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FEZANA Presentation at the United Nations CSW

Women’s Empowerment with Digitization in the Pre and Post Covid Era
Zoroastrian delegation to deliver a panel discussion at the United Nations
As part of the 67th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67)NEW YORK, March 3, 2023 – FEZANA will be participating at the 67th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Conference to be held at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA.

This year’s theme will focus on innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.  FEZANA has put together a diverse team of delegates that will be attending and representing FEZANA at the conference.

Dr. Farah Shroff (Vancouver, Canada), Dr. Zebalda Bamji (Toronto, Canada), Sharmin Mistry (Toronto, Canada), Delna Sethna (Mumbai, India), Kaizaad Kotwal (Mumbai, India), Mahabanoo Kotwal (Mumbai, India), Javeed Shaikh (Gujarat, India), Afreed Mistry (Toronto, Canada) and Behram Pastakia (Washington, DC, USA) will be representing the Zoroastrians at the UN.

A subset of the above group will be presenting a panel discussion titled, ““Women’s Empowerment with Digitization in the Pre and Post Covid Era”.  The panel will cover topics related to digitization (pre- and post-covid) concerning women.  Issues covered with be related to mental health, society, technological accessibility and women’s safety. The panel will also provide actionable ideas for wider implementation.

This panel discussion is open to all, so please register to attend.

The panel discussion details are:
Date:  Monday, March 13th, 2023
Time:  4 PM EST / 1 PM PST








Dr. Farah Shroff
Farah is a visionary Canadian public intellectual with expertise in global public health research and education.
Planet. A policy expert, she has worked within and for many governments in Canada and elsewhere.
Her research areas are integrative health approaches such as Ayurveda and yoga, and social/environmental justice-from a feminist anti-racism decolonial lens. Speaking French, Spanish and English, she has worked in many nations as an educator in academia and other communities. She founded and leads Maternal and Infant Health Canada, a global public health collaborative aiming to improve the wellbeing of women, young ones and the environment.
Harvard School of Public Health recently awarded her a mid-career fellowship, recognizing her expertise in global
public health. She works as an independent consultant, faculty member at the University of British Columbia and
teacher of yoga, dance, meditation and other mind-body activities. Dr Shroff is regularly featured in the media.


Dr. Zebalda Bamji
Zebalda has dedicated her career to improving patient outcomes and healthcare delivery systems, leveraging her profound scientific acumen and exceptional business sense. With an impressive track record of diverse leadership roles, she leads cross-functional teams in biomedical sciences, program management, and business development for multimillion-dollar high-growth initiatives in medical innovation and digital health. She has served as a top-level strategist and subject matter expert across diverse organizations from Canadian and US Health Authorities, Hospital Consortiums, Pharmaceuticals, and Research Organizations across Canada, the US, India, Nepal, China, and the EU. Dr. Bamji has earned her Executive MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, her MS and Ph.D. from Howard University College of Medicine, and her BSc. from St. Xavier’s College Mumbai. She has strategized and supported the development of 6 start-ups with intellectual property patents and venture capital funding. As a thought leader, she has delivered countless seminars and presentations, authored peer-reviewed publications, and taught thousands of medical graduate and undergraduate students over the decades. She has held faculty appointments with Howard University and Northeastern University. She serves on the Board of healthcare facilities, local NGOs, and start-ups. She is also a committed member of several International Charitable Organizations, aiding in poverty alleviation, women’s empowerment, stress relief through meditation, and scientific advancement.


Sharmin Mistry
Sharmin is originally from Mumbai, India, now residing in Toronto, Canada, Sharmin is the Assistant Secretary of the Federation of Zoroastrians of North America (FEZANA). She is a marketing graduate from Seneca College, Toronto currently working at a global media agency, Publicis Media. As a women empowerment advocate, her goal is to inspire Zoroastrian women to become an inspiration for other women, through guidance, motivation and mentorship.


Afreed Mistry
Afreed is from Toronto, Canada and has been an active member of FEZANA since 2002.  She co-chairs the FEZANA UN-NGO Committee along with Dr. Behram Pastakia.  Afreed is also the main representative for FEZANA at the United Nations.  She has attended and presented at eight United Nations’ CSW Conferences and also been a part of the UN DGC Conferences, Parliament of World’s Religions and attended numerous UN meetings.


Dr. Behram Pastakia
Chair of the Zarathushti Youth Without Borders initiative of FEZANA, and Co-Chair of its UN – NGO Committee is a practicing radiologist in Metropolitan Washington D.C. He is part of  RAD-AID International (, an NGO which promotes health care in low resource countries, through education, innovation and entrepreneurship.


About United Nations
The United Nations is central to global efforts to solve problems that challenge humanity. Cooperating in this effort are more than 30 affiliated organizations, known together as the UN sytem.  For more information visit

About the Commission on the Status of Women
The CSW is a global governmental body that is dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.  This commission was established by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1946.  Every year the CSW holds a conference in the winter for a two-week period where Un entities, Member States and Civil Society discuss issues pertaining to women, girls and gender equality.  The past 3 years this conference has been virtually hosted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

FEZANA Contact:
Sharmin Mistry, Assistant Secretary – FEZANA,, +1-416-475-6986

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Thank you – and thank you again! – Mumbai!  For your warmth, hospitality, generosity and immensely positive energy.  Thank you, artists from the dance community in my beautiful hometown, who embraced me – and my book, “Joy, Awe and Tears” – not once, but twice, in the course of my stay.  You were there for me, in spite of your busy schedules – how exhilarating is the dance scene in India! – showing a sincere and keen interest in all that I recounted of my forty years of artists’ management.  My conversation with the noted contemporary dancer, Uttara Asha Coorlawala, covered a gamut of issues: my very personal experiences in managing Indian artists in Europe, from the giants to young and upcoming musicians and dancers, the joy, awe and tears (as the title of my recent book so aptly suggests); the situation of the Indian classical performing arts – it’s scope, audiences and organisers’ reactions – on the ground in Europe and, finally, an overview of the challenges of an impresario (for Indian artists), a fascinating but all too rare and under-represented profession in both India and the west.

Thank you, Uttara Asha Coorlawala, Gauri Sharma Tripathi and Tarini Tripathi; Smt. Padma Tripathi and Smt. Darshana Jhaveri for the beautifully organised book launch.  Thank you too, Swapnokalpa Dasgupta, Head of Dance, NCPA, for following this up with the “In Conversation”, at the NCPA.  And, finally, my gratitude to all the artists and friends present at the events.  I come away, uplifted and deeply moved by all the positive and beautiful vibes that you have showered on me.  Your warmth and appreciation have touched me to the core.

My book, “Joy, Awe and Tears” is available at in India (link: JOY, AWE AND TEARS – My Association with Sargam ( and, in person, in the Parsiana bookshop in Fort, Mumbai.  On amazon in the UK (link: & Continental Europe (link: ).  At (Link: ) in Canada and USA.   It is also available directly from me, the author, in the UK and Europe (

Photos: of – and taken by – the above-mentioned organisers and attendees at both the book launch and NCPA talk.

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Medical Appeal – Havovi Rohinton Bharucha


The WZO Trust Funds requests donors, friends and well-wishers to extend timely financial support towards medical treatment of Mrs. Roshan Bharucha resident of Dadar, Mumbai who is suffering from a very rare disease called MYELODYPLASTICITY SYNDROME (MDS) which is a rare type of blood cancer for which stem-cell transplant is required.

The applicant is a widow having a young son and daughter aged 27 & 26 years.

The applicant’s husband passed away in 2018 on account of Liver Cancer and Cirrhosis with Hepatitis C which he was suffering from since 2010. During this period the family had spent Rs,3,500,000 for his treatment.

Ever since the applicant was diagnosed with MDS in 2019, she has already spent close to Rs.1,100,000 so far. The Mediclaim amount of Rs.500,000 has also been exhausted.

The estimated cost of treatment to be undertaken at Nanavati Hospital, which will be spread over a few months is as follows:


  1. If the Donor Is a family Member:


Treatment Cycles Cost Total
7 days Immunotherapy, followed by 23 days of oral medication and monitoring. 3 800,000 2,400,000
Stem Cell Transplant     2,000,000
Total     4,400,000


  1. If the Donor is NOT a family Member:


Treatment Cycles Cost Total
7 days Immunotherapy, followed by 23 days of oral medication and monitoring. 3 800,000 2,400,000
Stem Cell Transplant     5,000,000
Total     7,400,000



Upon request of the family, WZO Trust Funds have undertaken to collect donations on their behalf towards the medical treatment.


It is requested that cheques may be sent in the name of:



and sent to Trust Office at:

C-1, Hermes House, 3rd Floor,

Mama Parmanand Marg,

Opera House,

Mumbai 400 004.


Donations can also be sent directly into the bank account of The WZO Trust Funds through NEFT / RTGS as under:


Branch Address DB House,

Hazarimal Somani Marg, Fort,

Mumbai 400 001

Account No. 400004256780019
Account Type: Savings


It may be noted that:


1) IFSC Code (DEUT0784PBC) is common for all Branches of Deutsche Bank in India. For example, if Khar Branch or any other Branch gets displayed while keying inputting this IFSC Code, please go ahead and complete the online transfer


2) After doing online remittance please inform us by e-mail on, and quoting your PAN details.


Donations to The WZO Trust Funds are eligible for exemptions under Income Tax Sec. 80G(5)


We look forward to receiving support from community members for this very urgent and deserving medical case.



Very Sincerely,


Dinshaw K. Tamboly


Merzban ‘Bawa’ Patel adjudged Best Grassroots Coach at Sportstar Aces Awards 2023

Renowned hockey coach Merzban Patel won the Sportstar Aces Award 2023 for the Best Grassroots Coach at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai on Monday.

Better known as Bawa, Patel has dedicated more than 40 years of his life to grassroots coaching in hockey.

He has produced several renowned players who have gone on to represent India at the international level and also won laurels around the world.

“It is unbelievable that I am standing here among so many legends, being only a talent spotter. Forty-five years of my life I have sacrificed everything for the sake of hockey. I achieved everything that I have without the help of sponsors, without any help from the corporates, without any help from any big individuals. Despite not having any sort of academy, I have just trained on a matti ground. In spite of this, we have been able to produce so many players. I can assure you I will be producing more players in the next five years; that is my job. I would also like to thank the Odisha Chief Minister for supporting the game of hockey to this level where India is holding a World Cup,” Patel said.

The list includes former India captain and Asia Cup gold medallist Viren Rasquinha, Japan’s national team coach Jude Menezes, Gavin Ferreira, and 2011 Asian Champions Trophy winner Yuvraj Walmiki.

Adrian D’Souza and Suraj Karkare are also his former pupils. Patel is recognised across the country as one of the most prolific guides in the sport.

The septuagenarian is the co-founder of the Bombay Republicans Club (launched on Republic Day by the late B K Mohite), which participates in Mumbai tournaments and the local league.

He also set up hockey training at the Children’s Academy (Malad), and Our Lady of Dolours (Marine Lines) and their teams compete in inter-school tournaments.

Without a formal degree or diploma in hockey coaching, his forte is talent-spotting and giving exposure to young players on the Republicans’ teams. It earned him the prestigious Dronacharya Award in 2019.

Legendary India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, former India hockey captain M. M. Somaya, chess great Viswanathan Anand, former India football skipper Bhaichung Bhutia, Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and Olympians Anjali Bhagwat and Aparna Popat are the members of the Sportstar Aces 2023 jury.

The event is supported by IDFC First Bank, Indian Oil, India Cements, United India, Ramaiah University, Experimenta Science Center GD Naidu Charity, Finolex Pipes, LIC, BPCL, Samsonite, Big Basket, Nippon Paint, CRICHQ, Wordswork, NewsX and Casagrand.

Hamas-path-maedem Gahambar (Panj-e-meh)



Hamas-path-maedem Gahambar (Panj-e-meh)


Dinner & WZCC-Chicago Chapter Program


All are invited to the Hamas-path-maedem Gahambar, jointly sponsored by ZAMC and WZCC-Chicago, on Saturday, March 18, 2023, at 5:00 pm at our Dar-e-Mehr.

The seasonal calendar (also called the Fasal or Fasli calendar) has its New Year beginning on the moment of the Spring Equinox which will occur on March 20 this year. Five days prior, the Fraverdegan days which are also the five days of the Gatha and the five days of the sixth and the last Gahambar, the Hamas-path-maedem gahambar are celebrated as Panj-e-meh.


The Gahambar is about the following:

  1. YAZAD – To Pray
  2. SAZAAD – To perform duties
  3. KHURAD – To partake of a meal
  4. DAHAD – To donate (Voluntary contributions for the Gahambar, please make your check out to WZCC-Chicago Chapter. If you would like to contribute to budding Zarathushti entrepreneurs, please make check out to ZEDF.

The Gahambar program will begin at 5:00 pm, with prayers and Humbandagi invoking the blessings of the Farohars, followed by the below WZCC-Chicago program at 6:30pm


Presentation by Sam Billimoria on

Cyrus’ Cylinder and Zoroastrian Legacy in Human Rights and Commerce


Sam Billimoria is an accomplished speaker who will join us via ZOOM at the Dar-e-Mehr.                                                (See attached Agenda and his Bio)


                    Those who are interested in joining via ZOOM may join
starting at 6:30pm CT at the below Link:
                      Meeting ID: 814 3483 5290   Pass Code : 374889


Our Z-kitchen entrepreneurs will be offering their specialties.  We will discuss ZKitchen  further expansion through which our community can be served on an ongoing basis.

All are invited and encouraged to come and celebrate the ancient tradition of Gahambar and the WZCC program with us. No fees are planned (though any voluntary contribution is appreciated).

Please RSVP, no later than March 8, to Mani Rao (


Agenda & Speaker Bio



‘Wonderful leader and great friend’ – Monaz Todywalla

#InHerOwnWay: ‘Wonderful leader and great friend’ – Monaz Todywalla, PHD India

The CEO of Omnicom Media Group India traces the journey of the CEO of PHD india, who he was introduced to 22 years ago, from a Padawan at Madison the ‘evolved leader’ she is today.

To define a leader, especially someone whose presence can fill an entire room with warmth, liveliness and authority all at once, is a tough brief to crack. But the eternal ad-man in me rises up to this challenge as I pen my admiration – shared by many of my peers – for Monaz Todywalla: a CEO, leader par excellence and all-round amazing human being.

It’s been nearly 22 years since my stint at Madison, where I remember being introduced to Monaz – a young and ambitious planner; bright, diligent, and driven to achieve great heights. The spark of her being and the energy she brought into any situation was affable even then; something that made me consider her for leadership positions at Maxus later on and, more recently, at PHD.

As the adage goes, ‘you’re never too young to dream big’, and I couldn’t think of a better person than Monaz, who has championed this saying since the start of her career and lives by this truth every single day. Her transition from a planner to an evolved leader who leads with inspiration has been a beautiful journey to witness. Look closely and you’ll still see vignettes of the wide-eyed Padawan, walking in through the doors of Madison even today – with fire in her belly, curiosity to learn and steadfast integrity to uphold the highest benchmarks of delivery.

Leadership comes in many forms. Some find strength in eloquence, some in judgment, and some in courage. And then there are those that exemplify all of these and more. Monaz’s infectious enthusiasm for excellence is something that translates into a number of things for her people – be it leading with her heart and her ‘no-bullshit, no-pretense’ attitude, or the courage with which she sticks up for her people and never backs down from voicing her opinions.

I may lose track of recollecting the number of times she has gone above and beyond being a team player while standing her ground as a true taskmaster. Monaz is a fighter – she has backed me, backed her team, she has backed situations when the going gets tough, and over the years, has made several media professionals incredibly proud to work in this industry. Time and again, she has shown that staying humble, trusting people and effectively collaborating can lead to a highly engaged culture with a winning mindset.

Working passionately has always been the cornerstone of Monaz’s work ethic, and it is this passion that you can see translating into her efforts in creating an inclusive tomorrow that embraces diversity and equity across all walks of life. When she’s not striving to deliver greater value to clients beyond mandated KPIs, you can find her working away on the sidelines lending her voice to topics close to her heart across the power corridors of India’s business landscape. In a day and age where it is getting increasingly difficult to place one’s faith in people, her high moral standards, deep-rooted sense of security and taking pride in people’s success – no matter how big or small, are rare traits to behold and celebrate.

From walking the empathetic route in the shoes of her people, clients and partners to embracing the long view and owning the narrative, she has shaped the current vision and direction for PHD Media, and in turn, empowered an army of professionals to embrace the future with courage, curiosity and innovation.

To this wonderful leader and great friend – thank you for being the North Star for so many. I’m certain I speak for a good deal of people when I say that we’re so glad to have a friend and a leader like you on our side! That and of course, the endless moments of breaking bread and sharing the best food under the sun. I suppose that’s the greatest plus side of going shoulder to shoulder with an effervescent foodie – neither a dull nor a hungry moment by her side.

(The author is Group CEO, Omnicom Media Group India.)

#InHerOwnWay: ‘Wonderful leader and great friend’ – Monaz Todywalla, PHD India

Sophia College – the Parsi Connection

This used to be a palace:
The sprawling Sophia College campus in south Mumbai once belonged to the East India Company. The main building was named Somerset House after Sir Henry Somerset, one of the commanders-in-chief of the Bombay Presidency. In the early 19th century, a part of the vast property was given to a Parsi family (Ashburner). In 1882, the property was acquired by Badruddin Tyabji. Later, in 1917, one Hormusji Nosherwanjee Vakeel bought the property and added a wing. In 1923, the house was purchased by the Maharaja of Indore, who used it as a winter residence. In 1937, the Maharaja of Bhavnagar bought the property.
The college was established in 1940.
(Source: Sophia College)
Courtesy : Nauzer Bharucha
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