News from Zerbanoo Gifford
The World Zoroastrian Youth Leaders Forum (WZYLF) was held at the ASHA Centre in Gloucestershire, England between March 16-25, 2018. It was a transformative experience for the group of 20 nextgeneration leaders from around the world, all identified as people closely concerned and connected within local, regional and global Zarathushti circles.
WZYLF organisers, participants & volunteers at Asha Centre
This forum’s aims were tied to using our heads, hearts and hands: to understand the dynamics of sustainable change; to reflect on the global Zarathushti community; to connect with the heart of Zoroastrianism and with one another; and to unite and focus our energies for the betterment of the Zarathushti community. Some of us from India, some from Canada, US, New Zealand and Australia
Adrian Locher (facilitator), Mark Mazda (facilitator) and Sanaya Master (Organiser of WZYLF came to receive us. We gathered to discuss our local community initiatives. These included the World Zarathushti Chamber of Commerce (WZCC) (Jehan Kotwal), Building the social Infrastructure of the community (Shazneen Limjerwala), Study of fire temples (Cyrus Rivetna), Zarathushti memory project (Arzan Wadia). We had a thoroughly enjoyable evening learning Latin dancing from Jimmy.
On Monday, we focused on mapping the challenges, problems and what needs to be healed, in the global Zoroastrian community to create a Zoroastrianism of our highest vision. We were given some questions to reflect on.
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the global Zarathushti community?
- How do we achieve unity and a sense of common purpose?
- How can we achieve sustainable change?
- How does a younger generation make a difference? These were laid out diagrammatically on the sides of a circle, and in the centre was a central question,
- How does Zoroastrianism help us meet these challenges?
Several issues were listed by participants as in need of urgent attention from the community. These included a leadership deficit, the lack of assimilation of Parsis and Iranis, decreasing numbers, lack of understanding of religion, lack of engagement of youth, amongst others.
We took a walk in the Forest of Dean, ably guided by Adrian and Mark. It was beautiful, walking through the forest, sharing stories, bonding, and finally, arriving at a sacred pond (above). Adrian shared that this was used by Christian monks for years
We had a discussion and lunch with Baroness Jan Royall, the principal of Somerville College, Oxford University. In her engaging interaction, she proudly shared that Cornelia Sorabji, a student of Somerville College, was the first woman to study law at Oxford University, the first Indian national to study at any British university, the first female advocate in India and the first woman to practice law in India and Britain.
The grand finale: the Freddy Mercury singalong at the local pub.
Zerbanoo drew attention to this World Congress of Faiths essay award, deadline 28th August 2018
Posted on June 15, 2018, in Zerbanoo Gifford and tagged ASHA Centre, Australia, Canada. US, Forest of Dean, India, Iranis, New Zealand, Parsis, The World Zoroastrian Youth Leaders Forum, Zoroastrianism. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.