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Mehraban Badiei Ardestani, Saeed Kadkhodazadeh Kashani, and Alma Oladi. Photos: via U of O Gazette

Iranian Students Memorial Scholarship will be given annually to Iranian students who demonstrate financial need

The University of Ottawa has launched a scholarship fund to honour the three students from the university who died in a plane crash near Tehran, Iran earlier this month.

The three students — Mehraban Badiei Ardestani, an undergraduate health sciences student, Alma Oladi, a graduate student who was completing a PhD in mathematics, and Saeed Kadkhodazadeh Kashani, a graduate student who was completing a PhD in chemistry — were among the 176 people killed when an Iranian missile shot down their Ukraine-bound passenger jet just minutes after its departure on Jan. 8.

“We grieve their loss to our community, and we miss the positive impact they surely would have had on the world around them,” said U of O president Jacques Frémont in a statement. “The creation of this scholarship is our way not only to commemorate them, but also to support students as they pursue their education.”

The Iranian Students Memorial Scholarship will be given annually to Iranian students at the university who demonstrate financial need. The scholarship is established in collaboration with the Canadian Science Policy Centre (CSPC) and the U of O will match all donations to the fund up to a maximum total of $100,000.

“This tragic event was an immense loss of talent for science: at least 85 members of the scientific community lost their lives,” said CSPC president and CEO Mehrdad Hariri in a statement. 

“It is important to remember this tragedy, and those who lost their lives, and it is encouraging to see that the U of O and other universities are stepping forward with memorial funds and scholarships named for the victims to continue their legacy of contributing to Canadian science.”

The scholarship will be managed by the U of O’s Development Office and will be open to undergraduate and graduate students. The university says the application process and deadlines for the scholarship are still being determined. 

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