Dr. Hamed Esmaeilion spoke at the reception. A dentist and an award-winning writer, he lost his wife Parisa and only daughter, Reera, in the tragedy. As president and spokesperson for the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims, Dr. Esmaeilion shared the moving story of how the bereaved families united to seek answers and justice for their loved ones, and to keep alive the memories of the lost.
The scholarship is part of that effort. In the days after the tragedy in 2020, Rahim Rezaie, an independent consultant with Academics Without Borders, and Mehrdad Hariri, CEO and President of the Canadian Science Policy Centre, worked with U of T to establish the fund. As the fundraising efforts began, Rezaie said, “We felt that the broader community could use some way to channel our grief into a more hopeful outlet.”
The Iranian Student Memorial Scholarship Fund aims to raise a minimum $250,000, with the University providing matching funds at an effective rate of 3:1. The University will match funds raised after this amount 1:1. Thanks to generous donor support from around the world, the fund has raised more than $180,000 to date. Those donors have changed the lives of seven Iranian students, studying in fields from music to computer science. Hitting our goal will ensure we can support even more recipients.
”Higher education, science, and research have been a big and bold part of the legacy of PS752, as 80 of the passengers were from the scientific community,” said Hariri. “And now the Iranian Student Memorial Scholarship Fund, which has been replicated in many universities across the country, reminds us of the legacy of those victims and their contribution to science and higher education in Canada.”