In May, Zerbanoo, with her biographer, Farida Master, spread the word about ASHA on a biography tour in America.
In November, she was invited to speak at Dublin University Undergraduate Awards because of her book on Thomas Clarkson, the abolitionist, after whom they have named their global awards.
- Asha’s Erasmus+ courses and volunteering programme have continued throughout the year and we have again welcomed hundreds of young people from European countries to engage in meaningful and life-changing activities. Zerbanoo comments, “There is certainly no Brexit at ASHA!”
To see a summary of this course’s activity and explore a little of the site. click on the link below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7msanLMu_D4
- In August the seventh batch of 24 young Indian women came for their annual visit, culminating in a spectacular graduation performance at a theatre in Gloucester.
- Since summer the Asha team has been joined by a number of younger team members to help to diversify and expand their work; each one of them is managing an exciting new project. Next year in March, they are hosting the first ever World Zoroastrian Youth Leaders Forum to help envision and shape the future of the Zoroastrian community.
- Asha has been chosen by the British Council in Poland to be their UK partner in a two-year Interfaith programme focused on intercultural dialogue, tolerance and interreligious diversity.
- A new and timely initiative develops the ongoing Middle East connection. The ‘Peace Laureates Israel Palestine Summit’ aims to bring to ASHA 24 of Israel and Palestine’s most successful young leaders across politics, civic society, culture, faith and the media for a 10-day Summit led by some of the world’s most eminent experts in their fields. This is a bold attempt to help support and prepare the next generation of leaders for a more peaceful solution in the region.
- This year a two-year Biodynamic Apprenticeship scheme was launched in association with the Biodynamic Agriculture College. Asha already has one apprentice (from a Syrian and Bulgarian parentage), and another will start in April next year after completing his time in the British army.
Zerbanoo ends with an update on the Chagos exile:
(For many years, since meeting exiled Chagos islanders when Zerbanoo and her husband Richard were on holiday in Mauritius, Richard has given his services as a solicitor in the long struggle to enable those who wish to do so to return to Diego Garcia).
The disputes over the continuing exile of the islanders has reached the worldwide stage this year. In June a large majority of nations at the UN passed a resolution, fiercely resisted by the UK Foreign Office, to ask the International Court of Justice for an “Advisory Opinion” on the legal consequences of snatching the islands from Mauritius and deporting the population.
Meanwhile, Theresa May’s refusal in November to resettle the islanders, but offer £40m for them to stay put away from the islands, has been shunned by them, and Richard is starting yet another Judicial review (the fifth in twenty years!) of Government intransigence. Full retirement seems to be a diminishing prospect for him.