The ASHA Centre in Gloucester United Kingdom welcomed 19 young Zoroastrians from all over the world for a 10 day leadership forum starting from Friday March 16th to 25th 2018. Mentored and conceptualized by our dear friend Zerbanoo Gifford, and led by Mark Gifford and Adrian Lochner, the 10 day event bring Zoroastrian young leaders from Zarathushti diasporas all over the world to meet, interact, discuss and deliberate in issues revolving around the community, faith, religion and the role that the youth can play in taking the torch forward in the years to come.
The first of its kind ever, this Forum came about as an idea during Zerbanoo Gifford and Farida Master’s book tour in the summer of 2017 in United States. Sanaya Master a young Zarathushti leader interning at the ASHA Centre took this up as a project and helped facilitate the entire event, from inviting participants to arranging the program and a myriad other activites that goes into getting these 19 participants from India, Pakistan, USA, Canada, United Kingdon, Australia and New Zealand. During the 10 days, the participants will have opportunities to travel around Gloucester, including trips to Oxford University and over the border into Wales. Besides ASHA’s amazing staff of workshop coordinators, other professionals and experts in their field will interact with the participants over the 10 days. At Oxford the participants will get a chance to meet up with a dear friend and renowned Zoroastrian young scholar Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina. In a true hamazori collaborative effort Edul Daver, Global President of World Zoroastrian Chamber of Commerce will also attend as a mentor and facilitator for a few days towards the end of the program.
As an attendee this Forum allows me to meet up with counterparts from around the world, understand their ideas, listen to views that are not mine and appreciate where each of us come from, because even though we are all walking on our own paths in our own regions, the idea is to make sure that these paths cross and the community that we are a part of benefits through these cross-regional connections.
The first day started with introductions and a tour of the amazing grounds of the ASHA centre. ASHA has been based at their current location for more than a decade and everything here is designed and in place with a very large worldview and vision, but embracing Zoroastrian principles in everything that is being done. The day ended with the group divided into four teams for a Zoroastrian masterchef cookout with one team each cooking up the appetizers, a vegetarian dish, the main course and the dessert. Keep an eye out for further updates in the days ahead.