Canadian scholarships honour Flight 752 victims
The fatal plane crash in Iran killed the 176 passengers and crew onboard – 57 of whom were Canadian – in January 2020.
The federal government has said it will formally establish a scholarship program which is expected to disburse 176 scholarships averaging $25,000 for each beneficiary.
It is designed to strengthen the bonds between people through international academic exchanges, and is open to both international and Canadian students.
“We will continue to stand by the families of victims, and through the scholarship program and commemoration tribute, we will continue to remember and honour their legacies,” said Canada’s minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly.
It has also implemented a new permanent residence pathway for certain families of the victims inside and outside Canada, the government added.
In 2021, Ontario set up a scholarship fund to remember the victims, with $10,000 allocated in remembrance of each of the 57 Canadians.
“Nearly two years have passed since this terrible tragedy, but I can still remember how incredibly shocked and saddened I was when I first received the news about Flight 752 – and I’m sure the families and loved ones of the victims still feel that devastating moment deeply,” said premier of Ontario Doug Ford.
“I would like to extend my sincere condolences to those impacted by this tragedy and hope they find some small comfort in this continued scholarship funding that will honour the memories of those 57 Canadians we lost.”
The same colleges and universities that disbursed the scholarship in 2021 will do the same in 2022. The scholarships are allocated to the institutions that 34 victims belonged to, with the remainder assigned to other eligible institutions based on a competitive process.
Many victims were students and professors at postsecondary institutions in the province, with 15 institutions losing students or faculty.
“We can never replace the loss of so many bright and promising scholars, educators – and above all – loved ones, but we hope to honour their memories through the continuation of this scholarship fund,” added Jill Dunlop, Ontario’s minister of Colleges and Universities.
“We hope to honour their memories through the continuation of this scholarship fund”
Victims from Iran included Dalhousie University master’s student Masoumeh “Masi” Ghavi who “tackled everything with unabated enthusiasm and deep interest”, according to her teacher William Robertson, director of the Internetworking program at Dalhousie.
First-year University of Victoria student Roja Omidbakhsh was also said to have been a very positive member of the institution’s community with a “keen interest in marketing”.
Iran admitted to accidentally shooting down the plane shortly after it took off from Tehran for Kyiv on January 8, 2020.
“It is with great sympathy that we continue to grieve the loss of so many talented students, faculty and other victims – and I hope this scholarship fund pays tribute in a small way,” added Goldie Ghamari, parliamentary assistant to the minister of Colleges and Universities in Ontario.
Both Canadian and international students will be eligible for the federal scholarships, which will aim to launch its first call for applications in the fall/winter of 2023/24.
The federal government has also indicated it will consult families who lost members in the 2019 Flight ET302 disaster in Ethiopia on a similar scholarship initiative in memory of the victims.