Waterloo, Guelph universities plan moment of silence for Iran plane crash victims

Ontario Premier Doug Ford spoke at a memorial for the Canadians killed when Iran shot down a Ukrainian jetliner near Tehran on Wednesday, Jan. 8, asking those impacted to reach out to his office if they "need support."

Universities in Guelph and Waterloo will be observing a moment of silence on Wednesday for the victims of the Iran plane crash.

The University of Guelph and the University of Waterloo each lost two PhD students in last week’s tragedy which claimed the lives of 176 people including 57 Canadians.

Hundreds gather at vigil for Guelph PhD students killed in Iran plane crash

The U of G said Ghanimat Azhdari was studying in the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics, while Milad Ghasemi Ariani was studying in the Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies.

Azhdari was described as someone who had a giant-sized personality in a petite body, while Ariani had quickly become a mentor of sorts to so many classmates and faculty members.

Marzieh (Mari) Foroutan was a PhD student in geography and Mansour Esnaashary Esfahani was a PhD student in civil engineering at the University of Waterloo.

Friends said Foroutan was a hardworking scholar while Esfahani was known for his friendly smile and pleasant demeanour.

All four were among the passengers and crew who died on Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 last week.

Iranian officials admitted on Saturday that its Revolutionary Guard had shot down the plane by mistake amid escalating tensions with the United States in the Middle East.

Without recent escalations, Iran plane crash victims would be ‘home with their families’: Trudeau

The University of Waterloo will be hosting a memorial at Federation Hall at noon on Wednesday to honour and celebrate the lives of Foroutan and Esfahani.

The University of Guelph held a vigil at War Memorial Hall for Azhdari and Ariani last week but will observe Wednesday’s moment of silence in Branion Plaza at 12:45 p.m.

There will also be a memorial tree dedication ceremony in the arboretum in the fall.

Wilfrid Laurier University said their community will observe the moment of silence as well.

Remarks will begin at 12:45 p.m. in the senate and board chamber of the Waterloo Campus. There will also be gathering at Laurier’s Kitchener location and Toronto office, along with its Brantford Campus in the west lobby of the research and academic centre.

Iran plane crash victim from University of Waterloo was home to see her mother

The nationwide moment of silence is being organized by Universities Canada.

Fifty-one of the plane’s 176 passengers were employed at or studying in 23 Canadian post-secondary institutions.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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