONGRESS EMPOWERED YOU
     TO MAKE AN IMPACT IN YOUR COMMUNITY?
   Help my community in my city – CA
   Strive to do more to lend a helping hand – CO
   Its opened my eyes & mind to the matters required to bring our religion to the
    forefront in the world – ON
   A shift in the attitude towards handling conflicting views. Ideas for teaching
    religion to our children using IT technology – ON
   More business leadership, more common sense, bring a degree of
    professionalism to community discussions – ON
   Seeing the impact, enthusiasm & motivation of my fellow Zoroastrians, is
    something I aspire to – AUS
   Enthused to absolutely act on my purpose of being mentor to my community,
    especially young people – just out of school & college – anywhere in the
    world – INDIA



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   Contribute for your community, and be an entrepreneur which I am. WZCC
    meeting on Friday will have a lasting effect on me. – NJ
   Inform people how Zoroastrian values have influences other religions and
    value system. Practicing Zoroastrian values can be a methodological
    approach for approaching the challenge of various social issues – PA
   I see the wording “Impact” as “I‟m Parsee Always Continuing Tradition”.
    Tradition plays a great role in every community – ON
   The Zoroastrian community is not dying – it is well on its way to keep its name
    in the world. I always support and encourage the youth to reach their higher
    goals – NY
   I‟d like to continue volunteering in my local and global communities. After
    attending the “Ahead of the Game” session, I am motivated to set my goals
    even higher and make sure I achieve them. – ON
   Taking more active roles in WZCC; FEZANA and other active organizations to
    promote, advance and protect our great community and doing my share to
    pay my debt to this great community – WA
   Makes me proud to be a Zoroastrian. Built more understanding, trust and
    knowledge.
   I will try to be more involved than I already am because I have learned that
    the people in my community are not just friends, they‟re family. – ON
   Motivated me to get more involved in Zoroastrian community – IL


                         PRESS COVERAGE
There was an unprecedented amount of press coverage of the community and
the congress prior to and during its progress. This was due in large part to the
efforts of the organizing committee who made the event know to various media
outlets and who worked through their individual connections in the journalistic
field.
Articles appeared in the Toronto Star, The National Post, The Hamilton Spectator,
the Canadian Press, India Abroad, and various local ethnic newspapers. In
addition the Zoroastrian press was well represented through Parsiana, Jam-e-
Jamshed and the FEZANA Journal.
Attached below are excerpts from an article in the Hamilton Spectator which
appeared prior to the congress and, post-congress articles that appeared in the
Toronto Star, the largest daily circulation newspaper in Canada, and in India
Abroad.




                                                                                11
 Zoroastrians gather in Toronto to 'unleash
the spark within'
June 29, 2007
ERIC SHACKLETON
THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO (Jun 29, 2007)


Hundreds of Zoroastrians, followers of the prophet Zarathustra, are gathering this weekend to
reflect on their faith, and its main tenets of "good thoughts, good words and good deeds."


The delegates, expected to number about 500 from around the world, are attending the 14th
annual North American Zoroastrian Congress from today until Monday.


The religion, one of the oldest in existence, has greatly influenced Judaism, Christianity and
other faiths with regard to the ultimate victory of good over evil and the resurrection of souls,
experts say.


The convention is sponsored by the Zoroastrian Society of Ontario and Fezana, which is short
for the Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America.


The theme of the get-together, "IMPACT Unleash the Spark Within," was chosen "because we
felt that all of us have that spark of creativity, charity and community service," said Phee
Vania, chair of the congress.


"Sometimes we get very busy with our lives and we forget what we want to achieve with our
life and the impact that we want to make with our life on others and ourselves," said Vania,
who lives in Toronto.


"This is what we're hoping to inspire within our congress this weekend," she said.


"We're also trying to stay away from controversial issues ... like interfaith marriage and
conversion," she said. "We find that there's no lasting impact to that. There's just a lot of high
emotion at the moment."…


During the weekend, organizers hope to "spark" some optimism in the community through a
live video conference titled Talk with the Titans.


During the telecast, delegates will be able to ask questions of prominent and highly respected
Zoroastrians who have made a name for themselves in business, industry and politics.


These include business tycoon Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Group, India's largest
conglomerate; Lord Karan Bilimoria, the first Zoroastrian to be named to the British House of
Lords; and Behram Avari, owner of the biggest chain of hotels in Pakistan.




                                                                                                 12
They have "agreed to present their views on community, their guidance, their suggestions and
what they ascribe their success to in the business world," said Vania.


"It's a very rare opportunity for community members to interact with the titans of our
community," she said.


The community now consists of about 150,000 Zoroastrians spread throughout the world, with
the bulk living in India, especially in Mumbai.


An estimated 6,000 Zoroastrians reside in Canada, mainly in the Greater Toronto Area and
Vancouver. In the U.S., most live in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. …




Youth, entrepreneurship are focus of
ancient faith
July 07, 2007
RAKSHANDE ITALIA
Special to the Star

The world‟s oldest monotheistic religion has taken steps to empower its youth
and preserve the faith for the future. Zoroastrians, as they wound up their 14 th
North American Congress in Toronto this week, emphasized mentorship and the
need for unity among the scattered faithful.
“We are moving the identity issue forward,” said prominent Toronto Zoroastrian
Daraius Bharucha, “empowering our youth, showcasing the community, while
saying, „We are a diaspora that has now arrived.‟”
For the first time at a congress, youth activities, such as mentoring and
entrepreneurship programs, ran alongside sessions on history, heritage and
religious matters.
Bharucha represents the Zoroastrian Society of Ontario, which hosted the
congress that ran from June 30 to July 2 at the Sheraton Parkway North Hotel.
More than 600 Zoroastrians from around the world attended, out of the 150,000
members of the faith worldwide. The religion was founded in 1500 BCE by the
prophet Zarathustra.
Many Zoroastrians – 69,000 of them – live in India, where they are also called
Parsis. Toronto has the third largest population, preceded only by the Indian
cities of Mumbai and Pune.
In fact, Zoroastrians in India participated in the conference via teleconferencing.
Two of India‟s top Parsi industrialists – Ratan Tata, chair of the $60 billion Tata


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Enterprise; and Nadir Godrej, managing director of Godrej Industries – stressed
youth mentorship.
“We must have people who are more privileged (in North America) and who have
risen in their fields to mentor these young people in India,” Tata said.
Minoo Shroff, who flew to Toronto from Mumbai for the event, is chair of the
Bombay Parsi Panchayet, the central body of the community.
“Our past has been great, but it is in our hands to make the future, and the youth
really hold the key to our future,” he said in his inaugural address.
Zarine Chenoy tried to put that idea into action. “We want an open dialogue of
ideas between the elderly and the youth,” she said, signing up young and old for
a mentor-mentee program. “The mentor isn‟t necessarily the older person here,”
she pointed out. “I have a young mentor in the U.S. who teaches me to blog or
how to WiFi.”
Like many ethnic communities, Zoroastrians find it a big task to maintain their
identity. Religion teacher Mona Antia attributes the problem to young people
trying to fit into the Canadian mainstream.
“It‟s so easy to totally lose your roots, if you don‟t bring them (youth) to the Darbe
mehr (community centre),” she said.
Chenoy said an initiative to encourage youth to stand for office in the upcoming
elections will send a direct message that Zoroastrians are serious about young
people‟s participation.
But Arash Zohoor, a young participant who was raised in Toronto, said the real
problem is a disconnect with older members.
“We‟ve formed our own communities here and have grown up with them,” said
Zohoor.
He said it‟s a tough choice between attending Sunday activities at the Darbe
mehr or hanging out with his friends.




North American Zoroastrian Congress
meet a big success
Excerpts from July 13, 2007
Ajit Jain

The keynote speaker was Mumbai-based Mr. Minoo Shroff, chair of the Bombay Parsi
Panchayat. He was happy the “Congress was professionally organized devoid of any
controversy.” The purpose was to see “the future of the community in North America
with an emphasis on the empowerment of youth.”


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In an interview with India Abroad, July 4, he said he was happy that despite all odds, the
community in North America has strengthened its traditions.

Chief organizer Phee Vania told this reporter that several issues were discussed including
„singles, entrepreneurship and mentoring.‟

“The Congress was a super success,” said Dr. Dhun Noria, chair of the Gala committee.

Vania also said based on feedback, “It was highly successful and will continue to have a
significant and long-lasting IMPACT on North America and around the world … The
spark has been re-ignited within individuals to better serve their community. All in all,
the Congress certainly lived up to its promise.”




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