Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi says the university will announce an initiative to honour two Ryerson alumni lost in tragedy
The Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science together with the Iranian Students’ Association held a remembrance ceremony on Wednesday afternoon to honour the lives of the 176 victims of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752, including two who were Ryerson alumni.
On Jan.8, Iran mistakenly shot down the Kiev-bound Ukrainian airliner with two Russian-made, surface-to-air missiles. The plane, which had just taken off from Tehran, crashed immediately, killing all 176 passengers — 57 of whom were Canadian.
The married couple Mahsa Amirliravi and Mohsen Salahi were both Ryerson engineering graduates and met during their time at Ryerson.
Goldie Ghamari, the MPP for Carleton and an Iranian-Canadian, spoke at the vigil and extended her condolences to the victims and the whole Ryerson community.
“Being a politician and making speeches is fine. I’ve spoken to many individuals — but this is probably the hardest speech I’ve ever had to make,” said Ghamari, fighting back tears. “The Iranian community is hurting; the Ryerson community is hurting. The rest of Ontario is hurting along with you.”
Members of Ryerson’s Iranian community gathered in the Sears Atrium at the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre and had the opportunity to write messages of condolences in notebooks for the victims affected by the tragedy.
Traditional Iranian sweets such as dates and halva were also given — a ritual Iranians offer at every funeral.
In an interview with the Ryersonian, Elly Khosravi, vice-president of finance of Ryerson’s Iranian Students’ Association (ISARU), said she was shocked upon hearing the news on the night of Jan. 8.
Although no one in the club itself knew the victims, “all of their friends” had personal connections with them, said Khosravi.
“This just shows how everyone is separated, far away. We want to use this opportunity to come together and support each other way more at Ryerson,” said Khosravi.
Khosravi, a Hamilton native, said that her mom supports Iranian newcomers and knew of people that lost loved ones in the downing of the flight.
“I’ve experienced it now here and at McMaster,” said Khosravi. “I just want us all to be kinder and enjoy the time we have.”
In January, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a post-secondary scholarship to honour the victims of the Iran plane downing. The government will disperse $10,000 scholarships in memory of the 57 Canadian victims, with the money being available for the start of the 2021-22 academic year.
As for Ryerson, president Mohamed Lachemi said at the ceremony that the university will announce an initiative to honour the two alumni in the near future.
A donation page has also been set up by the university for those wishing to remember the victims and contribute to future FEAS Ryerson students.