Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Award being offered in memory of four UBC students killed on flight PS752

"There is a phrase that goes, 'Turn great sadness into great work.' And that scholarship is an example of that," says the brother of one of the victims.

A new student award is being offered at the University of British Columbia to remember four students who died while on flight PS752. 

The Iranian Student Memorial Award will be awarded annually in memory of the four UBC students who perished on Jan. 8, 2020: Dr. Mehran Abtahi, Niloofar Razzaghi, Zeynab Asadi Lari and Mohammadhossein Asadi Lari.

Flight PS752, en route to Kyiv, Ukraine, was shot down shortly after taking off from Iran's capital of Tehran.

“We hope that this new Iranian Student Memorial Award will help us to memorialize those we lost by providing new opportunities for students to flourish and succeed here at UBC,” says the school's president and vice-chancellor Santa J. Ono.

Abtahi joined UBC in October of 2020 as a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of civil engineering.

His brother, Arman Abtahi, lives in Vancouver and says having the award means a lot for his family. 

“Now that UBC launched this Iranian Student Memorial Award, it's good news to the Iranian community,” he says. “There is a phrase that goes, 'Turn great sadness into great work.' And that scholarship is an example of that.”

Before his death, Abtahi was working on a proposal to remove nanoplastic materials from the Fraser River. 

“He was a very kind and genuine person... he was really helpful. He was like a big brother, and a father to me. He was a great husband. He was a great child to my parents,” Arman says, adding his brother felt at home in Vancouver.

“He was... like an activist towards environmental issues. And I want people to remember him as a scientist and as an activist.”

Razzaghi graduated with a bachelor of science in math in May, 2010 and a bachelor of education in November 2018. Zeynab was enrolled at UBC in 2016 in the bachelor of science program, with a biology major. Mohammadhossein graduated in 2018 with a bachelor of science degree in cellular, anatomical and physiological sciences with honours standing.

According to a UBC spokesperson, the scholarship will be given out to one Iranian student per school year ($2,400), up until the total scholarship bucket of $60,000 is exhausted. 

No other key requirements are needed, other than being Iranian.