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Intergroup Relations and Group Maintenance

From: The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples/Parsis/Jamshed Mavalwala

Zoroastrians have been well received in Canada. The community has moved quickly to adapt to Canadian ways, and many of its members have gained national and international prominence in their fields of endeavour. They have done particularly well in business, education, and medicine. Members of the community participate enthusiastically in Canadian society. Many have served or are currently serving on various bodies of the provincial governments and in volunteer organizations. Jamshid Pavri, a Parsi who settled in Vancouver in the early part of this century, was twice honoured as Citizen of the Year by the city of Vancouver for his dedicated service to his fellow citizens. Rohinton Mistry, also a Parsi, is one of Canada’s leading writers (his most recent book being the internationally acclaimed A Fine Balance, published in 1995). The provincial Zoroastrian societies in Canada continue to conduct active outreach programs. In addition, these associations have initiated the North American Zoroastrian congresses. The first North American Zoroastrian Congress, organized by the Zoroastrian Society of Ontario, was held in Toronto in 1974. About 200 people attended from all over North America to discuss issues of survival in North America. These congresses have now become an established part of the life of North American Zoroastrians and serve to bring the small and scattered local communities together.

During the fifth North American Zoroastrian Congress, held in Los Angeles in 1985, a proposal to organize a North American Zoroastrian organization was broached. After considerable dialogue the Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America (FEZANA) was registered in the State of Illinois in 1987. The current president is Dolly Dastoor of Montreal. The North American Mobeds Council (an association of priests from the Zoroastrian community in Canada and the United States) informs both members of the community and other North Americans about Zoroastrian traditions. Canadian Zoroastrian priests also take part in the Council of Iranian Mobeds of North America (a council of priests of Iranian origin). The general feeling in the Zoroastrian community in Canada is that its members made a good decision in immigrating to Canada. Zoroastrians look forward with optimism to forging their modern identity in this land.