For several years, our own Ervad Jehan Bagli and the FEZANA team has worked hard to establish an academic program for advanced studies and research in the Zoroastrian religion, and ancient Iranian languages of our texts in order to perpetuate them and keep from becoming extinct. This will offer students an opportunity to pursue advanced studies in Zoroastrianism, understand and translate the ancient languages, and will increase awareness of Zoroastrianism worldwide.
In 2018 FEZANA set up a scholastic committee to evaluate all proposals and options received for establishing an Institute of Zoroastrian Studies in North America. The committee unanimously recommended the University of Toronto’s (UOT) proposal. After further discussions, FEZANA received in May 2019 a proposal from the UOT to establish a Professorship of Zoroastrian studies. Under this proposal, UOT will create the position in perpetuity with an investment by FEZANA of US $1.5 million, to be matched by UOT funding of CAN $1.5 million.
UOT has a stated objective “to become a leader in Zoroastrian studies in North America”, and seeks to add to the present faculty of Iranian studies to teach courses on Zoroastrianism.
The Zoroastrian Studies program will be maintained in perpetuity and administered by the Department of Near and Middle Eastern studies, Faculty of Arts and Science. It aspires “to permanently offer advanced training in [Avesta and Pahlavi] languages of the Zoroastrian scriptures and sacred texts. The aim is “to prepare a new generation of rigorously trained scholars who are dedicated to original research in primary Zoroastrian texts.”
As a Zoroastrian, I invite you to consider this very exciting proposal and donate before Nowruz 2020. To make your tax deductible contribution, visit https://fezana.org/donate/ and select the category: UNI OF TORONTO FEZANA PROFESSORSHIP.
If you prefer to mail a check, please make it out to “FEZANA” and in the memo indicate “UNI OF TORONTO FEZANA PROFESSORSHIP” and mail to: Rooky Fitter, FEZANA Treasurer, P O BOX 266, Sunset Beach, CA 90742.
CANADIAN DONORS: To Donate online, please click on “Donate” on the website of Zoroastrian Society of Ontario https://www.zso.org
To Donate by cheque, please use the special form provided in the ZSO “News” section of the ZSO website.
Friends, we need to act quickly as UOT’s offer for matching funds will expire on April 30, 2020.
Let’s not miss this opportunity if we are serious about promoting research in our ancient languages, texts, culture, traditions, etc. so that the world community is enlightened and our youth is empowered to continue to work with pride for generations to come.
IF WE ARE NOT GOING TO DO THIS, THEN WHO WILL?
IF WE ARE NOT GOING TO DO IT NOW, THEN WHEN?
Atha Zamyad, Yatha Afrinami
Homi D Gandhi