Universities across Canada hold moment of silence for plane crash victims
Universities across Canada held a moment of silence today to honour the 176 victims of a plane crash in Iran last week.
Many students, faculty and researchers from more than a dozen Canadian universities were among those who died when the Ukraine International Airlines flight was shot down.
Some universities are also holding memorial services today to remember those they lost.
Similar events have played out in cities across the country over the last week.
The Canadian Press has independently confirmed at least 89 victims with ties to Canada, many of them students and professors returning after spending the December break visiting relatives in Iran.
The University of Waterloo held a tribute Wednesday to two of its PhD students — Marzieh (Mari) Foroutan, who was in the faculty of environment, Mansour Esfahani, of the faculty of engineering — and three alumni.
“We have lost so much life and love,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, the university’s president.
Mazda Kompanizare, a close friend to Foroutan and a research associate at the school who also came from Iran, said she had a “deep heart.”
“You have gone and your passing has left a burning fire in our hearts,” he said.
Western University, in London, Ont., will host a memorial in the late afternoon to celebrate the lives of Hadis Hayatdavoudi, Milad Nahavandi, Ghazal Nourian, who were graduate students, and Sajedeh Saraeian, an incoming student.
Paul Davidson, president and CEO of Universities Canada, said it wanted to mark the one-week anniversary of the devastating incident.
“It’s been a very tough week on campuses right across the country as so many people who perished have got connections to the university community,” he said.
“The loss to our community is profound, the loss of potential, the really bright minds and engaged people who were pursuing research interests that were diverse, that were from all fields…it’s a very far-reaching loss.”
Davidson said “virtually every campus” will be taking part in Wednesday’s tribute.
The University of Toronto launched a scholarship fund Wednesday to honour the memory of six students and two others with close ties to the school who died in the crash. The school said the Iranian Student Memorial Scholarship Fund would provide money to international students from Iran or students from any background taking Iranian studies at the university.
The university said it will contribute three dollars for every dollar donated to the fund up to $250,000, and will match dollar-for-dollar the money raised beyond that.
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne is set to arrive in London this morning ahead of a meeting of the International Co-ordination and Response Group for families of victims of Flight PS752.
Representatives of Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and Britain are to be at Thursday’s meeting at Canada’s high commission.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Jan. 15, 2020.
The Canadian Press