Teen Track at the Congress!

ShiRrin Kumana Wadia 02The XVII North American Zoroastrian Congress is pleased to present an exclusive track for our delegates aged 13 to 18 years. Over the course of three days, our teen delegates will engage in a series of workshops, discussions, and activities which will provide an opportunity for them to get to know their peers and meet other young and dynamic Zoroastrian role models.

The Teen Track will kick off with a workshop led by Shirrin Kumaana-Wadia, who has just been awarded the Outstanding Young Zarathushti Professional of the Year 2014 by the World Zoroastrian Chamber of Commerce. Entitled Zoroastrian Connection and Creativity, this workshop allows our teen delegates to interact with other Zoroastrians at the Congress using photography and social media. Delegates will engage with community members, young and old, to capture the spirit of our community.

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A second workshop entitled Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds, will expose the teens to individuals who have contributed in various ways to the Zoroastrian community. The workshop will be led by a group of panelists including Autusa Behroozi, co-founder of Raise 4 A Cause; Dinsha Mistree, co-founder of Zoroastrian Return to Roots and Agiary Connect; Afshin Sepehri, co-producer of the audio book, Stories of the Shahnameh; and Arzan Sam Wadia, founder of Parsi Khabar.  At the workshop, the delegates will brainstorm on how they can make a contribution to their community.

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In addition to the workshops, there will be two panel discussions that hone in on issues that affect teenagers today. In a panel discussion entitled Growing Up Zoro…!, our teen delegates will have the opportunity to interact with young adults who have grown up in North America, yet maintained a connection to their Zoroastrian roots. The speakers are Ervad Zerkxis Bhandara, Farhad Choksy, Shahyan Dalal, Deanyar Jahanian, Kaizeen Mody and Meher Pavri. All panel participants have distinguished themselves in their community through their active involvement and contributions. The panel of speakers will s hare their stories about building bonds within our community while navigating various cultures in middle school, high school and college.

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The second panel – Making It Happen! –  focuses on career choices and showcases successful young Zoroastrians who have pursued careers that involve doing what they love. An opportunity for a candid Q&A with panelists is presented after the session. The panel includes attorney Shehnaz Bhujwala, entrepreneur Zubin D. Mehta, filmmaker Yaz Rabadi, musician Mahfrin Santoke and systems engineer Anahita Sidhwa.

Additionally, as part of the program, our teen delegates will attend the opening and closing ceremonies of the Congress, sessions on the main Congress tracks that may be of interest to them, receive a private tour of the Shahnameh Exhibition, including a private reading of the Shahnameh by Afshin Sephari and his 10 year old daughter Nusha Sephari. Opportunities for social interaction are plentiful at the Congress and we are pleased to provide a Game Room to our teens as well, so that they may hang out with friends in a casual setting.

For many teenagers, this may be their first Congress experience.  We hope our young delegates will leave the Congress with a passion to learn more about our religion, a commitment to follow the righteous path of Zoroastrianism, and an enthusiasm to remain active and involved in our community.