The University of Ottawa has launched a fundraiser for a new scholarship in honour of the three international students enrolled at the school who died when a Ukrainian airliner was shot down near Tehran, Iran, on Jan. 8, killing everyone on board.
Heath sciences undergraduate student Mehraban Badiei Ardestani and PhD students Saeed Kadkhodazadeh Kashani and Alma Oladi were all returning to the national capital after visiting their families over the holidays in Iran, according to uOttawa.
“The uOttawa community came together on January 10 to mourn the loss of these bright minds, who were all set on making a difference,” uOttawa president and vice-chancellor Jacques Frémont said in a statement on Tuesday. “We grieve their loss to our community, and we miss the positive impact they surely would have had on the world around them.
“The creation of this scholarship is our way not only to commemorate them but also to support students as they pursue their education.”
The Ottawa university says the new scholarship will be awarded every year to Iranian undergraduate and graduate students “who demonstrate financial need.”
uOttawa will match all donations “up to a maximum total of $100,000” for the grant, which has been named the Iranian Students Memorial Scholarship, according to the statement.
The Canadian Science Policy Centre has collaborated with uOttawa to establish the new fund, the statement noted.
“This tragic event was an immense loss of talent for science: at least 85 members of the scientific community lost their lives,” the centre’s CEO and president, Mehrdad Hariri, said in the release.
“It is important to remember this tragedy and those who lost their lives, and it is encouraging to see that the University of Ottawa and other universities are stepping forward with memorial funds and scholarships named for the victims to continue their legacy of contributing to Canadian science.”
Kashani had been working towards a doctorate in chemical engineering and Oladi had just completed her first year of a PhD in mathematics and statistics, according to uOttawa.
Last week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that the province is creating 57 new post-secondary scholarships to honour the victims of the Iran plane crash.
-With a file from The Canadian Press