As Europe, in reaction to the obscurantism and the intolerance of the Middle Ages, moved towards the Renaissance and searched for a secular cultural reference in the Greek and Roman civilizations, a large part of the world still seemed stuck, unable to take the first steps
towards the intellectual and cultural renewal.
We believe that as long as this renewal does not happen, then cultural misery will persist, creating a favorable breeding ground to this same obscurantism and intolerance, which in turn will lead to conflicts and dispersion.
It is in this perspective that, in the face of one of the major upheavals in our time – the one which for 26 years has shaken Iran and her neighboring countries in Central Asia; Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and the Caucasus - countries that share the same cultural and historic background, and seeing how these upheavals influence and affect Europe, that we have attempted to coordinate our actions centrally through the European Centre for Zoroastrian Studies.
This action has taken the form of publications (74), conferences (close to 150) and international congresses (7). We have also followed a less traveled, but nevertheless fundamental road: we have plunged the depths of history to search, find and bring to our own time the precise and unadulterated references of the humanistic values of this civilization's cultural heritage.
We are convinced that only these cultural values – stripped of any religious aspect – highlighted as reference values, can trigger a debate of ideas and reflections that will be able to push forward a culture that is stuck in time.
Why “Zoroastrian Studies”?
The choice of a cultural and a secular centre in the name of “Zoroastrian Studies” is motivated by three main reasons:
1. Bring Europe closer to the above-mentioned countries by proving the common historic roots of their humanistic and cultural values that are 2,500 years old.
The academic work undertaken over two hundred years on this subject demonstrates the essential role played by Zarathustra throughout history as a cultural link between Europe and this part of Asia. (See pages 3-6 of this text “What are Zoroastrian Studies?”)
2. Build up the roots of a cultural renewal in the sense of opening and humanism that draws its values from the historical heritage of the region above – as Europe of the Renaissance experienced.
3. Finally, meet the needs and act upon the wishes of thousands of people living in Europe whom we have met at our conferences, congresses and forums. The figure “thousands of people” which is only a rough figure is increasing rapidly. Those in particular who recently settled in Europe to flee Islamic regimes are the most enthusiastic. They are trying, and with good reason, to project a different image of themselves, even another cultural identity.
This is a new and extremely encouraging element. It is also the most effective means of integration for tens of thousands of people living in Europe.
Now, the timing is right; the moment chosen to centralize our efforts through such a Centre could not be more favorable.
To reach these objectives, the “European Centre for Zoroastrian Studies” which is above all a secular and a humanist Centre will create a space where those who are involved in research and those interested in the humanistic and existential thoughts of Zarathustra, and especially in
* his contribution to the formation of the European culture
* his influence on the foundation of the identity of peoples from Persia and Central Asia
* his contribution to the formation of humanistic values, common to the European culture and to that of Persia and Central Asia, can meet and present the results of their work
To achieve this aim, the Centre will organize courses, conferences, congresses, concerts, exhibitions, poetry nights, debates and many other activities in line with this subject, and will publish selected articles, as well as a monthly newsletter.
The functioning of the Centre
In order that the Centre may meet its three most important objective already described , it has to count on two essential sorts of contributions:
1. Honorary. The Centre must enjoy respectability. Already the most experienced and the most respected scholars in this field, Professor Jacques Duchesne Guillemin (University of Liège) has accepted to become its Honorary President.
THe Center is headed and managed by
Dr. Khosro Khazai (Pardis), Ph.D who has been active for the past 30 years as professor and scholar in the field of Iranian and Zoroastrian studies.
We will naturally welcome anybody interested in this field that would like to contribute to this project.
2. Financial. Up to now the Centre has been financed exclusively through donations. The generous donators mainly in Spain, in America and in France help us for the rent and expenses of the Centre's office situated in the historical heart of Brussels (Belgium). It is worth to note that everybody in this Centre work strictly in benevolent terms.
The annual Membership fees is fixed a symbolic 30€ per year.
THe centre's Bank account is Fortis Bank, Dieweg street 99, 1180 Brussels, Belgium, account Number 001-4010131-33.
If donations are transferred from a country out of Belgium, the following account number should be used:
IBAN BE79 0014 0101 3133
We hope that the aim and the interest of the Centre – which as far as we know is unique in its objectives and motivation – have been clearly explained and understood.
Dr. Khosro Khazai