“Coming Together Roundtable” Gains Consensual Support – Photos
A short report on the “Coming Together Roundtable” meeting held at Dubai on 27th, 30th & 31st December 2009
by Roshan Rivetna
A rather momentous legacy of the Dubai Congress, which may have been underplayed in the glitz and glamour of that magnificent event, was the consensual agreement from leaders of the World Zarathushti community to “Come Together and Work Together” at a common forum – the Coming Together Roundtable (CTR). Through three sessions during the Congress and numerous informal meetings, elected leaders of the four major Zoroastrian regions – Iran, India, UK/Europe and North America, that represent 90% of the world’s Zarathushti population, consensually agreed to assume ownership and responsibility, and set future direction, for this forum. In time, representatives from the smaller pockets, in Middle East, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, would be worked into the structure.
Breakfast meeting of Regional leaders. Clockwise from left, Paurush Jila (UK), Khodayar Attaie, Dr. Esfandiar Ekhtiyari and Mehraban Hemavandy (Iran), Rohinton Rivetna (coordinator), Dorab Mistry (UK), Firdosh Mehta and Bomi Patel (North America), and Khojeste Mistry and Dinshaw Mehta (India).
Realizing the imperative of keeping the world Zarathushti ‘Community Without Borders’ connected and collaborating, the CTR forum has been spearheaded by Rohinton Rivetna, with support from many dedicated individuals — Behram Pastakia, Firdosh Mehta, Dr. Zareen Karani Araoz, Yazdi Tantra (for website www.zoroastrians.net ), Percis Dubash (administrative help) and many others.
The first Roundtable was convened at the World Congress in London, in 2005, facilitated by then Congress chair Dorab Mistry. Three succeeding Roundtables were held, in Mumbai in 2007 and 2008 and in Houston in December 2008. Discussions and actions arising at these Roundtables have spanned socio-economic, communal, spiritual/religious, educational/cultural and infrastructure projects and issues [see reports in FEZANA Journal, Fall 2005, Spring 2007, Spring 2008 and Spring 2009].
At this fifth Roundtable in Dubai, five goals/projects were compiled (by Zareen Araoz and Dolly Dastoor) gleaned from the presentations made during the CTR Session 1:
Some of the Speakers at the Podium
Jehan Bagli Khodayar Attaie
(1) Transition ownership of CTR to Regional leadership;
(2) Support technology platforms for global networking (www.zoroastrians.net and a new platform presented by Eric Engineer);
(3) Follow up on the WZCongress survey recommendations;
(4) Collect and analyze demographics to help make decisions about the community; and
(5) Support ZWIN (Zarathushtrian Women’s International Network).
Session I of the “Coming Together Roundtable” on December 27th, at the Crown Plaza hotel in Dubai.
CTR Sessions II and III were co-chaired by the four regional heads: Dinshaw Mehta (India), Dr. Esfandyar Ekhtiyari (Iran), Paurush Jila (UK/Europe) and Bomi Patel (North America) –– a credit to the vision and foresight of Congress chair Meher Bhesania.
CTR Session III co-chaired by Regional Leaders, from left: Firdosh Mehta and FEZANA President Bomi Patel (North America), BPP trustee Khojeste Mistree and BPP chair Dinshaw Mehta (India), coordinator Rohinton Rivetna, Tehran Anjuman President Dr. Rostam Khosravian and MP Dr. Esfandiar Ekhtiyari (Iran), and past ZTFE presidents Dorab Mistry and Paurush Jila (UK/Europe).
While the discussions were productive, and will hopefully lead to followup actions, the most satisfying development was the transition of the CTR forum from a chaordic gathering of “any individuals/organizations interested in the perpetuation and prosperity of the community” coordinated by individuals (albeit dedicated) with no mandate and little administrative/financial resources, to a more structured forum led by elected representatives of the major regions where Zarathushtis reside.
This consensual “Coming Together” of the Regional leadership, elusive for decades, is certainly a watershed moment for the world Zarathushti community and a legacy of no small proportions, for the Dubai Congress.