2012 Awardees

The 2012 North American Zarathushti Community Awards presented at the XVI North American Zarathushti Congress hosted by the Zoroastrian Association of Greater New York in partnership with The Iranian Zoroastrian Association and sponsored by the Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America

August 2, 2012

Rohinton Rivetna Outstanding Zarathushti Award

Firdosh D. Mehta

image_thumb Born in Mumbai, India, Firdosh Mehta is a graduate of Shivaji University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the latter from where he received his Master’s degree in Mechanical/Industrial Engineering. He is a registered professional engineer, and a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He is highly regarded within his profession, receiving numerous awards from both Canadian and American engineering societies. Firdosh has also been involved with the Zarathushti community in North America for over 32 years. He is a past president of FEZANA, and currently serves as the Chair of the FEZANA External Affairs Committee. He has volunteered his services not only to the community at large but very specifically to the youth, serving on various organizing committees for a few of the World Zarathushti Youth Congresses. For his community service and professional achievements, The Vision Foundation, based in Ahmedabad, India, awarded him the Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Visionary Award. Firdosh’s scholarship and knowledge of the Zoroastrian religion has made him a popular presenter at various universities, interfaith groups and Zarathushti associations throughout North America. He has represented the community at many international religious and peace conferences. Furthermore, Firdosh was instrumental in establishing the Zarathushti Symphony Orchestra comprised of all Zoroastrian musicians who have performed at various World and North American Zarathushti Congresses. He has been a visionary, a mentor, and an unflagging crusader of the Zoroastrian faith and its values, and his outstanding leadership and service have furthered the cause of the Zarathushti community in North America.

Jamshed Pavri Humanitarian Service Award

Freyaz K. Shroff

image_thumb1   Originally from Mumbai, India, Freyaz Shroff is an ardent and passionate proponent for the rights of all people. Her commitment to humanitarian causes is well known and recognized both in North America and internationally, as is her expertise in conceiving and executing various humanitarian programs which touch all walks of life and people. For example, she setup the first toll-free critical assistance telephone line which allows Zarathushti victims of domestic violence and families to seek assistance. She also chaired a program that builds classrooms for a children’s shelter home. Currently, Freyaz is working in Mumbai with the Colaba Municipal School overseeing over 100 low-income students. Freyaz is a Co-Chair of the FEZANA Welfare Committee and a devoted volunteer with the World Zoroastrian Organization Trust, volunteering her time and effort without hesitation. Previously, she was a Co-Chair of the Zoroastrian Youth of North America, and a volunteer with the Parsi Resource Group through which she set up a youth education sponsorship program for the children of Zarathushti priests in India. Recently, Freyaz also represented FEZANA at the United Nation Commission on the Status of Women speaking about how to empower rural women to overcome poverty and hunger. As someone who recommended her stated, “Freyaz epitomizes one of the fundamental objectives of FEZANA, which is that we Zarathushtis are a community without borders.”

Previous recipients

1990 Mrs. Sabar E. PatelMrs. Paridokht Zartoshty & Ervad Mehraban Zartoshty 2004 Mrs. Mehru Cama & Dr. Lovji Cama
1992 Mr. Rustom Irani 2007 Dr. Russi D. Balsara
1994 Mr. Minoo Treasurywala 2010 Mr. Farrokh Namdaran
1996 Mrs. Katy Driver
1998 Mrs. Yasmin Ghadiali & Mr. Jamshed Ghadiali
2002- Ms. Bella Tata


Shirin Nariman Dastoor Outstanding Young Zarathushti Student Award

Ervad Bahrom F. Firozgary

image_thumb2 Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Ervad Bahrom F. Firozgary is presently a rising junior at Rice University majoring in Biochemistry and Cellular Biology. His academic goal is to study medicine with the hope of one day becoming a surgeon. Along with his difficult and demanding course load, and maintaining a very high grade point average, Bahrom participates in numerous extracurricular activities. He is an avid musician, an academic mentor, a basketball player, an Eagle Scout, a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, and a volunteer with the Baylor College of Medicine Shoulder-to-Shoulder program in Honduras – just to name a few. He is also an active member of the Zoroastrian Association of Houston, who as a Navar has performed many jashans for the Houston Zarathushti community including the grand jashan during the 5th World Zoroastrian Congress. During his academic career, Bahrom has been the recipient of numerous awards. These include the Houston Congress Legacy Award, the Ahura Vakhshoori Scholarship, and the Fali Chothia Charitable Trust Scholarship. These significant accomplishments, together with his sense of responsibility, character, and deep and abiding faith in the Zarathushti faith make Bahrom the 2012 recipient for this award.

Previous recipients

1988 Mr. Zubin J. Panthaky 1998 Mr. Phiroz Tarapore
1990 Mr. Neville M. Billimoria 2004 Mr. Boman Irani
1992 Ms. Shanaya Deboo & Mr. Murzban F. Morris 2007 Ms. Anahita Dua
1994 Mr. Cyrus Hirjibehedin 2010 Mr. Dinyar P. Patel
1996 Mr. Arash Anoshiravani

Dr. Shahrokh Khanizadeh

A graduate of Tehran University and McGill University, the latter from where he received his Ph.D. in Tree Fruit Physiology, Dr. Shahrokh Khanizadeh is a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada who is internationally recognized for his knowledge and expertise in fruit genetics and fruit breeding. He has developed cold-hardy, disease-resistant fruit varieties through the use of new techniques in plant breeding, including several unique strawberries and apples, and has developed software, databases and books on new methods of fruit breeding processes. Shahrokh has over 200 publications, 12 books and 14 Journal cover stories to his name, and is a frequent speaker on fruit breeding at international conferences. Three of his books are currently used as reference books both in Canada and internationally. He has also served as President of the Canadian Society for Horticultural Science, and is presently serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Plant Science.

For his innovative work and leadership in the field of genetic enhancement, Shahrokh has received the Gold Harvest Award from the Government of Canada. He is also recognized internationally as a highly creative scientist whose devotion to his field has led to a revolution in fruit breeding. Apart from these towering professional accomplishments, Shahrokh has donated his technical and artistic publishing experience to the Zarathushti community. Since 2006, he has designed the graphic layout of each FEZANA Journal with meticulous care. In addition, he has volunteered to put all past issues of the FEZANA Journal on the internet such that they are in a format which is visible and recognized by internet search engines.

Previous recipients

1990 Mr. Meherwan Boyce 2002 Mr. Firdaus Bhathena
1992 Mr. Jamshed Mavalwala &Mr. Mehli Mehta 2004 Dr. Dhun Noria
1994 Dr. Jehan Bagli 2007 Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna
1996 Mrs. Mehroo Jussawalla &Mr. Adi Dastur 2010 Dr. Noshir A. Langrana
1998 Dr. Yasmin Thanavala

Jamshed and Shirin Guzdar Excellence in Business or Profession Award


Dr. Firdaus S. Dhabhar

image_thumb4 A graduate of Dartmouth College, the London School of Economics, and The Rockefeller University from where he received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences in Immunology and Neuroendocrinology, Dr. Firdaus S. Dhabhar has been a pioneer in the studies of how short-term fight-or-flight stress response can enhance immunity. His research, which is multi-disciplinary and straddles many fields including immunology, psychiatry and neuroendocrinology, has resulted in groundbreaking work and a paradigm shift in a field that once had only been focused on the harmful effects of stress. Firdaus’ work is supported by the MacArthur Foundation and the National Institute of Health, and is internationally recognized such that he is one of only a few researches in his field who has been invited to collaborate with colleagues at other prestigious universities. Presently, Firdaus is Director of Research at the Stanford Center on Stress and Health, and holds appointments with the Stanford University School of Medicine. He is known to have tremendous discipline and passion for his work in biomedical research, often working 18-hour days. As a result, his professional accomplishments both as a professor and head of a research laboratory have made him a media favorite as there have been over 70 press and media reports on him and his work. Firdaus has also published extensively in scholarly and scientific journals, and is the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Council of Graduate School Distinguished Dissertation Award which is awarded once every two years to an individual who has made an “unusually significant contribution to life sciences.” Firdaus is an ordained priest, having completed the Navar ceremony.

Mehraban Zartoshty Outstanding Young Zarathushti Award

Narius K. Dastur

image_thumb5 Narius K. Dastur is a graduate of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. He currently works as an Information Technology technician for an integrated police agency. Even though he graduated recently and has been working for only two years, he has advanced quickly in his career and has even been given the opportunity to work internationally. Narius also currently works part-time for the New Westminster Police Department where he had previously volunteered in their Crime Prevention Unit and has volunteered over 800 hours. For his service, Narius was awarded the New Westminster Police Department Volunteer of the Year award in 2007, and the 5 Years of Volunteer Service award in 2011. Narius grew up in Vancouver and has been an active member of the Zoroastrian Society of British Columbia (ZSBC) from a young age. In 2004, he became ZSBC’s webmaster, at first to manage their website but then later to redesign it. He continues to maintain it to this day, and has subsequently created a mailing list through the ZSBC website which allows members automatic distribution of announcements and management of subscriptions. Furthermore, when ZSBC hosted the 9th North American Zarathushti Games and the 5th World Zoroastrian Youth Congress, Narius developed their respective websites and managed their content.

Previous recipients

1988 Prof. Jamsheed Choksy 2002 Ms. Sherazade Mehta
1990 Mr. Sarosh V. Kanga 2004 Ms. Susan Karani
1992 Mr. Mehran Sepehri 2007 Mr. Dinsha F. Mistree
1994 Mr. Darius Bagli
1998 Mrs. Parastu Dubash &Mr. Orang Demehry

North American Mobeds Council Community Services Award

Ervad Zerkxis Z. Bhandara

image_thumb6 Zerkxis Z. Bhandara lives in California and intends to be a well- rounded and well-educated Zarathushti priest. Although he is only 17, he has already performed numerous jashans, last rites, wedding and navjote ceremonies. Recently, along with his father, Zerkxis has been holding weekly humbandagi sessions at the new Zoroastrian Association of California (ZAC) center, leading the prayers as well as preparing the lunch for those members in attendance. He has also taken the lead on officiating ceremonies for the ZAC community. Despite devoting almost all of his free time to serving the community, Zerkxis has not let his education slide and maintains a high grade point average while taking a challenging load of Advanced Placement and honors high school courses. Zerkxis remains true to his priestly profession, praying one to two hours a day, keeping a fire at this residence which burns continuously, and performing the Boi ceremony daily. He also helps out other young mobeds in performing jashans and navjotes. At the end of each year according to the Shenshai calendar, Zerkxis and his family hold the Muktad prayers at their residence. Zerkxis has been instrumental in making certain that the prayer ceremonies during the ten days are performed, that all names are collected well in advance, and that all the items necessary for performing the Muktad prayers including the food are properly prepared. His devotion, compassion, and service to the Southern California Zarathushti community are truly outstanding, and he is therefore well-deserving of the first NAMC Community Services Award.

Dinshaw Framroze Joshi Excellence in

Performing Arts, Painting or Literature Award

Rohinton Mistry

image_thumb7 A writer par excellence, whose books are recognized nationally and internationally, Rohinton Mistry originally hails from Mumbai, India, where he completed a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and economics from St. Xavier’s College. He moved to Canada in 1975, and in 1983, he began writing fiction in response to a short story competition at the University of Toronto. His entry won first prize that year and his subsequent entry won again a year later. In 1985, Rohinton left his bank job to write full time, and in 1987 published his collection of short stories, Tales from Firozsha Baag, which became a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. Since then, he has written three novels, all of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His second novel, A Fine Balance, was the winner of several prizes including the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, the Royal Society of Literature’s Winifred Holtby Award, and Denmark’s ALOA Prize. It was selected for Oprah’s Book Club, and Rohinton subsequently appeared on the Oprah Show in January 2002. Family Matters, Rohinton’s third novel, has also won several prizes and accolades including the Canadian Authors Association Fiction Award. Rohinton is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Trudeau Fellows Prize by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, and honorary doctorates from the University of Ottawa, York University, and the University of Toronto. In 2009, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and recently he was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize. Rohinton’s writings have been translated in more than thirty languages, and he is considered today to be one of the most important international writers in the world. Previous recipients

2002 Ms. Bapsi Sidhwa
2004 Mr. Farobag Cooper
2007 Mr. Dinyar J. Vania
2010 Ms. Kayhan N. Irani

FEZANA represents a diverse and growing Zarathushti community in North America.

Guided by the blessings of AHURA MAZDA and the teachings of our Prophet Zarathushtra; the Federation was founded in 1987 It serves as the coordinating body for 26 Zoroastrian Associations and 14 Corresponding Groups in the United States and Canada.

The activities of FEZANA are conducted in a spirit of mutual respect, co-operation and unity amongst all Member associations, and with due regard for the principles of GOODNESS, TRUTH, REASON, BENEVOLENCE, IMPLICIT TRUST and CHARITY towards all Mankind.

:+: Baname Khoda Kshnothro Ahura Mazda