Update on tragedy in Iran from Provost Teri Balser and President Deep Saini

- January 9, 2020

The following message from Provost Teri Balser and President Deep Saini was sent to the Dal community Thursday afternoon (January 9).

We continue to have an immense sense of grief over yesterday’s news. The deaths of those aboard Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 represent a huge loss: to Halifax, to Canada, to our broader academic community across the country and beyond, and, most of all, to the family, friends and colleagues of those who lost their lives.

We can now share that there were two known Dal individuals on the flight:

Masoumeh “Masi” Ghavi was a master’s student in Internetworking in the Faculty of Engineering, who moved to Nova Scotia from Iran last summer. She also working locally with a Bedford-based I.T. company. She was travelling with her younger sister, Mandieh, who was coming to Halifax to begin studies of her own.

Sharieh Faghihi came to Dal in 2014 as a Qualifying Program student in the Faculty of Dentistry. Born in Tehran, she obtained her DDS from Tehran University followed by a masters in periodontology. With her husband and two children, Sharieh immigrated to Canada in 2011. After graduating from Dal in 2016, she returned to the Faculty to teach in the Division of Periodontology in 2017 and also worked in private practice in Halifax. She loved Nova Scotia and her colleagues at Dal and described dentistry as “my career of passion all my life.”

Two additional individuals on the flight were headed for Halifax: Saint Mary’s University students Maryam Malek and Fatemeh Mahmoodi. Other Canadian universities are recognizing members of their communities who were killed as well. We share in their grief. This is truly a Canadian tragedy.

On behalf of Dalhousie University, we express our condolences and reaffirm our support to all those impacted, especially the family, friends and colleagues of Masoumeh and Sharieh. We stand beside you in this moment of grief and loss.

The Iranian Cultural Society of Nova Scotia and Dalhousie Iranian Students Society, together with the DSU and the broader university and community, are planning a local vigil this Saturday.

  • Date: Saturday, January 11
  • Time: 2:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Dalhousie Arts Centre, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium (6101 University Ave.)

We extend an invitation to attend to all from Dalhousie, Saint Mary’s and our communities who wish to be part of sharing condolences and remembering Masoumeh, Sharieh, Mandieh, Maryam and Fatemeh and all others who lost their lives in Wednesday’s tragedy. In light of the broad community impact of this tragedy, please note there will most likely be other vigils and commemoration events taking place in Halifax and elsewhere for people to gather and grieve.

Finally, a reminder that resources for students are available through Dalhousie’s Student Health & Wellness Services, including Multifaith Services. Staff and faculty resources are available through Dalhousie’s Employee & Family Assistance Program. Morneau Shepell, which provides this program, has also opened up a Crisis Support Line for anyone in the community (not just employees) in need of emotional support in relation to these events. The Crisis Support Line is open 24/7 and can be reached at: 1-866-885-6540. Additional outreach is being made to our communities in Dentistry and Engineering regarding available supports.

With sincerest condolences,

Dr. Teri Balser
Provost and Vice-President Academic

Dr. Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor